The guys who handled the email list in Charleston were students at Bob Jones University.
Wow, isn’t that a fundamentalist Christian school? Yep, they said.
Man. I want to be pro-Christian; outside of the morality stuff I can really identify with the spiritual consciousness (though I don’t subscribe to any kind of organized belief myself). I get lots of emails asking if I’m a Christian due to “His Truth Is Marching On”; I have hoped that some born-agains would identify with the tune.
But these guys weren’t Christians. They were there because their parents made them go there. They told me that if the school’s administrators found out they were at my show they’d be kicked out of school. They told me that kids whose parents taught at the school were obliged to go to the school, or else their parents would lose their jobs.
They told me a story about a guy who managed to get out of there because he wanted to study oceanography, and Bob Jones doesn’t have an oceanography department. Still, they said there were weeks and weeks of committee upon committee grilling the poor guy to make sure he wasn’t trying to slide out for ideological reasons. Which, of course, he actually was.
They told me about “supervised dating,” and girls not being allowed to leave campus unattended by a chaperone, and all kinds of fucked-up shit. My God.
I sure was glad to see them at my gig. The funny thing about the email list people is that they always want to talk about me, and all kinds of shit that’s really kind of run-of-the-mill for me. I’ve learned to be inquisitive, to be an interviewer, to ask people about what’s going on with their lives. In the case of these guys: man, what a payoff!
This one time I had a fascinating conversation with an economist who was moving to Japan to study real estate there. As she left she became embarrassed that the whole conversation was about her, and not me. “I should have asked you about–I don’t know–when the Evenhand DVD was coming out!”