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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 1, 2000)
‘Hands on a Hardbody’
Struggles, perseverance make amnteresting documentary
If there’s one thing that draws a
crowd, it’s a bunch of people. But a
bunch of people with their hands firm
ly planted on a truck is asinine.
Deena, my favorite person (with
the exception of Britney Spears), and I
watched a most amazing documentary.
It’s, like, weird because nothing is
Every person, every situation is
completely spontaneous. OK, so the
situation is what makes the documen
tary a possibility, but the people make it
It’s about grit, hallucinations, deter
mination and the ability to pee during
the designated pee-times.
I’ll k* you in on this film, and then,
by die grace of God, you all will go out
and rent it
It’s called “Hands on a
Hardbody. Don t let the
title fool you; there is no
nudity. Nor would you
want there to be with this
crowd of people.
There are 24 people to
be exact, from Longview,
Texas (from where director
S.R. Bindler hails), and
they all want to win the
same prize in a contest - a
Nissan Hardbody pickup.
The way to get it is, on
the surface, quite simple:
keep a hand on the pickup
for as long as you can with
out leaning or bending
If you’re quick to dis
miss this as simple, then
apparently you think stay
ing up for four days is as
easy as heating a cup of
water or picking your nose.
This documentary will
make you reevaluate the
important things in life -
winning a new car and not
losing your mind while
This documentary may
never have existed if it
weren’t for the fact that
director Bindler’s best
friend in high school was
McConaughey, who gave
him money to edit more than 100 hours
The contest allows participants to
take a five-minute break every hour
and a 15-minute break every six hours.
Pshaw! Weenies! These are the
words that are uttered from your lips.
But after 78 hours of standing, you’d be
squealing, waiting patiently hour to
hour for another measly break to suck
down a pot of coffee and hoping it
doesn’t make you pee your pants.
Bindler shines his light on a few of
the contestants who, from foreshadow
ing, we know will make it to the final
These 10 people became my
friends, and each situation surrounding
their ejection was difficult to watch.
But there had to be an end, so I kept
I have never laughed so hard as I
did while watching rednecks struggle
with the relationship of mind and body.
Benny, one of my favorite contestants,
sums up a lot of the drive behind this
madness with his oddly natural poeti
In regards to the weaker competi
tors, he says, “If you can’t run with the
big dogs, you’d better go sit on the
porch with the pups.”
Of course, this does come from the
man who won the contest two years
earlier, lasting 83 hours. So he has
every right to be a cocky dog.
Ronald was another one of my
favorites, though quick to dissolve,
who swore to walk off if there was even
the slightest hint of a rain cloud. (The
contest was held outside in the summer
Texas heat) Needless to say, he didn’t
last long, not because of a rain cloud,
but because for one and a half days
straight he ate nothing but oranges and
Janis was another crazy kook. She
was missing her front teeth, and the
best part about her presence was her
husband, who talks to the camera about
his “20-ton air conditioner” that can
bring his living room down to “ 12
Norma was my pick to win the
whole shebang. From the very begin
ning, I knew this gal had it She had the
greatest girth of all the contestants,
which would seem to hamper her
chances, but the lady was a Jesus freak
with a capital J.
She had people from her church
praying for her night and day, and when
asked how many people this included,
she estimated “somewhere around two
I have never laughed so hard as I did
while watching rednecks struggle with
the relationship of mind and body.
or three hundred.”
I was so damn proud of that gal,
especially because what made her lift
her hand off the truck was a moment of
clarity. The spirit of the Lord entered
her soul, and she started clapping her
hands to rejoice.
Poignant? Yes. But also oddly
inspiring and complex. We’ve all been
sleep-deprived and had an epiphany,
but when has it ever made us lose sight
of our goals? I know that she could sell
tapes of her epiphany for $19.99 and
make enough money for a new truck!
As Benny says, “It’s a human
This film is 96 minutes long, but it
feels like, well, more than three days, as
the viewer struggles vicariously along
with the contestants trying to outdo one
another. Some participants don’t even
want to talk with one another for fear of
making, then breaking, a friendship.
This contest is die epitome of
American culture, one where crazy
contests to win things are the norm.
Every year, people do the stupidest
things to win Super Bowl tickets, and
radio stations constantly beckon to the
youth of America to “cram as many
people as you can into a phone booth.”
All for a pile of CDs or a new outfit
But “Hands on a Haidbody” is
about people who need the truck for
rent or basic transportation instead of a
bike, or to quit one of three jobs. These
people aren’t well off, and this makes
the documentary extremely personal.
But no matter how it turns out it
seems to have been worth it just to have
given it a shot I would love to try this
myself, and I think I could go in for a
fairly long haul. But I can see my back
starting to hurt and my pink elephants
becoming all too real.
As Benny says, “It’s like the first
time you kill a really big animal.
Karen Brown is a senior English andfilm studies major and a Daily Nebraskan columnist shawn Ballarin/DN
Discrimination leaves mark
NU College of Law lost respect in question over long hair
Perhaps you remember the story
of Thayne Glenn, a former student of
the NU College of Law. The story is
brief: The University of Nebraska
forbids discrimination on the basis of
personal characteristics; the law
school denied him entrance into a
program because his hair was too
long. The law school violated the
university’s nondiscrimination policy.
The facts are simple, the reason
ing almost syllogistic. If the length of
one’s hair isn’t a “personal character
isticI cannot imagine what one is.
This should have been an easy call
for the law school, right?
Not for this one. When we
brought you the story last year, my
predecessor at the Daily Nebraskan
predicted that the law school would
adopt a “Delay Until May (DUM)”
strategy. That is, the College of Law
would put off making a decision as
long as possible, waiting until the
student involved had graduated, and
the rest of us had foigotten about it.
Truer words have never been spo
ken - the law school did exactly that.
The story of Thayne Glenn and
his long-hair incident was first
reported last year in the middle of
January. The law school took no
action until a meeting on Feb. 9
where “nothing was resolved.” Then
it waited to discuss the issue until
April 2, when a motion to allow
Glenn into the program was tabled.
Finally, on April 20, 1999, the
law school faculty voted down a
motion to affirm the university’s
nondiscrimination policy. Of course,
this meeting took place during the
very last week of classes, long after it
would have been possible to allow
Glenn to enter the program and
The matter was finally put to rest
in August, after Glenn had graduated.
The law school Delayed Until
May, and the problem went away ...
But we haven’t forgotten.
There never was an official state
ment as to why Glenn’s hair was such
a problem. It was surmised that
Lancaster County Attorney Gary
Lacey (the individual responsible for
the discrimination) felt that juries
might react negatively to seeing a
I suppose it’s possible - juries are
often irrational. But it’s much more
likely that a jury would react nega
tively to seeing a black or female
prosecutor, and that’s certainly not
grounds to bar one from the program.
In fact, long-haired lawyers practice
in courtrooms all across Nebraska,
and there’s never been evidence that
they fare poorly compared to their
Of course, Lacey didn’t commit a
crime. Hair length isn’t a protected
category in state or federal nondis
crimination laws. But he did violate a
clear university policy, and a majori
ty of the law school faculty let him
This is a great example of the
problem inherent in having a policy
or law enforced by the very same
people whose conduct it is intended
to limit. The policy was intended to
control the behavior of faculty. It was
unambiguously meant to forbid dis
crimination based on arbitrary fac
tors unrelated to merit - such as hair
length. In this case, the faculty got to
decide for itself whether it was dis
criminating or not. The result is not
The faculty who voted to allow
this discrimination to continue come
mostly from a generation where long
hair was viewed as unprofessional
and a badge of the “freaky people.”
These faculty members weren’t nec
essarily being malevolent. But good
people can make bad decisions, and
this entire incident is an example.
I suppose it’s over, though, and
we should just let it drop. The law
school and the county attorney won.
They succeeded in keeping one high
ly-qualified, long-haired student out
of a law school program.
And they also succeeded in los
ing our respect.
Jeremy Patrick is a first-year law student and a Daily Nebraskan columnist.
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