Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"The Rhodes Scholar"

Hardy Ames Hill, a native of York, Pennsylvania, was a contestant on the CBS-TV reality series Big Brother in the year 2001.  I admired him a great deal: more than I have admired anybody else on the ten-year history of the TV series.  Let me rephrase: Hardy Hill is the only Big Brother contestant I have ever admired.  I admire few people.  Some are judges; some are highly-placed officials in the Justice Department.  But I'm not allowed to talk about those people.  And, by the way, what kind of country is this where a person can't talk about the fact that he admires certain government officials?  According to the Justice Department, openly acknowledging that one admires federal officials is a suspect behavior -- "in these times."  It's certainly not something that one should write about on a blog--particularly a blog that has no clear motivation for existing.

Be that as it may.

I find it interesting that Hardy Hill possessed qualities that are criteria for consideration by the Rhodes Scholar Program.  The four qualifications for a Rhodes Scholar applicant, as set forth in the will of Cecil Rhodes, are as follows:

-- literary and scholastic attainments

-- energy to use one's talents to the full

-- truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship

-- moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.

Hardy was probably not an academic performer, but he was an outstanding athlete; he showed a desire to help others in a selfless way; and he showed a desire and ability to lead.

In the year 2001 the York Daily Record published a story about Hardy Hill that I found on the internet.  The article interested me enough that I saved the article to a computer disc, which I recently came across.

Housemates find a friend in our boy Hardy.


York Daily Record Staff

Go ahead, “Big Brother 2” house guests.

Bully one of the weaker people on the show. Make threats and brandish knives. Make fat jokes about them.

Hardy-Ames Hill will put the smack down.

During last week’s episodes of CBS’s reality TV show, Hill tossed aside his role as the quiet one — which he has clung to since the premiere episode July 5 — and took on the role of enforcer.

The evolution of Hardy, the 31-year-old native of York who now lives in Miami Beach, began last Tuesday. The 12 members of the show were given a video camera to tape a house tour of the posh Los Angeles home where they will be secluded for three months.

Two of the more obnoxious roommates, Will and Mike, pretty much took over the shoot, hamming it up and bossing everyone around. Hardy didn’t say anything publicly, but in private he said he was steamed that those guys — Will the arrogant pretty boy and Mike the snotty Connecticut dude who apparently owns 5,000 official sports team apparel shirts — hogged the spotlight.

Anyone who has even glanced at the show knows what happened Thursday.

Justin, the unstable Bayonne, N.J., native who could open tin cans with his mangled teeth, had messed with Kent on Tuesday’s show. Justin started taking pillows out of Kent’s sleeping area, even though Kent has the worst sleeping arrangement out of all of the guests (he sleeps in the living room on a cot).

Kent, who, at 46, is the oldest member of the crew, stood up for himself. Justin lunged at Kent twice during the altercation, which took place in front of other house guests.

Later, Kent said Hardy, who works as a bouncer, told him that he would have come to Kent’s defense and subdued Justin if he got out of hand.

Later that night, while making out with an intoxicated Krista, Justin became a little freaky. He picked up a metal carpet sweeper and asked her, “Would you get mad if I cracked you over the head with this?” Then he picked up a knife, held it to her throat, and asked, “Would you get mad if I killed you?”

The show’s cameras and producers were watching, and Justin was tossed off the show for his behavior.

But Hardy was watching, too, and wanted to let everyone know that this kind of stuff wouldn’t be tolerated.

“I’m getting to the point where I’m not worried about myself, I’m worried about other people’s safety,” Hardy told the cameras in private. “I don’t need to put up with this bull——, putting up with a third-grader, a dangerous third-grader.”

Thursday also was the day that the first house guest was evicted from the show. Sheryl, 46, of Ponte Verdra Beach, Fla., was voted off by the other house guests.

All along, Will, Shannon and Mike, the head of household, had formed an alliance and hatched a strategy to evict Nicole, the 31-year-old native of Atlanta. The three dubbed themselves Chill Town, and began acting rude toward the others.

Hardy fell in with the other group. And, Chill Town’s strategy backfired — five people voted to evict Sheryl, mostly to thwart Chill Town. Hardy banded with Nicole, Krista, Autumn and Monica and told them that they should take Mike, Will and Shannon out.

“Anyone who holds their head above me, I’m going to knock them back down,” Hardy said at the beginning of Saturday’s show.

He even confronted Shannon about an incident involving Autumn. The two girls got into a shouting match, and Shannon said something about Autumn’s weight and how she should go eat a bag of chips. Later, a bag of chips appeared on Autumn’s bed, and she started to cry.

Hardy confronted Shannon about the incident, and consoled Autumn.

“I definitely wanted to give her a hug, and let her know that not everybody was like that,” he said.

The members of Chill Town sensed that their days were numbered, so they each individually approached members of the other faction. Will went up to Nicole, Mike approached Nicole and Shannon tried to make amends with Hardy, who she hasn’t been getting along with since the beginning.

Later, though, Shannon continued to be the House Backstabber and told Krista, the new head of household, that she should nominate Hardy for eviction.

Hardy was not nominated. Instead, Kent and Autumn were chosen, and one of the two will be voted off Thursday.

So far, it seems that Hardy’s strategy has been to lay low, and play peacemaker and good guy when someone steps out of line.

It seems to be working. On Monday, his popularity rating skyrocketed to 83 percent in the “Big Brother 2” fan poll.

Hardy Watch had its eye on Hardy Monday morning, thanks to CBS’s live feed of the show. Things were quiet in the house just before 10 a.m. Western time — Hardy was whipping up some grub, then hopped in the bathroom to clean up.

At about 10 a.m., Hardy and Monica sat down to breakfast, and talked about how the show would turn out. They agreed on their prediction — the final two house guests will be Monica and Krista.

“I mean, it’d be nice if it was me,” Hardy said. “But it will probably be you and Krista.”

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