Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Punch Bowl Winners' Circle: A professor who shall not be named

From a review letter for a professor, whose contract was subsequently not renewed. Coincidence?…

Professor X has all the organizational abilities of a rabid, starved squirrel covered in itching powder and being chased by dingo dogs. Meetings with him can most easily be described as a sort of alien abduction, during which a whole lot of very interesting things happen, most of which you are unable to remember, but at the end of which, you are fairly certain that, at some point, you took it up the ass. His personal style seems to consist of degrading people around him when they’re not listening and being self-absorbed to the point of neurosis.

There is also a great deal of wine involved.

How this fits in, I’m not sure, but I don’t think this review would be complete without mentioning the wine. And the gin.

Courses are conducted in a variety of ways. Lecture format courses seem to consist of him remembering approximately 30 seconds before he is due in class that he is supposed to lecture that day, him grabbing his laptop, running off for a cup of tea, and showing up anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes late on a good day. Lecture format consists of whatever factoids he can pull off the top of his head, accompanied by whatever images he was able to pull off the internet at short notice and a liberal sprinkling of name-dropping whenever remotely appropriate. Unaccountably, the undergraduate students seem to enjoy this.

The only theory I have to explain this is that they are stupid.

Seminar courses, on the other hand, are not conducted so much as refereed. Rather than have group discussion of set readings, Professor X, apparently channeling Scott Adams, author of the Dilbert comics, has decided that multi-shirking is excellent instructional strategy, as is convincing (or in this case, forcing) others to do his work for him. Given anywhere from 48 to 6 hours notice, students in seminar classes are required to become “mini-experts” (not to be confused with “Mini-Me’s,” which I believe is copyrighted) in the topic of his choice, such as an entire cultural phase and present to the class on this topic. Presentations are not so much a unified lecture on said topic by the victim, er, student as they are a series of interruptions, digressions, and twitches by Professor X accompanied by a few unintelligible sentence fragments on the part of the victim, er, student. At times, it seems that Professor X is playing some sort of game involving guessing the amount of time it will take for the presenter to get the “please shoot me face” in front of a class of his or her peers.

Conversations regarding papers tend to conform to the alien abduction scenario described above. Suggestions on improvement typically involve favorite buzzwords such as “impressionistic.” Suggestions for paper topics are apparently chosen on the basis of whatever the last word he heard before you walked into his office was. Frequently this involves a disjointed description of his idea, waving several books around, a personal phone call that interrupts the already disjointed conversation, and a request to please leave, as he “is busy.” When this fails to produce the paper he had in mind, he is unaccountably upset, presumably because he is in fact telepathic and can’t understand what the hell is wrong with the rest of us. While I am well aware that I am far from perfect, I don’t think my papers suck quite so much as he seems to feel that they do. Nor do other professors who have read the same papers and raved about them. Perhaps his telepathic mind-powers are picking up on my uncertainty, like a shark smelling blood in the water. Or perhaps it’s the gin.

Despite this ostensible telepathy, his ability to understand others seems limited at best. At times it seems the only way to get him to actually listen would be to hog-tie him and beat him into submission. Tempting though this solution is, we have yet to find anyone willing to tie him up. We’re afraid he might enjoy it. Also, we’re having trouble finding enough rope. (Donations may be directed to the author. Checks should be made out to “The Get X to Shut the Hell Up for 30 Goddamned Seconds Fund.”) While I am not the most passive of people at the best of times, I find myself increasingly escaping into fantasies of murder and mayhem, usually involving attack squirrels and a stun-gun. I desperately, desperately want to cut his bitch ass. Perhaps I need some gin. But I digress.

In conclusion, Professor X is one of the most irritating, self-absorbed, pompous, punk-ass little bitches I have ever had the misfortune to come across. Not only should he be denied contract renewal, he should be transferred to Guam in the company of Paris Hilton and forced to live out his days explaining to her the difference between her left and right hands. Overall, my impression of him is that I would like to impress my boot on his face.

—Dr. Jones

Professor Gilderoy Lockhart is not the professor in question but aside from the gin, he sort of fits the bill.

(photo: thealmightyguru.com)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Someone really has the first name "Gilderoy"??? What, his mother is Glinda the Good?