Drive my car

December 16, 2010

In a week in which "students" stormed the Supreme Court building, defaced Churchill's statue and taunted Prince Charles and Camilla with cries of "off with their heads", the most shocking effusion from the academy was to be found in a film review in Times Higher Education ("A hell of a week", 9 December).

At first, I thought I must be reading a piece of Tayloresque satire and that The Poppletonian had migrated to an inner page of the magazine, but no, this really was ex-pat Duncan Wu of Georgetown University telling us that he would recommend Danny Boyle's 1 Hours to anyone - "even my chauffeur".

Wu mentions his chauffeur as if he were part of the familiar retinue of members of the professoriate. Who employs this mobile Man Friday? Surely not the THE?

As we are encouraged to emulate the US model of higher education, perhaps this is a pointer to the way some of those new £9,000 fees will be spent. In the meantime, I'm off to choose an appropriate uniform for my driver.

Steve Chibnall, Professor of British cinema, De Montfort University.

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