Laurie Taylor column

January 25, 2002

Universities use "culturally narrow" selection criteria - Audit Office report, January 2002.

Yes, come in. Mr Errol Constantine?

That's right.

Excellent. My name is Professor Lapping and this is Dr Quintock. We were both very interested in your application. As you may know, we are particularly anxious at Poppleton to recruit students of your type.

My type?

That's right. Students from ethnic minorities. So, perhaps we could begin with your background. Where are you originally from?

Birmingham.

I'm sorry, I didn't make myself clear. Where were your parents from?

Derby.

Really. Well, let's move on to more specific academic matters. I take it you're interested in television. Any classic programmes to which you personally relate?

Relate?

I was thinking of that one about the slaves being taken over from Africa.

Roots .

Thank you, Dr Quintock. No particular interest in that? Don't worry at all. Well, you'll be pleased to hear that we have excellent sports facilities here. I imagine that you're a bit of a cricketer.

I play a little golf.

Golf. Excellent. Now music interests? Calypso? Reggae?

Mostly Brahms.

Fascinating. And tell me, Errol, what exactly led you towards culture and media studies?

My starting point was probably Clifford Geertz's definition of culture as "the ensemble of stories we tell ourselves about ourselves". If one accepts that view, then, as Fred Inglis argues in Media Theory , it follows that in studying culture we are essentially studying the making of ourselves.

How very true. Well, Mr Constantine, I think we're in a position to offer you a conditional place. Both Dr Quintock and I look forward to seeing you in October. Until then, good luck with your A levels, and do, erm, keep it real .

I'll do my utmost.

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