Review wars

March 4, 2010

In an unprecedented UK move, Professor Lapping of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies has announced that he is to institute a libel action against Dr E. Stobart, the reviewer of his recently published book on television quiz shows.

The lawsuit is inspired by news that an Israeli academic is taking similar action over an unfavourable review in the European Journal of International Law.

"I'm all for the freedom of the press," Professor Lapping told The Poppletonian, "but Dr Stobart's assertion in his review that I am 'a thoroughgoing charlatan who offers the reader no more insight into University Challenge or Mastermind than might have been generated by a moderately alert tortoise' could seriously harm my professional reputation."

Professor Lapping also resented the reviewer's reference to his readiness to publish "any old fifth-rate twaddle in a desperate effort to boost his sagging research ratings".

However, Dr Stobart intends to stand by his review.

"My criticism of Professor Lapping's work was entirely informed by intellectual criteria. And anyway, he should have known what was coming to him after what he did to my Introduction to Semiology in the British Journal of Advanced Cultural Studies."

I think therefore I'm not a team player

Our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has welcomed the report by PA Consulting that condemns the culture of "academic individualism" at London's Institute of Education. "I'm certain", Mr Targett told The Poppletonian, "that PA Consulting would find the same disturbing culture present at our university."

Warming to his theme, Mr Targett condemned the "me, me, me" attitude of Poppleton academics who persisted in teaching their own specialist subjects and pursuing their own specialised research interests.

He went on to reject "the common fallacy" that individualism contributes to the advancement of knowledge. "People are always ready to trot out names such as Darwin, Descartes and Hegel, but no one knows how much more such individuals might have contributed had they taken the advice of an organisation like PA Consulting and devoted themselves to more team-based income-boosting projects."

Funny peculiar

We learn that Dr D.W.B. Bentinck of our Department of English and Related Studies has been suspended for adding his support to a letter to The Observer warning about the future of the arts and humanities in the UK.

Dr Bentinck not only signed the letter but also backed the declaration by Edward Acton, vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, that the arts have "the ability to make life more beautiful and profound, funny and interesting".

A spokesman for the Hostile University Announcements Committee (HUAC), which issued the suspension, told our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), that Dr Bentinck's choice of career meant he had brought the suspension on himself.

"If he truly wanted his life to be beautiful and profound, funny and interesting, he should not so readily have surrendered his previous employment with British Gas."

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

I hope you all enjoyed last week's Macrobiotics for Happiness and Health seminar. One of the attendees emailed this rather fascinating little question:

"If we weren't meant to eat animals, then why are they made of meat?"


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