Vain? Moi?

November 5, 2009

Our Head of Very Popular But Tendentious History, Julian Glaze, has hit back at the accusation by a leading Croatian sociologist that those "at the top" in the humanities display "narcissistic traits" and that this "vanity" threatens the discipline itself.

Professor Glaze said he simply didn't recognise the type of "highly competitive, image-oriented, quotation-obsessed individualist" described by Dr Sasa Bozic.

"Quite obviously," he continued with a characteristic sweep of the right hand, "my own groundbreaking research into royal rumpty-tumpty through the ages is perfect in every way.

"And I'm obviously also delighted, absolutely dee-lighted (trademark wink) that my 223 appearances on television wearing my houndstooth suit and cashmere fedora have given me an opportunity to bring my findings to an enormous undiscriminating audience (engaging smile).

"But I'm awfully pleased to say (self-effacing shrug) that in all these matters 'my knowledge of myself protects me from all vanity'. I think you'll find that was Miguel de Cervantes."

An apology

We regret that last week's lecture by the distinguished Danish theologian and philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, was cancelled even as the philosopher and theologian was making his way to the podium in PX001.

Although Dr Kierkegaard fully complied with current UK visa regulations for visiting academics by submitting the appropriate biometric data, electronic fingerprint scans and a digital photograph to the authorities, and although the University of Poppleton similarly complied by keeping copies of his passport, his UK biometric card and a history of his contact details, it emerged minutes before the lecture that he did not have the officially specified minimum of £800-worth of savings in his bank account.

A Home Office spokesperson regretted that Dr Kierkegaard was handcuffed, bundled into a van and sent straight back to Denmark, but added that he had "a long-established reputation for whingeing".

How was it for you?

We are pleased to announce a brand new Poppletonian competition prompted by Christina Hughes, Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Warwick.

In a paper that calls for the academy to change its ways and embrace the pleasure inherent in becoming an academic, Professor Hughes talks of the rare moment of intense "orgasmic pleasure" felt by a PhD student who realises that becoming a fully fledged academic is an achievable goal.

Have any of your current PhD students recently achieved orgasm? We'd like to know their story. Email your entry to

(We regret that for reasons of time and space we are currently unable to consider entries from post-orgasmic academics.)

Another exciting course

Following the news that Thames Valley University, in collaboration with the Royal Household, is to introduce a new Butler's Diploma, our Head of Curriculum Development, Janet Fluellen, announced earlier this week that our university would shortly be pioneering the UK's first one-year Lackey Diploma.

Speaking to our reporter, Keith Ponting (30), Ms Fluellen said that although the new managerial ethos in universities and elsewhere had produced an increasing number of lackeys, very few of them had a professional attitude towards their own demeaning lives.

The new course would tackle this shortfall by reviving the qualities of grateful servitude, which characterised traditional liveried lackeydom, she said.

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Spare a thought this week for Professor David Nutt, who must already be pondering his low impact score in the forthcoming REF.

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