Vanity, thy name is D108

December 15, 2011

"I won't take this lying down." That was the forthright response of Dr Quintock of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies to the news that his BA D108 course has been axed by Janet Fluellen, Poppleton's Director of Curriculum Development, on the grounds that it is one of the several hundred "vanity courses" that a Higher Education Funding Council for England research report recently pinpointed as failing to attract a single student.

Dr Quintock agreed that the title of his course, Me and My Allotment, suggested "a smattering of self-regard" that outsiders might assume to be a "vanity course", but he pointed out that the three-year course repeatedly made comparative reference to several adjoining plots.

Ms Fluellen has also revealed the closure of several other unsubscribed Poppleton courses that fall under the "vanity rubric". These include the BA in Phenomenal Logocentric Hypostatisation, which Ms Fluellen briefly describes as "Doctor E.G. Eames showing off", and the BA in Suicide Studies, which she characterises as "an essentially solipsistic opportunity for Professor L.K. Dobbins to talk about his intended response to new managerial initiatives".

Who steals my purse

Our Deputy Director of Logo Development, Roger Placement, has expressed some sympathy for A.C. Grayling's New College of the Humanities, which is having to defend its name to the Intellectual Property Office following a pre-emptive trademark move by New College, Oxford.

However, he told The Poppletonian, he was more worried by the intimation from the Intellectual Property Office that New College of the Humanities might not be allowed to use the name "A.C. Grayling" in any of its publicity.

It appears that there are concerns about the fact that the name "A.C. Grayling" was traditionally associated with "liberal humanistic altruistic philosophising". If the same name were now to be attached to a development that could in any way be regarded as "a cynical self-serving market-oriented enterprise", it might occasion "genuine brand confusion".

Thanks - and no thanks

This is the time of year when we show our gratitude to those who have worked away on our behalf during the past 12 months without always receiving proper recognition. We have, therefore, taken the liberty of printing the following thank-you letter from one such "labourer in the vineyard" as a reminder of those "who also serve".

From: Maureen Departmental Secretary, Media and Cultural Studies

Dear Department Members

Wow! A medium-sized box of Quality Street! It's really a small miracle that even though I've never shown any appetite whatsoever for the Quality Street assortment, you go on believing that this is the ideal way to express your seasonal thanks.

Of course, what adds so much to the gift is that the manner of its wrapping makes it impossible for me to guess its exact nature until I've disentangled the office Sellotape from the Routledge "inspection-copy" packaging.

I must also thank all those who've been kind enough to ask about my holiday travel plans. As my statutory leave period ensures that I leave work on Christmas Eve and return on the day after Boxing Day, I'm afraid such plans will largely be confined to going home and coming back. But, hey, thanks for asking.


Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Q. Which playwright is most frightened of Christmas?

A. Noel Coward.

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