Laurie Taylor – 23 July 2015

The official weekly newsletter of the University of Poppleton. Finem respice!

July 23, 2015
Flattened businessman
Source: Getty

New Joke Protocol

Our Director of Corporate Affairs, Jamie Targett, has announced a new management strategy for jokes.

Mr Targett said that he had been primarily moved to action by the debate over whether Sir Tim Hunt’s remarks about women in science had been intended as a joke.

But he had also been influenced by an “admirable” article in Times Higher Education by Professor Dorothy Bishop that detailed the manner in which derogatory comments (often aimed at women) could be “construed as a joke post hoc” and thereby be excused.

Under the new Poppleton Joke Protocol, all academics who intend to make a joke about a colleague will be required to clear the joke in advance with the Joke Committee (formerly the University Development Committee).

Mr Targett also revealed that the committee would complement this strategy by regularly releasing a list of approved campus jokes that would take into account the type of gender biases detected by Professor Bishop. Here is the Joke List for the week commencing 27 July:

What do you call a man with 90 per cent of his intelligence gone?

What is the fastest way to a man’s heart?
Straight through his sternum with a sharp knife.

How many men does it take to wallpaper the dining room?
Four, if you slice them thinly.

Targett said he hoped that this now clarified the joking situation.

Please can I have a big grant?

“They can’t mean us.”

That was the reaction of our Head of Research Grant Strategy, Graham Overheads, to the declaration by the Economic and Social Research Council that one-quarter of its current research grant applications were “very poor quality”.

Mr Overheads insisted that our university’s policy of issuing redundancy notices to any academic who failed to meet their research grant target had led to a “measurable increase in quality”. He listed just two of Poppleton’s ongoing ESRC grant applications:

A. Researcher: Dr Mike Goshworthy. Dept of Social Psychology
Aim: To discover whether students will do almost anything, however ridiculous, as long as they know it’s a social psychology experiment
Method: Several dozen students matched for age, height and tolerance to extreme boredom
Conclusion: The results should give a significant boost (p > .5) to the experimenter’s career.

B. Researcher: Mr Ted Odgers. Dept of Media and Cultural Studies
Aim: To find out why everything has gone wrong
Method: Introspection
Conclusion: It’s all the fault of late capitalist neoliberal marketisation.

Group of old men, Dumphries, 1995
Warwick fossil committee

Fuelling the debate

Our Head of Environmental Studies, Professor Rupert Bear, has heaped praise on the University of Warwick following the news of its commitment to divesting from fossil fuels.

However, Mr Ted Odgers, of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies, expressed the hope that the new policy might also serve to remove the very large fossil component from Warwick’s senior management committee, which recently indicted one of the university’s most distinguished professors for “negative body language” and “inappropriate sighing”.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Graduation Day Questions. No 14.
Q. My academic hood is too large and keeps slipping over my face. Is this a problem?
A. Not really, but do resist any invitation to stand in front of a fiery cross.

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