peteg's blog - noise - politics - 2007 03 27 ClownAtUNSW

UNSW hires a clown.

/noise/politics | Link

Is anyone else disturbed by this?

A recent survey of students at the University of NSW found an invisible malaise had fallen over the campus.

"Students felt that university had become too serious, too purposeful, too qualification-driven and there wasn't enough fun and joy, so the vice-chancellor responded to that in a number of ways and I'm one of those ways," says corporate comedian Rodney Marks, who this year took up a post as a visiting professor at large at the university.

Marks will give 52 comic hoax lectures on campus as part of a plan to bring a little more frivolity to study.

"I am the 2007 version of the wizard who was at the university 40 years ago and he took a lot of the anger out of rebellious students in the late '60s and early '70s, and the university was the most successful campus in managing that revolutionary angst."

Oh well, Vice Chancellor Professor Fred Hilmer's usual idea of "fun and joy" is sacking general staff, so I guess this is an improvement. Somehow the powers that be have slept through the last ten years.

On a related note I was a bit shocked to find that UNSW has an oral history project, complete with an interview with the Wizard (bio). Still can't find anything much about the upside down tree though.

I think we need an apathy index, drawing inspiration from Schmidt's work on sting pain.