Medieval Reenactment

There is something quite fun about live-action reenactments of the illustrations that one finds in medieval manuscripts. (From Bored Panda, hat tip Lachlan Mead.) 

Those of us who went to college can remember the amazingly fun times we had with our coursemates. However, I doubt that, in our spare time, any of us did anything as weird as one band of students from the Czech Republic.

A group of Czech students has the weirdest understanding of leisure we’ve seen so far. They decided to recreate weird and bizarre scenes found in illustrations from medieval books. And we know how strangely artists from the Middle Ages saw the world around them.

Click the link to see them. 

Today’s Facebook Graphic

Lots of my colleagues are sharing this graphic today. I thought it was pretty amusing.

Mine is “But I Thank You Most Sincerely for Loaning it to Us: Redefining Representation on an Intersectional Framework.” This is a perfectly plausible conference paper title. 

Reminds me of the Postmodernism Generator.

Posted in Fun

University Assessment Committee Erotica

A laff from McSweeny’s:

“Do you remember the safe word?” she asked as she tightened the last of the leather straps binding him to the bench.

“Yes,” he said, shivering with anticipation. “Do it. I want you to hurt me.”

“Oh, I will,” she smirked. She reached into her tote bag and removed a spreadsheet, holding it tantalizingly out of his reach. “Do you see this data?” she demanded. “It’s a mess.”

“Ohh. How bad is it?” he gasped.

“So bad. Very, very bad. See this column? Several departments were not in compliance with the strategic plan. And this? These outcomes aren’t remotely quantifiable.”

He groaned with delight.

“But the worst of all,” she purred, striding closer on her sensible Clarks, “is the feedback we received from the Humanities. Some of the older faculty… tenured, full professors… refused to perform an assessment at all.”

“But!” he gulped. “But they put everyone’s accreditation at risk!”

She shook her head. “They don’t seem to care. In fact, do you know what they said?”

“No, mistress!” he panted.

“They said…” She leaned forward and whispered in his ear. “They said, ‘Isn’t that what grades are for?’”

“Ooooooooooaaaaaaagh,” he exploded in a climax of ecstatic pain. “Stop! No more! Trivium! Trivium!”

More at the link.

Posted in Fun

A Good Laff

From The Onion:

Self-Actualized Historians Urge Nation Not To Get Hung Up On The Past

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Warning that nothing was more dangerous than focusing on yesterday’s mistakes instead of being present right here and right now, self-actualized historians at Harvard University urged Americans not to get all hung up on the past. “Now more than ever, we must remember: A society that dwells on what it did 200 years ago is basically trapping itself inside its own head, when it could reach its full potential by simply saying, ‘Hey, whatever happened, happened,’ and making the decision to live for today,” said Dr. Andrew Gordon, cautioning society against relitigating the Crusades, fixating on the actions of Nazi Germany, or preoccupying themselves with the horrors of slavery, since life is going on all around us and won’t wait until you’re ready for it. “I used to harp on how Japan’s rapid late-19th-century industrialization affected attitudes towards underclass Meiji women, which still cause dark rifts in their culture all these decades later. But I can’t change any of that, so what’s the point? Global leaders and citizens alike need to realize you can’t keep your head in a bad place all day. Bad things happened, sure, but bad things happen to everyone. There are a million sides to every story, so come on—let’s begin writing our story.” Dr. Gordon’s new historical interpretation was challenged by traditional historians, who continue to urge Americans to obsess over every wrong thing they’ve ever done, each instance of which demonstrates our helplessness against a bleak future that we are and have always been incapable of changing.

Facial Reconstruction

Apparently we can reconstruct a person’s face from his or her skull, but I suspect that this is more of an art than a science. Especially with that model of Richard III’s face – it looks remarkably like fifteenth-century portraits of Richard III, which would suggest that either fifteenth-century artists were quite good and that facial reconstruction is very accurate – or the facial reconstructors are practicing a form of circular logic by making their result match the portrait. Thus do I have an idea for a History Channel show. Three teams of facial reconstructors are given a copy of the skull of a recently deceased person, for whom we have plenty of photographs but who is otherwise unknown to them. They are given the skull, and a week to see what they can come up with – and there would be plenty of interviews and other reality TV effects as they go about this assignment. A week later they come back and unveil what they’ve done – then a photograph is revealed of what the person actually looked like. A panel of judges and/or a clap-o-meter would choose the winning team, which would win an all-expense-paid week at Sandals™ resorts (the other teams would receive a selection of valuable parting gifts).

Posted in Fun

An Offensive Post

From Yana Weinstein-Jones (via Andrew Reeves): “This blog post will offend everyone in academia“:

Ghost, or object to be discarded when no longer necessary. Hired begrudgingly to fill gaps due to tenured faculty not wanting to teach dispreferred classes. Referred to with disdain because “some don’t even have PhDs”. Discussed as a problem that calls for pest control even though they teach more than half of the classes. Too beaten down to be scared.

Assistant Prof
To be taken advantage of because they will do anything to prove their worth. Make the mistake of trying to teach well. Must answer emails all day and all night. Very scared, but also determined. (see also, “Untenured”)

Associate Prof with potential promotion to Full
Firing on all cylinders to strategically select project with biggest payoff in terms of things that count: grant funding, publications in high-profile journals, high-visibility service. Ruthless elimination of anything and everything that does not contribute to promotion, such as mentoring students. More angry than scared.

Associate Prof resigned to endless Associate purgatory
Bitter at how life turned out. Particularly bitter at productive Assistant Professors: how dare they work so hard, making us look bad?

A person who has given up all of their hopes and dreams of an academic career, at least temporarily, to manage the most self-involved, passive aggressive, competitive, entitled, and needy workforce on an unimaginably low budget. The fact that everyone is highly intelligent and some kind of expert on something or other makes things worse, as each person deeply believes that the thing that they are an expert in is the most important one with the greatest need for resources.

More at the link.