August 28, 2003

PROFESSOR PILGER

Students at Cornell University pay anything between $14,000 and $29,000 per undergraduate unit. Thatís a hell of a lot of money to have your brains sucked out through your nose:

Cynthia McKinney, Georgia's first African-American congresswoman, and John Pilger, investigative journalist, author and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, were appointed Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of '56 University Professors at Cornell in July. Their appointments run through 2006.

The Rhodes Class of '56 University Professorships, designed to enrich the undergraduate experience at the university, are awarded for a period of one to five years, and appointees are considered full members of the Cornell faculty. During each year of their appointment, Rhodes professors will visit the campus for a minimum of two weeks.

(Via TVs Henry, who currently has lots of fine posts up about well-known US politicians Cruz Bustamove and Howard Dean Stanton.)

Posted by Tim Blair at August 28, 2003 12:05 PM
Comments

This is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Brains ought to be sucked out through your nose for free!

Posted by: Andjam at August 28, 2003 at 12:13 PM

Hopefully they won't influence the one school at Cornell that is still top flight.......the School of Veterinary Medicine.

Posted by: wallace at August 28, 2003 at 12:23 PM

This is supremely jaw-dropping. A diploma from Cornell just fell one notch closer to junk-bond status. I thought Cornell was a university that refused to give honorary degrees, as a matter of preserving the institution's academic integrity. No honorary degrees -- but honorary professorships?

Is it possible there is an asylum named Cornell to which these two were supposed to be transferred? Couldn't this just be a clerical error?

Posted by: R.W. at August 28, 2003 at 12:35 PM

If they give enough money, they can have a building named after them. There's no limit to the honors possible at a university.

Pilger Hall has a nice ring, and avoids the parent-confusion joke always played at the local university:
Parent in automobile: Can you tell me where Burke Hall is?
Gamesman: Do you want Edmund or Kenneth?
Parent in automobile: [confused, discussion with spouse] I don't know.
Gamesman: You probably want Edmund, then. It's down there to the left...

An extra and unnecessary turn is taken by this joke. Pilger Hall would avoid it. There are no famous Pilgers.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at August 28, 2003 at 12:40 PM

Please tell me that Pilger and McKinney were picked at random out of a phone book or won the positions by virtue of having punched that monkey on the internet banner ad....please. Don't tell me sentient beings made a deliberate decision to do this...please....

Posted by: Jeffersonian at August 28, 2003 at 01:39 PM

I think Pilger is deserving of an honory PhD- after all, he is the biggest Phucking Dickhead I have ever clapped eyes on.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at August 28, 2003 at 02:16 PM

Universities love to hand out these appointments to the rich, famous and undeserving: they in turn get a title (which most of the keep using,long after the appointment has finished), do minimal work (two weeks pa in this case),and usually get some expenses paid. None of the rigorous criteria for full-time academic positions, are applied in these cases: what original research has John Pilger ever done? Does he have a doctorate ? Has he done any teaching? I haven't seen his work reviewed in any scholarly journals.

We have a right to expect better from such a distinguished university.

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at August 28, 2003 at 02:32 PM

I don't know what you are all complaining about, Pilger would be the perfect professor in residence, it just depends upon the course that he is leading.

I see no problem in Mr. Pilger being a consultant for, say, Dickead studies or bachelor of socialism or Western hate 101.

He may well be the best person for the job

Posted by: nic at August 28, 2003 at 02:45 PM

Maybe UNSW will invite him to be a visiting professor, along with Paul Keating. His course could be: the Semiotics of Guilt and Self-Loathing in the Decline of the West: towards a New Paradigm for Spengler. Good for 25 units and will attract HECS.

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at August 28, 2003 at 03:14 PM

I wonder how much extra money will have to change hands in order for McKinney and Pilger to guarantee that the "minimum of two weeks" will also be a "maximum of two weeks"

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky at August 28, 2003 at 04:21 PM

Cynthia McKinney is crazier than a shithouse rat.

Posted by: BigScaryBrain at August 28, 2003 at 04:47 PM

Costly to attend Cornell, but not nearly as costly as you say. A course is usually 3 or 4 units, and a typical undergraduate academic year may involve 30 or so units. Each unit does not cost >$14K!! If it did, that would be a minimum of $420,000 per academic year for undergraduates. $14K to $28K is the total tuition per year.

Posted by: Lawrence at August 28, 2003 at 04:55 PM

What, they couldn't get Comical Ali?


"John Pilger, investigative journalist, author and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker..."

Hoo-boy, that's like "Charles Manson, social commentator."

Posted by: Hans Blip at August 28, 2003 at 05:17 PM

Lawrence, those numbers come from the Cornell homepage. (See link in my post) What they classify as a "unit", I have no idea.

Posted by: tim at August 28, 2003 at 05:40 PM

Some of the students may actually think that Pilger is in some way representative of the average Australian - scary!!!

Posted by: phred at August 28, 2003 at 07:49 PM

As a Cornell graduate, I am appalled. The university will hear from me, both positively (in a letter) and negatively (no donations while these idiots are University Professors).

FYI, the "units" referred to in the press release are colleges. The higher-priced ones are private (Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, etc.), the lower-priced ones are state schools (e.g., Agriculture, Human Ecology).

Posted by: Paul Cashman at August 28, 2003 at 10:14 PM

I think Pilger is deserving of an honory PhD- after all, he is the biggest Phucking Dickhead I have ever clapped eyes on.

I thought you were going to say Pilger deserves a Ph D minus. "PhD? More like Ph D minus" (paraphrase of comment in "Home improvement", discussing Tim Taylor getting an honorary degree)

Posted by: Andjam at August 28, 2003 at 10:17 PM

Georgians applaud Ms. McKinney's appointment for the same reason we applauded Jimmy Carter's election to the Presidency: It gets him/her out of the state for a while.

Posted by: F451 at August 28, 2003 at 10:23 PM

F451,

I wonder if doing the same for Arafat would work.

Posted by: Andjam at August 28, 2003 at 10:58 PM

Yep! About time we gave every scool-leaver a life grant to be redeemed at the institution and time of their choosing. They could top this up with a loans scheme for high end courses. It would be interesting to see how many Sandstone basket-weaving institutions would end up becoming decent TAFEs. Pilger might be useful training photographers or travel agents.

Posted by: Observa at August 28, 2003 at 11:07 PM

Cynthia McKinney, Georgia's first African-American congresswoman, and John Pilger, investigative journalist, author and Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, were appointed Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of '56 University Professors at Cornell in July.

Here are some nominees for next year:

Leni Riefenstahl, documentarian of the National Socialist movement in Germany (posthumous)

Sergi and Georgii Vasil’ev, documentarians of everyday Soviet life under the benevolent reign of Joseph Stalin (posthumous)

Barbara Lee, (D), Congresswoman, 9th District California, whose passions are "affordable housing, HIV/AIDS, 21st century education" and whose keys to electoral victory in 1998 were both her close association with Ronald "Red" Dellums: "When Ron Dellums retired from the Ninth district congressional seat, he enthusiastically endorsed Barbara." and the continued syphyllitic dementia prevalent amongst her East Bay constituents.(Quotes from her website)

Posted by: Tongue Boy at August 29, 2003 at 02:08 AM

Leni is alive and kicking at 101.

Posted by: wd at August 29, 2003 at 02:41 AM

The numbers are yearly (two semester) tuition, not including optional items like dining, housing, etc.

Sam, Cornell '91

Posted by: Sam at August 29, 2003 at 06:49 AM

wd,

Oh sh*t, that's right. In fact, there was something in the news about her on her 100th birthday. I was still overcome by noxious fumes from a troll on another site when I posted.

Never post while under the influence
Never post while under the influence
Never post while under the influence

Ahhhh!

Posted by: Tongue Boy at August 29, 2003 at 08:20 AM

Why not just invite Saddam and get it straight from the horse's...er...mouth?

Posted by: Jerry at August 29, 2003 at 02:00 PM

Since I'm having a serious, thoughtful patch today (it is Friday), I observe that the tragedy of these appointments is that they reveal the rapid decay of the traditional role of the university as a place for original thought and fearless debate. Pilger and McKinney are a play for the peanut gallery at Cornell, since they will tell the yoof what they apparently want to hear .

The political spectrum at Western universities now runs the whole gamut, as Sam Goldwyn once said, from A to B. I give up.

Posted by: Dave F at August 29, 2003 at 07:56 PM