Saturday, September 26, 2009

Found Poetry

After Slate magazine published the "poetry" of Donald Rumsfeld in which the Secretary of Defense's speeches and press conferences were converted into solipsistic free verse, the lines became popular choices for those with some ironic distance on the disasters unfolding in the Iraq War to e-mail to each other.

Now, thanks Professor Howard Winant of the Center for New Racial Studies, University of California faculty are enjoying the "poetry" of U.C. President Mark Yudof in a widely disseminated e-mail based on the rhetorically regrettable "Big Man on Campus" interview of Yudof in the New York Times.

Unlike conservative e-mailers who go to considerable trouble to provide testimonials to the authority of their sources, Winant argues that he is not the author of the electronic text he is presenting, since it "came anonymously, I think from a past student."


And education?

Let me ponder that

The shine is off of it
It’s really a question of being crowded out
by other priorities

I do not

This is a long-term secular trend across the entire country
Higher education is being squeezed out
It’s systemic
We have an aging population nationally
We have a lot of concern, as we should, with health care.

The faculty said furlough sounds more temporary
Than salary cut

And being president of the University of California is like being
Manager of a cemetery
there are many people under you, but no one is listening.

Look, I’m from West Philadelphia
My dad was an electrician
It wasn’t part of what we did
When I was growing up we didn’t debate

I listen to them
I listen to dead people

How did you get into education?
Are you in education?

I don't know
It’s all an accident

The stories of my compensation are greatly exaggerated

I’m there to— some of the things I do very well
I smile
I shake hands
I tell jokes

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