Friday, November 12, 2010

Excellence Without Money: The Movie

Raise your hand if you had figured Excellence Without Money (™RW Enterprises, LLC) would be the title of our second contribution to the Disgruntled Academic Animated Short Film Festival that has been going on in the blogosphere lately. Good for you, darlings. You know us well, and you have been paying very close attention, as always.

Well, here it is, just in time for your weekend movie-watching pleasure. In this followup to our debut flick, "I Want to be Promoted," Professor Louise Sawyer (who, as we told you before, is entirely fictional) sits down with her (also 100% imaginary) dean to discuss the budget for the (nonexistent) program Professor Sawyer directs. Sparks fly as the two women debate the relationship between resources and (insert groaning sound here) excellence.

Moose is so fond of our latest cinematic masterpiece that she is considering taking it to La La Land for the MLA Convention in January, where she will be presenting on a roundtable (that will include our blog boyfriend Chris Newfield and MLA Exec Direc Rosemary Feal!) called "New Tools, Hard Times: Social Networking and the Academic Crisis." The session is part of a series of panels and workshops on the timely theme of "The Academy in Hard Times." What do you think, kids: PowerPoint or snarky cartoon? Snarky cartoon or PowerPoint? Leave your votes in comments, please.

Oh, and lest there be any confusion: Our film is in no way intended as a response to this peculiar little video that was flying around the campus of QTU this week at the behest of an extremely high-ranking administrator. Nope, not no way, not no how. Far be it from us to try to figure out whether building a car is anything at all like running a university or whether the color beige is the universal signifier of the opposite of excellence. No, my darlings, such conundrums are way beyond our (furlough-depressed) pay grade. Just watch the movie. Send it to your favorite adjunct or, if you dare, your favorite dean. Feel free to pass it along with our motto: Serious times call for unserious responses. Or, pass it along with this handy little phrase, Excellentia sine pecunia. That's "Excellence Without Money" in Latin, of course. Big wigs just love fancy-sounding foreign phrases, especially in dead languages!

Have a lovely weekend, my pretties, and enjoy the show. The soundtrack for this one? I'm thinking it's gotta be R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." That sound about right to you? Yeah, I thought so. Peace out.


  1. And yet you'd never know it to hear them talk these days. But, seriously, some of our best friends are deans.

  2. Anonymous1:57 PM EST

    I once listed my stapler on my equipment list for a grant in the hopes that someone who signed off on it would read this and think about buying me printer--no such luck! I've been at **** U for 20 years and still share a networked printer (on a different floor from my office) with 40+ others. Ask me how many new deans have been added to the rolls in that time.

  3. All kidding aside, the fucken deans are just messengers, forced to pass on the bad financial news that their bosses are telling them. It's not as if they have some unilateral ability to print money.

    Where they can be reasonably criticized is to the extent that they are failing to inform their bosses of the likely outcomes of fiscal tightening, and are rather assuring them that they will be able to "maintain excellence".

    BTW, the fancy-asse conference room with lavish table, chairs, writing tablets, and pens was a nice touch! Where'd that fucken deandouche get the money for that stuffe!?!?!? Now if you'd just give uppe on the "fricken" crapola and make the dialogue realistic...

  4. ZOMFG is CPP a DEAN??!!?!!11!!? Now that would be news to shake the academic blogosphere.

    Love this video. Love it love it love it. Roxie has moxie! I too have been skeptical that smiling and singing louder is a great strategy for encouraging greater taxpayer support for our state unis. As Professor Sawyer says, if excellence is free, how can we ever get more money to anything around here?

  5. @Historiann: Ditto what you said about CPP seeming to be a DEAN! If true, that is some seriously mind-bending news. And we are very glad you like the new cartoon. We thought of you when we were making it, our dear comrade in promoting "Excellence Without Money."

    @(Dean?)CPP: We get that deans have no money and are little more than the bearers of bad tidings from their neoliberal overlords, but, as Anonymous notes above, there are SO DAMN MANY OF THEM, costing so much, working so hard, yet doing so little to improve the lives of faculty and students. People in Professor Sawyer's position go see the dean because that's the way the game is played, but Louise is tired of the charade. Maybe our next cartoon will explore McDean's perspective -- Hey, or maybe YOUR next cartoon should do that. We'll let you borrow the fancy conference table!

  6. I assure you that CPP is not a dean. He is, however, a serious student of organizational behavior.

  7. CPP could not fuckin' be a fuckin'dean!! That would bring my fuckin' world crashing down around my fuckin'ears!! And as for Dean McDean, sarcasm is always called for. Sarcasm is all we've fuckin' got left.

    Nice work, Roxie.

  8. Why do these characters look like they have fangs? It makes sense for the dean to be a vampire, but not the innovator of excellencity.

  9. Yeah, there's definitely a certain weirdness about some of these characters. Plus, there aren't nearly enough of them! We need more middle-aged types, for starters. Dean McDean looks like a young hussy as well as a vampire, and that's not quite right. I mean, not the hussy part. Well, maybe deans are kind of slutty when you think about it. ;-)


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