Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sexton on the Colbert Report

Last night, NYU president John Sexton was a guest on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Before each taping, Stephen Colbert warns his audience that he plays a character and that character is an asshole. Unfortunately, as was revealed on the show, Sexton does not play a character. Instead, he always talks too much, thinks he knows everything, and can't take a joke. I mean, come on, you don't go on someone else's show and make fun of the host, and you don't argue with a straw man. In addition, Sexton used the occasion to promote his new casebook rather than to promote NYU--and the ultimate job of all university presidents is to promote and fund raise for their institutions.

UPDATE: To see the interview, go to the Colbert Report archives.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whine whine whine. Let me play you my violin as background music. Or wait, you'd probably prefer something a little more morose. How about Leonard Cohen?

And duh--when a faculty member promotes their new book, that is, indeed, an endorsement for the larger university. And when they do it on national television on a show like the Colbert Report, that is an awesome way to generate publicity for NYU.

You're just jealous, Bread & Puppet.

12/07/2006 9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only whining I hear is in these witless comments.

Nerds are right about arguing with straw men, though--is Sexton aware that Stephen Colbert is doing a satire on TV blowhards? Still it was the first time I'd seen Prez get dominated in a conversation, all the while spinning that pretentious nonsense about "magnificent minds."

And to you both: I took the casebook promo to be a Colbert joke on Sexton being an egghead--nobody goes on TV to promote a law-school textbook.

12/08/2006 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Teach said...

I was just disappointed that the show treated him uncritically as a bastion of the academic left, when he's proven himself to be anything but.

12/08/2006 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh sure, and the U.A.W. is clearly a "bastion of the academic left," isn't it? They're only in this for the potential cash-cow that higher ed could prove to be now that their incompetence has screwed over auto-workers.

Don't kid yourselves: Sexton did left-wing academia a HUGE favor when he said no to the union. There's nothing like having a pseudo-left-wing group of money-grubbers telling the universities what to do, and how to manage their academic affairs.

Union is just another name for big business.

12/09/2006 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, that's exactly it. All those grad students standing out in the cold for six months were really agents of "big business" and Sexton was the poor exploited $800,000/a year administrator bravely attempting to stamp out a democratically elected union with whom he had a collective bargaining relationship for three years. Thanks for clearing that one up!

12/10/2006 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do you live? The winter barely lasts three months in New York, and "all those grad students" amounted to about ten people--on a really good day! They stood outside when it was balmy, or when there was some important event going on that they could try to disrupt.

Spare me your misguided nonsense. Yes, Sexton bravely stamped out a movement that can only harm the academy, including those who claim they will benefit from it.

12/10/2006 9:47 PM  
Blogger Bread and Roses said...

Why don't you try standing outside in January and freezing your ass off in the driving snow and wind, anonymous? Because maybe it wasn't winter for 6 months, but November to May includes all the coldest times of the year, and my body was taking a beating during every single one of them. Being on strike ain't as easy as it looks.

12/11/2006 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Bread and Roses, you were no doubt one of the ten people to whom I refer above. I admire your tenacity, but not your cause.

You can achieve your basic goals without a union. And in doing so, you can help the university maintain its independence from external agencies that will try to influence how teaching is defined, and how it is assigned, measured out, compensated, etc...

12/11/2006 9:33 PM  

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