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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

UT Dammerung

You of course realize, Dear Reader, that the Jacobs' Era at UT parallels, frighteningly, Richard Wagner's operatic Ring cycle. Bloggie invites further comparisons, but here are some of the tragic essentials:

In the beginning the Rhinemaidens (faculty) who watched over the Rhinegold (the treasures of education) are swimming around at the bottom of the Rhine River (Maumee?) keeping watch over the Rhinegold, their eternal task.  They are scatter-brained but innocent creatures, and, we must admit, a lot better-looking than most faculty, but there they are, a'singing and a'swimming. This went on for a very long time.

From a fissure emerges Alberich, sometimes described as a slimy sulphurous dwarf.  He lusts after the Rhinemaidens and pursues them, each in turn.

The Rhinemaidens, who perhaps are a bit too artsy and pretentious for their own good, taunt and reject Alberich, who as a dwarf represents the so-called business or vocational model of education, as dwarfs manufacture things and have a very vocational outlook on life, that is when they can't get their hands on any hot Rhinemaidens, and especially after a humiliating rejection.  

Alberich, frustrated, denounces Love and steals the Rheingold. The Rhinemaidens sing "O Weh, Oh Weh, Oh Weh,"  which is about all they have been doing now for the past several years. 

Without attempting to summarize almost 20 hours of operatic entanglement, involving incest, cronyism, searchless hires, a dragon, giants and questionable spending, the stolen Rheingold empowers and justifies various mercurial administrative transmutations of what was once a higher educational mission. Eventually the Gods use it to finance and justify the building of Valhalla, a classy new refurbished administrative palace, a bureaucratic structure that houses at least 40 Gods and Vice Presidents and their minions.  The transmutations include The New Entity, The Cloud University and Strategic Planning for the Sake of Strategic Planning.   

There is even a nifty Rainbow Bridge over which the Gods commute to work.  A Rainbow Parking Lot is under construction. 

Provost and Vice President Loki  (Logi) urges the bereft Rhinemaidens not to worry, even though their Rhingold is gone: After a 72-slide Powerpoint prestentation, he assures them that henceforth they can bask in the newfound radiance of the Gods/adminstrators/BOT.  The  Rhinemaidens can be heard far off singing plaintively, in minor key, "Rheingold, Rheingold, Rheingold" as the glorious Gods pass over the Rainbow Bridge to administrative Valhalla. 

The Rhinemaidens fail at persuading VP Seigfried to return their gold. He refuses and comes to a bad end.

The end of course is Gotterdammerung, Twilight of the Gods, where the funeral pyre of Seigfried catches alight Valahala, and the Rhinemaidens get their gold back. This occurs through no fault of their own,it should be mentioned, and is owing entirely to general administrative incompetence.