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U of C economics to pick next faculty member using reality TV?

A news report from

CHICAGO. The University of Chicago, known for its free-market approach to economics, today announced that it will select its next tenured faculty member in the “the dismal science” through a reality TV competition modelled on shows such as “Survivor” and VH1’s “The (White) Rapper Show”.

“We’re a competitive bunch,” said department chair Philip Reny, “and we believe the best way to select a full-time professor is through a fair and open competition between budding free-marketeers before millions of viewers who were looking for ‘Pussycat Dolls: The Search for the Next Doll’ and pressed the wrong number on their remote.”

The department currently includes four Nobel laureates, a fact that could scare off the sort of starry-eyed hopefuls who line up to embarrass themselves on “American Idol”. “You can’t swing a dead cat at a department meeting without hitting a Nobelite,” noted Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics, a best-selling book that has been criticized for suggesting a link between low-cut jeans on teenage girls and fluctuations in pork belly prices. “We tried it several times–it wasn’t fair to the cat.”

The department has had an opening since the death of Milton Friedman, and other faculty members have recently complained of the increased burden they bear. “We used to order three Giant Pu-Pu Platters from the Polynesian Garden on 55th Street, and with thirty-three full time faculty members everybody’s share was $18.50 including drinks and tips,” said Balazs Szentes, a young assistant professor. “When you divide by thirty-two, you’re getting close to twenty bucks, which your Nobel types can afford but not young guys with families.” Nobel Prize winners receive ten million Swedish kronas, worth about $1.4 million, a grant of Swedish citizenship and a boxed set of recordings by ABBA, the popular Swedish band.

The University of Chicago currently has a student population composed of 4,400 undergraduates, 9,000 professional and graduate students, and 17 guys who became confused reading Husserl as freshmen and live in the stacks of its main library. The school’s motto, “Crescat scientia, vita excolatur”, is a Latin phrase that means “No credit card charges less than $10”.

Copyright 2007, Con Chapman

(For those of you who are unsure, this is satire, just like my earlier post on knives on airplanes.)