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The Minds that Move the World

Well, I’m off for “spring” “break” to Cancun.  Actually, we’re visiting Nick in New Haven, then I’m taking Jamie with me to sunny Iowa, and then I have to get myself to an AAUP meeting in Washington, DC.  So lots of traveling, very little blogging, but maybe I’ll wind up with a whole bunch of new travel stories to blog about.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this.  Back when I was the director of Illinois’ humanities program, we had our conferences and our lecture series and such things.  For obvious reasons, it is much more difficult to host such things than to be a guest at them, and the experience taught me not only what it’s like to have Host Anxiety Dreams but also—I hope!—how to be a Good Guest.  What’s it like to deal with the Guest From Hell?  Well, one year, at the urging of a colleague, I booked a speaker who wound up changing his flight arrangements at the last moment, at a stunning cost of $1000, and then cancelled on us anyway.  When he eventually arrived, the next semester, he gave a mildly interesting if off-the-cuff talk, went home, and then sent me an outraged email when his honorarium arrived, for, although it was in the amount we’d stipulated, it was not in the amount to which he had (quite quickly!) become accustomed.  When I pointed this out to him, things quickly escalated to the point at which he threatened to tell my dean on me, to which I replied, please do, by all means, and I will be happy to copy your department chair and dean on all our correspondence, going back to your initial change of travel plans and subsequent cancellation.  That ended that little exchange, and I don’t believe we’ve kept in touch since.

Anyway, having encountered a few Guests From Hell, I’ve sometimes wondered what it would be like to host an entire Speakers’ Series From Hell.  And now I know!  Check out this parade of horribles calling itself “The Minds That Move the World.” Holy greataunt of Moloch!  It’s like watching cable teevee, live—for only $49.50 to $179.50 a seat!  (Plus processing, handling, shipping, and convenience fees.) The most delicious event in this world-historical lineup, surely, has to be Janet Reno, Alberto Gonzales, and John Ashcroft discussing domestic and international law.  Dang, Francisco Franco wasn’t available?  What’s up for next year, the John Yoo / Dick Cheney Variety Hour?  And hey, look here!  It appears that “VIP tickets include a formal pre-show reception in the Roxy Suite with each evening’s speakers. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served and each guest will have a photo opportunity with the speakers.” Mmm, mmmm!  Stuffed mushrooms, prosecco, and photo ops with people who authorize torture!  Though the real downside of meeting and chatting with Gonzales is that he won’t even remember it later.

Anyway, the season-opening extravaganza featuring the world-moving minds of Bill Maher and Ann Coulter is this coming Monday, but if you’re busy next week, like me, you can hold out until Charlie Rose interviews James Carville and Karl Rove on May 26.  For that one, VIP guests will be given a choice of a formal pre-show reception in the Roxy Suite or, if they prefer, a handful of sharp sticks suitable for plunging into their eyes and/or ears.

x-posted.

Posted by on 03/06 at 09:20 AM
  1. We’re doomed.

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  11:03 AM
  2. Vy vas I not invited to this occasion? Am I not cover boy for Human Rights Violators magazine? Dis ist an outrage. I’m as batshit insane as Ann Coulter and I had power and still have influence. Yoo? Ashcroft? Rove? Amateurs!

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  11:35 AM
  3. Dr. Kissinger!  What an oversight.  You’re right, a Psychotic Minds That Move the World series without you is like a Top Ten Serial Killers list without John Wayne Gacy.  Dear readers, let’s make sure this travesty of justice is redressed in the 2010 series.

    You know, it occurs to me that if this series really is sponsored by Madison Square Garden entertainment, the idea of Fred Hiatt as Rangers GM isn’t all that farfetched after all.

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  11:44 AM
  4. When the other guy threatened to go to your dean, did you say “bring it on”? Because if you did, that would have been totally cool. And another example that in fact it is *your* mind that moves the world.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  03/06  at  12:05 PM
  5. Maybe David Lodge could get a back-stage pass and do some background research for a follow-up novel to “Small World.” “Small World: Cable Celebrity Edition”?

    As for conference organizing, been there, done that.  My favorite “special guest” refused to answer phone calls, emails, telegrams, candygrams because, well, just because.

    Posted by Christian Anderson  on  03/06  at  12:06 PM
  6. VIP guests will be given a choice of a formal pre-show reception in the Roxy Suite or, if they prefer, a handful of sharp sticks suitable for plunging into their eyes and/or ears.

    Damn, the recession is hitting everybody. Usually they charge 4-5 bucks for the sharp sticks.

    max
    [’You think I could hold out for the free manure?’]

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  12:31 PM
  7. John, the phrase “bring it on” hadn’t been invented yet, so if I’d said it in 1999 that would have created a wormhole in the fabric of spacetime.

    My favorite “special guest” refused to answer phone calls, emails, telegrams, candygrams because, well, just because.

    That’s when you need to send out the land shark.

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  12:42 PM
  8. Well, I could be mistaken, but it is my impression that Francisco Franco is still dead.

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  12:56 PM
  9. the phrase “bring it on” hadn’t been invented yet, so if I’d said it in 1999 that would have created a wormhole in the fabric of spacetime.

    Too bad! We can never have enough wormholes! And with a good chronometamorphic lawyer you could have gotten some points on the gross.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  03/06  at  01:04 PM
  10. No one expects the Spanish Resurrection.

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  01:06 PM
  11. And with a good chronometamorphic lawyer you could have gotten some points on the gross.

    D’oh!

    But wait.  Does this mean that Bush was challenging the Iraqi resistance to a cheerleading contest?  Ah, now it all begins to make sense.

    it is my impression that Francisco Franco is still dead.

    And your point would be?  Why does that make him any less attractive a speaker than Coulter or Gonzales?

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  01:21 PM
  12. Now if they actually did it like an Uri Geller show where they actually “moved” the world with their minds, that might worth paying to see. Or even better if they did Uri’s audience participation thing where everyone chants “Move! Move! Move!” and you actually feel it move and then you go home in total awe of the mysteries of the universe and the power within your own little self and your heart is singing because now you know that life is more than just the hard materialist death-culture slog that Darwin, Marx and Nancy Pelosi would have you believe. *That* I’d pay for, and they’re just the people to do it right.

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  01:27 PM
  13. "chronometamorphic”

    that word just might come in handy

    e.

    captcha “how” as in you’ll see how

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  01:49 PM
  14. the world-moving minds of Bill Maher and Ann Coulter

    I can’t decide whether to aim a quip at the obvious “minds” or try for an oblique bodily-functions reference re what is more likely to “move.” Alternatively, there’s probably some sort of Chandler ‘n’ Phoebe thing that could be wrought from the captcha “Friends.”
    Aaaa, forget I typed anything.

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  01:51 PM
  15. My point was simply that he would be a Really, Really, Really Difficult Guest.  Just imagine the re-booking fees on flights to and from Hell.

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  02:14 PM
  16. True enough, those flights suck.  But only on the way down!  For flights up we use Milton Airlines—motto, “the ascent is easy then.”

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  02:30 PM
  17. Am I the only one superficial enough to be curious about who the diva was in the blog post? Can’t you give us a hint in the comments section?

    Posted by Pedro  on  03/06  at  08:46 PM
  18. I made arrangements for a Guest from, like, Mars once. She showed up 45 minutes late for her own lecture because she didn’t know what it meant to request a taxi. So that was pleasant.

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  08:48 PM
  19. Sticks, please.

    Posted by Sometimes I live in the country  on  03/06  at  09:47 PM
  20. Can’t you give us a hint in the comments section?

    Sure, if I want said diva to find these comments someday by using Teh Google so that I can relive the entire experience, this time with extra special added agon.  Suffice it to say that it was someone most people haven’t heard of, which in itself should piss him off mightily.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/06  at  09:50 PM
  21. I hate it when I forget to clean up after my previous “Name field” joke.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  03/06  at  09:50 PM
  22. Would that ascent be an ending, or a beginning?

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  10:32 PM
  23. Both and neither!  See Elliot @ 13, above.

    Captcha:  maybe.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/06  at  10:46 PM
  24. .. as in maybe it depends whether you spell Eno frontwards, or backwards?

    Posted by  on  03/06  at  11:10 PM
  25. Wow, that’s great.  Bill Maher, Anne Coulter, and the Rockettes.

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  07:28 PM
  26. I have taken the liberty of forwarding this thread to a dear friend of mine, with whom i have partied for many a decade (a long time fellow Deadhead--there i said it).  He seems to be one of the ones sort of responsible for the MSG nightmare (no, not the salt), and thus needs the harshest of criticisms.  However, in pure spite, he just might propose a duel betwixt the Floating Head Chairman-for-Life and some freakazoid such as Camille or Beck (Glenn or the other one, as in Eno backwards).

    Posted by  on  03/07  at  08:44 PM
  27. Raivo Pommer

    Die letzte Bank

    Die letzte bislang unabhängig gebliebene große Bank ist verstaatlicht. Trotz einer starken Kapitalaustattung und der Unterstützung durch die Gläubiger sei die Liquidität der Straumur Burdaras nicht mehr ausreichend, teilte das Institut am Montag mit.

    Die isländische Finanzaufsicht IFSA habe daher den Verwaltungsrat der Bank entmachtet und das Institut unter staatliche Kontrolle gestellt. “Im Ergebnis ist Straumur geschlossen”, erklärte die Bank.

    Die internationale Finanzkrise hatte Island besonders hart getroffen. Die Regierung übernahm im Oktober die Kontrolle über die drei größten Finanzinstitute des Landes - Kaupthing, Landsbanki und Glitnir. Damit verhinderte sie zwar den Zusammenbruch des Finanzsystems, der Staat ging jedoch fast pleite und konnte nur durch milliardenschwere Notkredite gerettet werden.

    Posted by  on  03/09  at  03:54 PM
  28. Now I’m being told that I should lose weight by eating duck confit off a fast plate served by some guy who’s a follower of Notkred, even though this is even weirder than the veal-at-night diet?  spyder, I hope your friend can straighten this out. 

    And for the record, I will debate Beck anytime, anywhere.  All I need are two turntables and a microphone.  And a devil’s haircut.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/09  at  04:26 PM
  29. I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?
    (Sprechen Sie Deutsch hier, Baby!)

    capcha member as in “any club that would have me”

    Posted by  on  03/09  at  05:27 PM
  30. Finally, weight loss tips in English!  I was about to introduce legislation calling for English to be the official language of American Airspace.

    Posted by Michael  on  03/11  at  09:38 AM
  31. Just saw you in Toledo and you were terrific and I am still musing over some great commnen s you made. I wanted to turn you on to a music treat that is divine and it will come daily with bon bons for your ears. http://www.damnfineday.com/
    a fabulous source for overlooked musical greatness!

    Posted by  on  03/30  at  09:21 AM

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