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September 25, 2006 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Academic Idol: Round Ten

Well the tenth round was mired with voting inconsistencies, where the iron-clad voting systems employed by the Idol crew were cracked by an eager bunch. Not wanting another Florida on our hands, we decided to not throw anyone off. And have a DOUBLE elimination next week. So we managed to turn an annoyance into a complete upping of the stakes. Next week, you won’t be able to cheat, but I implore you to vote, because not one, but two of Victoria’s favourite sons will get the chop. Votes to the usual places, and 021 169 4608.

This week the question was:
“If you could have one superhuman aspect what would it be? And more importantly, how would it benefit your students?”

Peter Gainsford (Classics)

Much as I would like to be Arm-Fall-Off Boy, I don’t think that would benefit my students very much. And much as my students would doubtless like me to be a telepath, so that I could upload information straight into their minds (à la The Matrix), I’d find it a bit tedious myself; I’d get tired of having to block out everyone else’s thoughts.

I would be … Captain Coffee! With my Caffeine Vision I would see into people’s bloodstreams to determine whether they’ve had enough coffee yet this morning. I would use my French Roast Finger power to roast coffee beans to perfection. Using the amazing sonic powers of my Kenya Kroon, I’d sing coffee plungers to a perfect brew. My Aroma Aura would preserve the flavour and smell of freshly-brewed coffee for hours. Above all, I would use all my powers to combat my evil archenemies, Nescafe Nemesis, Sergeant Starbucks, and the Instant Imp.

I think the benefits to my students are obvious. Just as long as they don’t try to do barbaric things like putting in milk or sugar — for if they do — EVIL, WATCH OUT! Captain Coffee will smite you! Arrrr, me hearties.

John McDowall (Psychology)

Deep in the core of the Andromeda galaxy, past the rings of Thanatos, just before the Thur of Ardor, but slightly left and up a wee bit from the Barrier of Crebe, lies the planet Till. High in the mountains of Till, but below the Vestibule of Thebes, and not far from the Mound of Venus, lives the beautiful, but unpredictable She-demon, known as Passionata Von Climax – or “Pash” to her friends. A legend exits that says that whoever can “meld” with Pash both mentally and in the flesh, will absorb the power of Thane – that being the ability to alter the memories and perceptions of others, either for good or malevolent purposes. I want to meld with Pash – in the interests of my students, you understand. Two problems though. Firstly, I’m not sure how to get there, and secondly, legend has it that melding with Pash can be hazardous to your heath – apparently she has a tendency to bite your head off post-melding (Couldn’t she just lie back and have a cigarette?). I remain staunch. Should I succeed I will return to Earth – a small planet past the Rings of Ord – just before the –Oh never mind – and alter the perceptions of all our leaders in a way that convinces them that STUDENT FEES SUCK – AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY! That’s the sort of guy I am. Let’s meld!

David McLauchlan (Law)

My initial idea was that I would be a mind reader, but I then thought that knowing what is actually going on inside students’ heads while they are sitting in my classes would be too distressing and probably lead me to a very early grave. So in the end I decided that if I could have one superhuman aspect it would be immortality — in the physical and mental sense, because hopefully I already have it in the spiritual sense! Then all future generations of students will have the opportunity to be inspired by my teaching. And within a relatively short while, say by the year 2525, unless doomsday has intervened, I will have unparalleled legal knowledge, skills and historical perspectives to impart. Mind you, I reckon that after 500 more years I’ll be looking for a new career!

Sean Redmond (Film)

Since I can remember I have always wanted to fly like Superman. I suffer from a very mild form of claustrophobia so the idea of flight and the possibility of travelling at great speed, over and above endless space, acted as an enchanting skyway for me. Besides Superman wore blue tights and his pants on the outside: doesn’t this rank as one of the most ‘dangerous’ images in the whole history of popular culture? Superman queers America.

With flight I could replicate the balletic, graceful, wondrous movement of the mobile, air-borne camera. I could become the embodiment of the crane shot, swooping my students into Rick’s bar in Casablanca, across the bow of the millennium falcon, and onto the bejewelled dance floor of Top Hat where Fred and Ginger’s dancing feet would become our own. I could be a closeup at eye-level that slowly becomes a wideshot at high angle that gently becomes an aerial shot that gradually reveals a desert town, a noir-ish hovel, or a neon lit, hyperreal science fiction city of the future. If I had the gift of flight I could instantly take my students with me to all the locations made famous by film: Breakfast at Tiffany’s; ice skating in Central Park; sex, drugs and lashings of violence in Miami Vice. And we could still be home in time for tea.

OK: confession time: I have also always wanted to have super elastic snot that could rebound back up my nose with accurate, lightning quick precision. This wish’ followed a humiliating incident, in a communications class, where I sneezed and a giant, green bogey landed on my chin. This superhuman aspect would be great for demonstrating the art and craft of… horror special effects.


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments (19)

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  1. Jono Newton says:

    GOD those bastard law students have been voting up large this week how can he win with that piece of crap its not on at all

  2. torchy blane says:

    john –

    you have no need to alter my perception or memory to convince me to meld with you… and just so you know, i have better tricks up my sleeve for post-melding than head biting or smoking. join me, not far from the mound of venus, and we’ll explore the attributes i share – in an oh so good way – with student fees. because that’s the kind of girl i am.



  3. supergirl says:

    Sean, you can fly me to the moon anytime….. just make sure you wipe your nose, honey!!

  4. donny says:

    fuck those straight ass law students.

    go sean!!!

    yeah yeah!!! woo hoo!!

  5. Sherbet says:

    Has the Law entrant threatened his students with a failing grade if they don’t vote? I would give a failing grade to that economically worded, less than imaginative, piece of last minute scrounge writing.

    I say next week the written pieces should be anonymous and the votes assigned to the best written display of brilliance.

    May the best written piece be victorious. My vote is for John and his colourful use of the written word…! Move over amateurs, let the master take his rightful first place!

  6. m says:

    law has more students than any other represented here, ooh well, at least 75% of the first eyars will fail this year,

    GO SEAN.

  7. Dick Leeksma says:

    All the way from The Netherlands (Holland). We would like to vote 25 times for you Séan. Go and get them.
    Very proud to have son-in-law as Academic Idol in New Zealand.
    Just whisk you opponents fae away, Superman.

  8. Superman says:

    …I don’t know anyone called Dick (although I do know a few dick-heads). I have never, ever been to Holland. Or Amsterdam. Or the red light district (multiple times). I have never been involved in a S & M session with Mistress Ingrid. Or paid by the hour. Or smoked weed in Cafe Grass. My wife isn’t Dutch. Her name isn’t Leeksma-Redmond (its a silly name that would take an age to sign). I am not even married. It’s a fucking conspiracy!!

    (Dear Dick: thanks for the support. Carla and the kids send their love. I was just wondering if you have managed to post on that next shipment of ‘adult’ videos….)


    in oedipal crisis

  9. Siftyboy says:

    Oh, isn’t that sweet. Little seany got his father (in-law) to help him out. Maybe one day he’ll be all big and grown up and be able to stand on his own two feet.

  10. go david says:

    i will rig the votes for you. law is the bestestt subgect in uni.

    oh its so cool i can be one of those lawyers on Boston Legal or something. I hope i can get into Boston Legal when i griduate. can i do that david? can i?

    and i can slam my hands down when i make a convincing point and the jury would zoom up on my serious face, and make my client win.

    law will get me farr. i can wear a nice suit.

  11. Invisible Moose says:

    For goodness sakes, people – how can you consider anyone but lovely John? It’s charming that students like to be ‘loyal’ to their own, but at the end of the day, honesty must win through. Surely?

    Look forward to seeing you when you drop by to my place just east of the lower reaches of the Thebian Vestibule, Till. Til’ then, deary.

  12. Game on says:

    And just like that, with a little bit of advertising in a morning psychology lecture, John easily finds himself back in the game, in second place, set to take first.

  13. Life's too short to drink bad coffee... says:

    R E S U L T…..!!!!

  14. torchy blane says:

    john –

    looks like i’m not the only one with a fetish for a man who knows how to play the game… need i say any more?



  15. jannie says:

    john we love you i vote for you with all my loving desire.
    can’t wait to meld with you :p

    yours always jannie

  16. Supergirl says:

    Superman lives……

  17. DJ says:

    GOOOOOOOOOOO DAVID!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You rock and you’re going to win! Law students are behind you 110%.

  18. gerda says:

    My vote is for superman – and his creative ideas to take me where no one has gone before!

  19. Shawn Liu says:

    professor Sean’s wish is like “golden child” of heaven seaking its destiny of freedom. It is beautiful Zen mind. Isn’t that all beings wish for?

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