I am the Very Model of a Pundit Academical

Miriam Elizabeth Burstein offers a Gilbert and Sullivan take on academe.

May 24, 2018

I am the very model of a pundit academical,

I've idées fixes artistic, scientific, and political;

I’ve a hundred ways to call the admin highly hypocritical,

And sometimes it’s in phrasing that descends to the emetical;

I'm very well acquainted too with matters pedagogical,

Which I pronounce on in a tone that's truly theological,

About research esoteric I am tweeting with so much abuse,

Although the second reader called my book proposal too diffuse! 


I'm very good at clickbait that's superbly supercilious,

I know exactly just the thing to make my colleagues bilious,

In short, in fields artistic, scientific, and political,

I am the very model of a pundit academical.


I know our storied theorists, from Cleanth Brooks to Jakobson,

I lecture long on p-hacking, I deconstruct the Higgs boson,

I’ve versified Greenblatt's The Swerve in macaronics magnifiques,

And always sign off Facebook with a pithy rhyme from Kant’s Critique;

I can tell Baudrillard from Wittgenstein and H. Cixous from F.  Tönnies,

I sneer at frauds while hyping my unpublishable masterpiece,

Then I can pitch a hot take on something I’ve not read before,

And if no-one will run it, well that’s what my dormant blog is for!

Then I can speak of budgets in a manner tropological,

And turn the latest scandal into something anagogical;

In short, in fields scientific, artistic and political

I am the very model of a pundit academical.


In fact, when I know what's meant by “committee work” and “overload”;

When I can tell at sight a learning outcome from an add/drop code;

When such affairs as meetings and advisement I’m more present at,

And when I know a mortarboard and tassel from a bowler hat;

When I can name five colleges whose halls are hardly ivy-decked,

When I can update Blackboard without losing all my self-respect,

In short, when I get that scholars unlike me are really not suspect,

You’ll say a pundit academic’s never been so ego-checked!

For though the language in my op-eds is particularly visceral,

I fear (alas) my wisdom’s proving eerily ephemeral,

But still, in fields artistic, scientific, and political,

I am the very model of a pundit academical.


Miriam Elizabeth Burstein is professor of English at the College of Brockport of the State University of New York. She was first exposed to academic pundits nearly 30 years ago, which has not stopped her from falling into some of the same habits herself. You can find more of her work at her website, The Little Professor, where an earlier version of these lyrics appeared.

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