Friday, March 30, 2007

Hulk Respect Process!

An occasional correspondent writes:

Which superhero would make the best dean at a community college and why?

My vote is for Batman. His whimsical dilettante cover would make him
non-threatening to members of the establishment but his secret identity
allows him to be very effective in thwarting the forces of evil. That he's
used to doing things behind the scenes and getting little credit is a plus.
Also, since he's really really rich, he could probably solve some of the
college's problems by making donations to key departments / programs.

That's not bad, although if his “youthful ward” is actually an undergraduate, I foresee issues. And deans' cars aren't nearly that cool.

A few others have their virtues. The Flash would be able to go from rubber-chicken function to rubber-chicken function without being late. Superman wouldn't need a parking space. Reed Richards, from the Fantastic Four, has the necessary flexibility. (They could do battle with Mr. Freeze, the evil state legislator who keeps freezing our budget allocations.)

But to get a really good answer to this, I had to enlist the aid of my brother, who has forgotten more about superheros than I'll ever know. His answer:

The Hulk would be good.

FACULTY: This is intolerable! This is an affront to academic freedom! This is tyranny!

HULK: Puny human! Hulk fair! Hulk respect process! RAAR! [Hulk crumples a nearby Toyota into a wad]


HULK: Hulk college budget being cut? RAAR! Where capital? RAAR! HULK LOBBY! HULK LOBBY!


Let us not forget the many possibilities of Wonder Woman. Forget the super-strength, the invisible plane, all of that. She's armed with a magic lasso that forces people to tell the truth. That'd get some things done. Plus, people tend to respect an authority figure who spends all day in star-spangled panties. At least, that's been my experience.


The best choice?

Professor X of the X-Men. First of all, he's ex-faculty. "Professor?" Oh yeah. Also, he's in a wheelchair, so you've got some affirmative action cred. But most of all, Charles Xavier is a telepath. A telepath. How useful would it be to be able to read minds? Imagine how he could manage meetings and figure out faculty and state problems? Better still, he can alter people's minds. Oh my.

FACULTY: Dammit, Charles, this isn't fair!

X: Are you sure? [activates mental powers]

FACULTY: You're absolutely right. Now I'm going to leave and be happy with my job, and thankful that you're helping me get it done. I'm here to guide the minds of tomorrow!
X: Thanks for stopping by, professor.

FACULTY: No, no, the pleasure was mine. Would you like me to get a cup of coffee for you on my way out?

X: That'd be great.

X: Mr. State Senator, the higher education in this state is drastically underfunded.

SENATOR: My constituents need tax cuts!

X: Are you sure? [activates mental powers]

SENATOR: Upon consideration, the future of the state requires a fine university system!

X: I'm so glad you feel that way.

SENATOR: I will fight to increase your funding! Fight to the death!

X: Thank you, Senator.

SENATOR: Care for a scone?

"Hulk respect process!" I like that.

Which superhero would make the best professor?