Amateur Hour

How Maybe Not To Do Things

I realize this would seem totally inconsequential for a lot of people if I threw in all the details, so I'll try to abstract something funny from the situation.

This morning, my university launched a new look and feel for their website. Not a big deal. They really just took the old one and replaced it with something completely different. Surely at a time such as this, the end of term, when students are just a little on edge, it would be excellent to shake things up a bit. Why not? I'm not in any an expert on this subject, this blog represents the pinnacle of my abilities, but it does strike me as a bit odd to change a website at the one time people might rely on it the most.

Since one assumes that things of this sort get signed off up top, it would seem that whoever is running the show doesn't know who they're running it for. Why not wait 3 more weeks? This might seem trivial but I think it represents a fundamental disconnect in the way things have been running. Enter our esteemed President, who I spotted roaming the halls the day after averting the last of the threatened strikes. She was wearing purple robes, I kid you not. No self-respecting literary professor would fail to see the significance of that. Regal purple, having just tried to strong arm the union into yielding executive sign-off on all tenure positions. Luckily, this didn't happen, although it would be curious to see how much the faculty had to pay to protect collegiality. It did, however, waste a lot of everyone's time.

It's easy to say "they don't know what they're doing," from the comfort of this chair. But to say that they don't know what they are doing isn't to detract from their abilities. They know exactly how to do what they think they are doing. They've just lost track of who they are doing it for. It's a bit like one of those submarine movies where the captain goes a little nuts. It's a bit like being on a runaway train, a massive frantic business accountable to nobody. It makes you wonder if maybe things would be better with Laurel and Hardy running the show. Incompetence a better fate than a strong drive in the wrong direction.