Women+Islam is hot, she said. If those were your keywords, then you would be getting job talks all over the place. Yeah!? Well, who in heck decides what is hot? I retorted. Is it a dark room filled with greying sanskritists flashing one word cards for responses? Globalization. Flash. Terrorism. Flash. Muslim Historiography in India. Crash and Burn. Maybe. She replied. Or maybe, Paris and Tinkerbell decide what is “hot”. And so, dear readers, came the epiphany. After googling for some how-to, below is the actual email I send to Bunim-Murray, the producers of The Simple Life:
From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Feb 24 21:44:41 2005
Received: (qmail 12601 invoked by uid 10134); 25 Feb 2005 03:44:04 -0000
Date: 25 Feb 2005 03:44:04 -0000
Subject: Pitch for The Simple Life: Going Academic
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”iso-8859-1″
Dear Mr. Murray,
Imagine The Simple Life meets The Apprentice. Imagine The Simple Life meets Legally Blonde. Imagine The Simple Life meets Gladiator [the Collosium bits not the boring Roman politics bits]. Imagine The Simple Life meets The Godfather [the shooting bits AND the politics bits]. Are you excited, yet!?
Premise for season 4: Paris Hilton helps choose the next hire in the history department of prestigious Ivy league university. First 3 episodes, Paris and Tinkerbell are intimately involved in choosing the short list of candidates. The fun that Paris could have with the wacky c.v’s [Tamil for 6 years! HA!]. Or with the wacky names of applicants! All this while surrounded by bumbling, brooding, tweedy academics desperately trying to impress her! Hilarity ensues! Next 3 episodes, Paris sits in as young PhDs are hurdled into the room for interviews. She picks who is hot and Who is “Tired!” [as in...subaltern studies is sooo tired!]. Next 3 episodes, Paris hangs out behind the scene with the 3 short listed candidates as they plan for the biggest afternoon of their 12-yr long doctoral career. Will they be able to concentrate? Can the candidate pull it off while Paris hides pages 4-18 of his job-talk, Fatima Jinnah: The Schumann Factor?. Hilarity continues to ensue!
In the end, it comes to 2 candidates and Paris gets to know them and their sexual histories before choosing one LUCKY winner to be Assistant Professor of History! Tenure Track!
There is a lot of variations we can introduce. We can jury-rig the pool to include a “conservative” job candidate [these are very hard to locate but I believe Tufts has one or two], a “gay” candidate [bisexual is hotter, of course], the heavyweight “bengali woman” and the underdog “brown man”. Perhaps we can really reel in the pool by finding a conservative brown man [dinesh d'souza isn't available, I emailed already].
In terms of backstory, we should try to get some conflicts by introducing the advisor-who-slept-with-the-grad-student and the famous-academic-who-used-his-research-students-work-for-his-own. These are comedy gold!
For future shows, we can have Paris teach the Hum core! or deliver a “What Matters to Me and Why?” with Martha Nussbaum! The possibilities are endless!
I eagerly await further communication on this matter.