Open Letter to Bunim-Murray

Posted by sepoy on February 25, 2005 · 3 mins read

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 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
Message-ID: <>
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.


har | February 25, 2005

Oh man. You can totally build up the hype beforehand by leaking sidekick cam photos of a topless Paris and Gayatri Spivak making out.

sven | February 25, 2005

1. you forgot nicole richie. she is the backbone of the show. the show wouldn't be funny without nicole. paris has no comedic talents what-so-ever. nicole carries the show and is always denied her fame. B. Bunim-Murray do not take ideas for shows. and III. you should always consult me when you are making a post regarding pop culture. where's yo head at?

dacoit | February 25, 2005

Hmmm. I know this is a 'joke', but somehow it raises questions (suppose I am an inveterate nerd). When you say 'conservative' candidates, what exactly do you mean with regards to South Asian History? (Perhaps this is another episode of word-of-the-day.) This could mean anything ranging from politics (religious nationalist, market capitalist) to methodology (empiricist, anti-theory, positivist) to character of historical argument (some degree of epistomological continuity in spite of the Raj, alternative recipe for the dominance/hegemony cocktail than Guha's, overall limited nature of British colonial power/knowledge) to something else entirely (stock-broker/accountant attire, veg or nonveg depending on political connnotation in country of origin, use of 'proper' English as opposed to slang/dialects, etc).

sepoy | February 25, 2005

sven: I have never seen the show but I am sure it is really good. Also, the post is not about pop culture, but I will try to consult you in the future. dacoit: the "conservative" is a jibe towards the recent "controversy" that 98% of Stanford and Duke history faculty are registered Democrats with no Republicans in the academia [hence the Dinesh D'Souza]. It could mean all of things you list. But, it doesn't. And thanks for being an inveterate nerd. We like them here at CM. A lot.

praktike | February 25, 2005

I don't know why, but there's something infinitely amusing about sentences that end with "!?"

Jonathan Dresner | February 25, 2005

To be honest, I've often thought that a really honest look at what goes on the offices and conference rooms of academia would make much better drama than the "Felicity" stuff they put out. I wondered, once upon a time, why so many academic writers wrote about academia, but there's so much great material here!

Morcy | February 25, 2005

Sven: i haven't seen The Simple Life since the first season, but you are right in that it's Nicole who moves the plot forward by being, if possible, even more of an egomaniac than Paris. The late episodes of season 1, in fact, got to be rather touching as Paris started demonstrating signs of guilt over the whole mess, while Nicole chugged on, making out with everyone. I dunno if the world is ready for Spivak/Hilton photo, though. Ah, everyone should be glad Photoshop isn't installed on this computer.

Farangi | February 26, 2005

D'Souza is old news, biatch. He allegedly banged the ice off Ann Coulter, but he's otherwise considered a has-been hack in Lib/Con circles. The real deal is, of course, (drum roll, please): "...Ramesh Ponnuru...senior editor for National Review. Ponnuru grew up in Kansas City and graduated summa cum laude from Princeton's history department. Ponnuru has published articles in numerous newspapers including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Newsday, and the New York Post. He has also written for First Things, Policy Review, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, Reason, and other publications. He is the author of the monograph The Mystery of Japanese Growth (American Enterprise Institute/Centre for Policy Studies). He has been a fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London and a media fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He has appeared on CNN's Inside Politics, NBC's The McLaughlin Group, MSNBC's Buchanan & Press and Donahue, CNBC's Kudlow & Cramer, PBS's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CSPAN's Washington Journal, Comedy Central's Politically Incorrect, Fox News, and NPR's Morning Edition. Ponnuru lives in Washington D.C. with his wife April, a policy adviser to the Majority Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives..." While RP is obviously down with white chicks (April?), I think he could be intimidated by the world champion tag-team Ritchie/Hilton Express. On the other hand, D'Souza would have them naked in his hot tub before the end of episode one, forcing them to feed him from a bucket of succulent, overripe peaches, while he himself sipped from a bottle of peppermint schnapps, held in his free hand, by its neck. As the point is maximum heartache and embarrassment for earnest scholars, RP would be your man. Both wear Brooks Brothers, but D'Souza's sort of the Mick Jagger of subcontinental Wm. F. Buckley disciples. I'm sorry, but America isn't ready to season its stereotypes with so much nuance. Apu was comfortable for many, but now we've got Kumar. I'm afraid a randy, first generation Indian-American conservative idealogue who disco dances while telling us that Southern slavery warn't all that bad is just too much at this time. Try us in about 20 years or so.

elck | February 27, 2005

Hilarious. I haven't seen the Misses Hilton and Richie's Televised Variety Show, but I'm sure it's banging (prob. in more ways than one). But IMO, Sepoy and Farangi are the shiznit, and would slay all comers (even if we teamed Condi up with B.S. Nightfall). Oh, I forgot to end that with an exclamation mark!

sepoy | February 27, 2005

farangi: "On the other hand, D'Souza would have them naked in his hot tub before the end of episode one, forcing them to feed him from a bucket of succulent, overripe peaches, while he himself sipped from a bottle of peppermint schnapps, held in his free hand, by its neck." You need to be stopped.

nykol | March 01, 2005

Ya'll are sick freaks....but somehow I keep coming back for more.