Wednesday, January 08, 2003

The End of History

Is it possible that all of academia has run out of worthwhile topics to study? Despite the prevalence of 30 post-a-day college professor blogs (don’t these guys ever have an occasional class to teach, or an article to research for a scholarly journal, or a graduate student to belittle?), I doubt it. Seems to me there’s enough challenges facing this world to keep our best and brightest legitimately occupied for the foreseeable future. But then how does one explain the kind of academic attention being paid to the legacy of Gerald Ford and his impact on the course of world history?

Yes it’s true, academics are crazy about Ford. According to my sources, dozens of scholars per year are queuing up to receive grant money in order to study at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Michigan. And just what are they working on? Check out this preview of the groundbreaking masterpieces soon to earn social science Ph.D. degrees for future college professors serving at a university near you:

Gudni Johannesson; Queen Mary, University of London; “The Anglo-Icelandic Cod Wars"

The front lines of which were in a Long John Silver's in Soho. Gerald Ford’s part in the war was conscientiously objecting to using tartar sauce on his Whaler Supreme.

S. Utham Kumar Jamadhagni; University of Madras, India; ”Gerald R. Ford and India: Success of Policy Assertion”

According to the documentary "The Compleat Ford" he started successfully asserting his policy toward India following the failure of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to teach him how to float down to the tarmac when exiting an airplane, rather than sliding down the stairs on his face.

Ann E. Pfau; Princeton University; "Miss Your Lovin': Women in the Culture of American World War II Soldiers"

Has anyone ever missed the lovin’ of Gerald Ford? Has anyone ever witnessed the lovin’ of Gerald Ford? Maybe that’s what caused Mrs. Ford to crawl into a bottle of gin in the first place.

Arne Kislenko, Ryerson University, Canada, ”Bamboo in the Wind: United States Foreign Policy and Thailand During the Vietnam War”

This one comes with a CD featuring Elton John’s latest remaking of that Marilyn Monroe song. Sample lyric: “Gerry Ford you lived your life like some bamboo in the wind/Never knowing when or where to send the covert air strikes in.”

Judith Stein, City College of New York, "The Crucial Decade: 1970s"

According to this book’s prologue, “crucial” is defined as inconsequential, meaningless, and gladly forgotten.

David Veenstra, University of Illinois at Chicago, “The Spirit of 1976: President Gerald R. Ford and the Significance of the Bicentennial"

The primary significance of the Bicentennial being a brief resurgence of the career of Paul Revere and the Raiders, Mr. Veenstra reveals the blockbuster finding that Gerald Ford actually provided some of the midrange harmonies on the song “Kicks (Just Keep Gettin’ Harder to Find)”.

John W. Self; The University of Kansas; ”The Debate about the Debates: A Rhetorical/Historical Examination of Presidential Debate Negotiations”

This is a follow up to Mr. Self’s previous efforts, “The Dullest Thesis Topics in All of Recorded History” and “Really, Really Bad Titles to Books - An Oral History.”

I don‘t expect any of these to be appearing on the NYT Best Sellers list anytime soon. But their very existence does give me hope that the “Whip Inflation Now” coffee table book I’ve been working on may not be such a dumb idea after all.

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