From Joan of Nark



‘Jaenerys the Unburnt’, Mother of some rather big reptiles, Empress of Five Campdoms, has relinquished her rule. Finally, she finally called it a day (she had us guessing there for a while), surrounded by her adopted clan, the devoted ‘Beauraki’ (a band of savage paper people), and guarded by her ‘Unsullied’ (an army of ultra-disciplined fearsome eunuchs, former slaves, who got their licenses by killing off programs and even schools without blanching or moving a facial muscle). So, no more ‘Jangelising’, no more sermons about the sacred mission of bringing freedom, choice, and excellence to the peasants of Western Sydney, if not the whole known world. It’s enough to make me shed a crocodile tear or two, if not a whole river.



So hey, Ser Barney! If you’re out there, or have some ‘spiders’ in the network, House Looney (yes us, the one with the sigil that looks like a drip needle, although some people think it’s a bird or an opened book. Funny that.) needs another story. After the leeching we’ve had through the Jaenerys Crusades, something like Robin Hood would be good (you know, taking off the rich to give to the poor) – James Cameron, in his retelling of the tale, made a good point about moralising regimes bankrupting themselves through the pursuit of shiny ideas with no thought about the needs of the folks at home, or their own fates.



So, we’re a bit sick of the chivalric posturing, and the endless promotion of shiny expansiveness in order to flog a tired and underfed institution for the benefit of some Holy Grail (coconut shells anyone? )We’re all a bit tired of seeing your empires built on our corpses. In fact, we’re sick to death of being either tortured or ‘jollied along’ while we’re starved of proper funding for teaching and research in order to stock the table of management salaries, bonuses, and whimsy. And we’re made nauseous by our endless and indigestible diet of stupid slogans, calculated speeches made to some idea of some ideal consumer that infantilises the intelligence of any serious student, templates for everything (including ‘original thought’), measures of achievement (will a ruler suffice?), outcomes (did you hear the one about the constipated mathematician…), KPIs (Keep Pleasing Idiots ???), quality assurance and standards based assessments (if a camel wont fit through the eye of a needle it’s always possible to poke it in the eye with one…) … and the daily spray of new policy – soon we’ll be spending more time reading it than anything else.



And if you haven’t noticed already, House Looney is run along the lines of those contraptions that quaintly complicate simple processes, you know, those for switching on a light, say, which involve an orchestration of improbable triggers and perfect flows – like falling dominoes triggering balls running down pipes tipping scales hitting pop-up toasters tossing up flaming buttered crumpets igniting and burning a golden thread holding a silver ball which brushes past a flick switch as it falls towards earth turning it on and giving us light. I tell you, talk about complicated when a small thrust of a finger will do! I wont say anything here about (in)House Looney jokes i.e.


 Q: how many looneyversity committees does it take to change a light-bulb


A: all of them and then don’t hold your breath … if it’s anything like changing the content of your units, plan ahead. A couple of years should do it… Although I haven’t factored in the obligatory signing off by our perky CFO…



So I’d like to make an observation about the contents of your Looneyversity VC induction pac, which I’m guessing contains a pair of scissors and a hammer in case you want to indulge in a little trimming here and there, or just a bit of banging things about to rattle the troops (what’s left of them, that is, after last year’s ‘Battle of the Bulge’. Some exercise in belt tightening that was in the wake of all those new ipads and our recent $1,500 sign up bonus – what was that about? Secret Santa? Makes you wonder what the managers got).



Anyway, Barney, my observation is that rather than a sleek, well oiled and maintained machine raring to go, you’ve inherited a round table of managerial knights sitting on top of their ‘castles’ (for want of a better word) ingeniously held together by band-aids and a load of spakfilla. In fact, the children’s game ‘Kerplunk’ is probably a good way of thinking with images here. It’s a tube with holes. You stick wooden straws across it to form a platform before filling it with marbles. The aim of the game is to pull the straws out one by one without being the person left with the last straw before all the loose marbles in Kastle Kerplunk come tumbling down… Know what I mean?