Sunday, June 08, 2008

Questions? Talk to the monkey

The fine fiction writer Michael Martone, who did a stint as chair of creative writing while I was a graduate student at the University of Alabama, once explained to me that administration, especially higher-ed administration, is all about the distribution of monkeys.

"You sit at your desk," Michael said, "and someone walks in the door with a monkey. That person's goal is to hand you her monkey. Your goal is to make sure that she not only leaves with that same monkey, but takes one of your monkeys with her when she goes. You want to go home at the end of the day with no net gain of monkeys."

I thought of this when I read that the new chairman of a business school in Uttar Pradesh is Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god:
"When we were looking for a chairman for our institution, we scanned many big names in the field of technology and management. Ultimately, we settled for Lord Hanuman, as none was bigger than him."

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