Kris an’ Murphy: If the Customer Is Wrong …

“Are you already training my replacement? Piter demanded.
“Replace you? Why, Piter, where could I find another Mentat with your cunning and venom?”
“The same place you found me, Baron.”
“Perhaps I should at that,” the Baron mused. “You do seem a bit unstable lately. And the spice you eat!”
“Are my pleasures too expensive, Baron? Do you object to them?”
“My dear Piter, your pleasures are what tie you to me. How could I object to that?”

Frank Herbert, Dune

Murphy: “I tell you, Kris, the universities should just shut down their history and literature departments.”

Kris:Again? You got a different reason this time?”

Murphy: “No, but new evidence for the old ones. A sitting President refuses to ban a known health hazard because he’s afraid of losing customers? What do we have in the White House, a drug lord? How many times in history and literature have we heard about this sort of thing? And the consequences, usually dire? And will somebody please tell me how come, while we’re screaming about vapes and tobacco on one hand, we’re praising cannabis to the skies on the other? If we’re not going to pay attention to what history and literature have to tell us, why do we bother teaching them?”

Kris: “You know the reason, same as I do, same as we’ve talked about before. Speaking of losing customers.”

Murphy: “Yeah, dammit. The courses are popular. They give the customers something to ignore. Often long and loud, on Facebook and elsewhere.”

Kris: “Tells you what the customers who claim citizenship to these Untied States really want, doesn’t it?”

Murphy: “To get stoned in perpetuity?”

Kris: “Our Baby Boomer legacy, Murphy. ‘If it feels good, do it. And destroy anybody who dares take what feels good away’. For any reason. Including reasons based on data schmata.”

Murphy: “I thought …”

Kris: “Your first mistake. You think that the University is some sort of high-falutin’ knowledge center or something. It’s a seller. It sells courses to customers. It gives the customers what they want, or it falls over. The customers want what we’re giving them, how else do we get away with charging them what we do? We sell, they pay, we get to drink wine at the fancy faculty club and bitch about how self-serving the university is. Hell, J.R.R. Tolkien understood this in 1935, and his mentor well before that. And, you know what?”

Murphy: “I hesitate to ask …”

Kris: “Neither Tolkien nor his mentor Wright resigned their faculty positions. Which meant that, as accomplices to the crime, they were entitled to say exactly nothing about it. And neither are we, so long as we keep our posts.”

Murphy: “Kris?”

Kris: “Yes?”

Murphy: “I hate you. More to the point: I hate me!”

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3 Responses to Kris an’ Murphy: If the Customer Is Wrong …

  1. Nathalie Hoke says:

    Nothing much changes over time.

    BTW, I absolutely hated Dune.

    • Quilly says:

      Wow. Thought I was the only one! So happy to be wrong!

      • Amoeba says:

        I enjoyed the original book … “great merits and great faults”. Some of the prequels and side stories written by Herbert’s son Brian (with Kevin J. Anderson) are readable. I didn’t, and don’t, have the patience for Frank Herbert’s sequels. I guess the movie set him up financially, but I never watched it, and didn’t (don’t) see how a successful movie could (can) be made from the book(s). Among other things, the first book is a ‘hero’ story at odds with itself (Herbert has the Princess Irulan write about how Arrakis, and indeed the Empire, came to be ‘afflicted’ by a hero).

        Frank Herbert, in the last book of the series that he completed, did write this:

        All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.

        And, I guess, to the sycophants of the corruptible.

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