…I give you UC President Mark Yudof. A sample of his comedic stylings:
Question — U.C. is facing a budget shortfall of at least $753 million, largely because of cuts in state financing. Do you blame Governor Schwarzenegger for your troubles?
Mark Yudof — I do not. This is a long-term secular trend across the entire country. Higher education is being squeezed out. It’s systemic. We have an aging population nationally. We have a lot of concern, as we should, with health care.
Question — And education?
Mark Yudof — The shine is off of it. It’s really a question of being crowded out by other priorities.*
Question — Already professors on all 10 U.C. campuses are taking required “furloughs,” to use a buzzword.
Mark Yudof — Let me tell you why we used it. The faculty said “furlough” sounds more temporary than “salary cut,” and being president of the University of California is like being manager of a cemetery: there are many people under you, but no one is listening. I listen to them.
And here’s some bonus anti-intellectualism:
Question — The word “furlough,” I recently read, comes from the Dutch word “verlof,” which means permission, as in soldiers’ getting permission to take a few days off. How has it come to be a euphemism for salary cuts?
Mark Yudof — Look, I’m from West Philadelphia. My dad was an electrician. We didn’t look up stuff like this. It wasn’t part of what we did. When I was growing up we didn’t debate the finer points of what the word “furlough” meant.
Question — How did you get into education?
Mark Yudof — I don’t know. It’s all an accident. I thought I’d go work for a law firm.
Oh, President Yudof, you’re such a card! Look, I know he’s being glib and that humor’s a coping mechanism. But comedy’s all about timing. And his stinks.
* Emphasis added. For emphasis.