Satire Script posted August 2, 2016


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Democracy at work, for better or worse.

The House that Jefferson Built

by Mark Valentine

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

THE SCENE: A meeting of department heads at the University of Virginia. Chancellor Williams enters a bit late.


CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Sorry I’m late everyone. I’m glad you started without me. Where are we in the agenda?

DEAN KOWALSKI: Coach Riggins, our Athletic Director, was just giving his report, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Great. Carry on.

COACH RIGGINS: Yes, sir. At your direction we’ve come up with a new tougher policy on academic and conduct standards for our student athletes.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Great, what are some of the changes?

COACH RIGGINS: Well, for starters, they actually have to take classes

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: How many?

COACH RIGGINS: At least two per semester.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Do they have to pass?

COACH RIGGINS: Yes sir. To be eligible they must maintain at least a 1.5 GPA.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: That’s a D plus.

COACH RIGGINS: We prefer to think of it as a low C minus, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: What about the code of conduct?

COACH RIGGINS: From now on, any non-starting athlete accused of rape will be suspended for one game, while we investigate.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: What about starters?

COACH RIGGINS: Severe reprimands.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: And that’s tougher than the old policy?

COACH RIGGINS: Yes, sir. We no longer allow athletes convicted of rape to play.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: I would think the criminal justice system would have taken care of that. You know, cuz they’d be in jail.

COACH RIGGINS: You’d be surprised, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: OK. I’ll take a look at it and have some feedback for you next week. Next on the agenda is an update on our search for a new Professor of Astrophysics. Professor Hopkins, any news?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Well, we’ve got two candidates.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Only two – who are they?
 
PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Charlie Sheen.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Neil DeGrasse Tyson – excellent! I’m afraid I’ve never heard of this Charlie Sheen –Where did he get his Ph.D.? What has he published?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: It’s Charlie Sheen, the actor, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS:  The guy from “Two and a Half Men”?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: That’s the one.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: The guy famous for substance abuse and violence toward prostitutes?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Afraid so, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Is he in any way qualified to teach physics at a university level?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Not at all. He thinks a black hole is… well, the less you know the better, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Why would he even want to teach astrophysics?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: He thought it would be bitchin', sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Bitchin'?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: His word, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Wow. OK, so I guess we can just offer Mr. Tyson the position and move on to the next agenda item then.

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Um, sir?

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Yes, Hopkins?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: There’s just one glitch.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: What’s that?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: According to our charter, any decision on faculty in any of the science departments has to be put to a vote.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Very well. All in favor of Mr. Tyson, please say aye…

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Um sir?

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Yes.

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: We’re not the ones who vote.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Come again? If not us, who?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: The people, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: What people?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: All the people, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: All the people?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: In the state of Virginia.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: They decide who is best qualified to teach astrophysics. Whose idea was that?
 
PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Our founder’s, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Thomas Jefferson?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Yes, sir. Apparently he was very big on the whole democracy thing. “All men are created equal”.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Yes, I’m familiar with the quote. Not a bad turn of phrase. Unfortunately, he meant the “all” figuratively and the “men” literally. So what you’re telling me is that the people of the state of Virginia get to choose who our next professor of astrophysics will be.

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: That is correct. Our polls show that it’s neck and neck.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Charlie Sheen are neck and neck? How is that possible?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Have you been off campus lately, sir?

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: People can’t be that stupid.

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Dr. Tyson does have a few unpaid parking tickets on his record.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: OK, so let’s see if I’ve got this. Brilliant scientist with some unpaid parking tickets vs. egomaniacal, immature, unstable actor with no moral compass. How is that even close?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Well there may be some racial issues at play here also.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: In 2016? What makes you think that?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Just something that popped into my head this morning as I was merging onto the Robert E. Lee Parkway off of Jefferson Davis Drive, sir. I got stuck behind a pickup truck sporting a confederate flag and an “Obama is a Muslim Terrorist” bumper sticker, and I thought maybe we hadn’t progressed as far as we might have hoped.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Well aren’t there minimum qualifications for the position that would disqualify Mr. Sheen?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: You have to be thirty-five, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: That’s it?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: And born in the USA.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: That’s it? Thirty-five and born here. Nothing about being, oh I don’t know, smart or qualified? Did that come from Jefferson too?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: James Madison, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: What were those guys smoking?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Like I said, they were really into this democracy thing.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Yeah, that’s all well and good, unless the majority of the people are, you know, stupid. Well I guess we’ll just have to make a reasoned logical case to the people as to why Dr. Tyson is the better of the candidates.

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Yeah, good luck with that, sir. I tried that at a rally earlier.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: What happened?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Well, I pointed out that Dr. Tyson has his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Columbia, that he has served as the Director of the Hayden Planetarium, and that he is highly intelligent and widely respected. And I contrasted that with Mr. Sheen’s resume.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: And then what happened?

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: Some guy in the crowd shouted SHEEEEEN! Someone else said “Fuck Yeah!” And then everyone started barking like dogs, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Democracy at work.

PROFESSOR HOPKINS: I’m afraid so, sir.

CHANCELLOR WILLIAMS: Fucking Jefferson.


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As most of you are probably aware, Thomas Jefferson, in addition to his other accomplishments, founded the University of Virginia.
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