Simmons hires new professor to revive Russian Lit

It appears that our days of sliding through Russian Lit with a Nalgene of vodka in hand are coming to an end. In an unprecedented lame duck appointment, President Simmons has hired a new faculty member to teach the much-maligned literature course. The replacement prof? Nigel Charles Ratburn, formerly of Lakewood Elementary in Boston.

“I understand that hiring a professor with no university-level teaching experience is a gamble,” Simmons said when asked about Ratburn’s credentials. “However, Mr. Ratburn’s motivational track record is unbelievable, and I really think he’s the person we need to revolutionize how Brown teaches Russian literature.”

Lakewood Elementary is located in Boston’s Elwood City suburb, whose school district recently rebounded from an educational crisis similar to the one gripping Central Falls, Rhode Island. Part of Simmons’ rationale behind Ratburn’s hiring was the role he played in bringing the district’s failing students up to par with national averages in test scores. “I spoke with Lakewood principal Herbert Haney, and he told me that Mr. Ratburn’s alternative teaching methods and firm belief in the power of diligent labor really made an impression on his students. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a few of his classes, and while there were the requisite number of groans during every pop quiz, his students were some of the brightest I’ve ever seen at the elementary level. I found it hard to believe that just a few years ago these same kids were getting teardrop tattoos and lobbying to lower the age of consent!”

When asked if she planned on hiring new faculty to lend much-needed credibility to the MCM department, Simmons’ only response was a laugh.


What to do tonight: 3/11

Okay, is it just me, or has it been the LONGEST week? All this beautiful weather was lovely during the weekend, but when Monday rolled around, it made it incredibly difficult for me to drag my sorry self to class. All I’m saying is, thank everything that is good in this world that it is (almost. almost almost!) time for the weekend, which means another crop of exciting things to do TONIGHT. And I’m not just saying “exciting” so you’ll be excited. This weekend is packed with truly excellent things for you and me and everyone we know to do. To start us off, Thursday’s picks:

Three Sisters
Production Workshop (7 Young Orchard), 8:00
FREE FREE FREE
I don’t know if you went to see Lulu last weekend (or have plans to see it this week!), but that show left me reeling. And a little sick to my stomach (because of the content, not the production!). And longing for a show that was a little less… aesthetically minded is the phrase I’m sticking with, but absolutely out of its freaking mind is another valid option. “Three Sisters” is the most buzzed-about student production in a long time, but it also promises to be some darn good theater. And it’s a Chekhov play, which means you get that lovely classy & cultured feeling for the price of your (FREE) ticket.

The Last Station
Avon Cinema, 6:30 & 8:50
If tonight’s “What to Do” had a theme, it would be Russian writers form the late 19th century. Thank goodness it doesn’t! I don’t know if you remember me telling you to go see “Crazy Heart” because of my girl crush on Maggie Gyllenhaal, but that’s absolutely nothing compared to my deep, long-abiding love for James McAvoy. Yep, I’m mostly interested in this multiple-Oscar-nominated film because one of the actors is a hot hot hottie with soulful eyes. What of it?

Fusion Dance Show
Alumnae Hall Auditorium, 8:00, $5
Fusion Dance Company has a well-earned rep for putting on electric, high-energy dance shows and it looks like this one will be no exception. It also has the benefit of having nothing to do with Russian writers from the 19th century, so if you’re not into that (although really, how could you not be?), this one’s for you.


Time-waster of the day 2/25/10

Commissar Markov has long been a loyal party member, but I fear his growing influence in state policy. Perhaps it is time to cash in a favor from my friends at the Kremlin.

LOLcats for the Russian Lit student. In fact, probably a Russian Lit final project.