Post Academic

We were right about James Franco not teaching

Posted in Absurdities by Arnold Pan on August 1, 2010
Tags: ,

"James Franco Feb 09" by John Harrison (Creative Commons license)

We at Post Academic have been all over the big–and really only?–celeb/academia crossover story of 2010: James Franco enrolling in the Yale Ph.D. program.  The last thing we heard about was Franco’s stated desire to start teaching immediately upon entering as a grad student, something we claimed–rightly– that Ivy types would not be doing as first years.  We suggested that Franco attend an equally well-regarded public university Ph.D. program if teaching was so important to him, since I’m sure any UC that would accept him would happily let him pass along his fellowship package to someone else.  Speaking of which, I wonder what kind of funding package Franco is getting or whether he would just pass up a fellowship, considering he’s gotta be making millions for being in a Planet of the Apes remake prequel.

Anyway, here’s how the (not) teaching saga went down: Apparently, Franco claimed on “Good Morning America” earlier in the month that he would be teaching a “very special class” starting in January 2011.  This, however, lead to a clarification by Yale English chair Michael Warner in the school paper explaining that grad students don’t typically start teaching at Yale until their 3rd years and that Franco’s proposal to teach a self-designed course was turned down–ouch!  However, Franco’s proposal has somehow been turned into some kind of project that’s either a musical or film, described by the Most Famous Soon-to-Be Grad Student Ever as a “stage/film/musical/crazy production.”  So that’s what it takes to get into one of the best programs in the country, in case anyone reading is preparing her/his application.

What’s probably more interesting, at least to us geeks, is the way a media that is totally clueless about academia has been covering the story.  Perez Hilton doesn’t seem to have any grasp of what an academic calendar is like, describing the incoming student as “currently enrolled.”  Perhaps more galling and totally inaccurate is the way that has already put Franco on the tenure track: “James Franco, college professor? It’s happening–and it’s not for a role.”  So according to MTV, either anyone who teaches at a college-level is a professor or any Ph.D. student is a college professor.  OK, we might expect this from MTV, but even the Yale Daily News, which probably should know better, gets confused in its headline: “Sorry, Ladies: No Prof. Franco just yet.”  Gotta love, too, how the Yalie commenters blasted the headline for the heteronormative assumptions of the headline, exclaiming that, “This is Yale, we gay boys were clamoring for Franco, too!”

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