Post Academic

From US Magazine’s 25 Smartest Stars list

Coming on the heels of the great comments and suggestions for actors as fake academics, I was tipped to US Magazine‘s list of “25 Smartest Stars”.  Sorry, Rachelle, it doesn’t look like any Cusacks or members of the Six Feet Under cast made it, but the list basically includes any celeb that went to an Ivy League school, plus business smarts types, as if bank was a sign of intelligence.  We’re not reproducing the whole list because who really cares that John Krasinski and Masi Oka went to Brown or that US thinks Bono, Jay-Z, Will Smith are whizzes because they’re media moguls or that Alicia Keys was a valedictorian in high school.  Then there the obvious picks that everyone would guess, like Jodie Foster (Yale alum), Meryl Streep (the best actress, like, ever), Matt Damon (went to Harvard), Ben Affleck (because Matt Damon is on the list), and so on.  Instead, we’re listing a few highlights below:

"A Ford Escape Hybrid and David Duchovny" by Ford Motor Company (Creative Commons license)

David Duchovny (US reason: “Princeton and Yale graduate”) — Yeah, this one is pretty good for real and fake reasons.  This reminds me how a friend and I once skimmed a copy a X-Files fan bio that describes how the future Fox Mulder was a grad student at Yale studying with J. Hillis Miller–now that’s some kinda detail for pulp paperback.  If you look him up his Wiki page, it explains that his undergrad thesis was titled “The Schizophrenic Critique of Pure Reason in Beckett’s Early Novels” and that he was working on a diss called Magic and Technology in Contemporary Poetry and Prose at Yale.  James Franco ain’t got nothing on him!

As for the fake academic angle, doesn’t his character in Californication play a sex-addicted writer who’s also prof of some sort?  (I wouldn’t know, since I don’t have pay cable and haven’t seen the show.)  So maybe the show is a case of art imitating reality in more than one way.  I want to believe!

Dolph Lundgren (US reason: “awarded Fulbright scholarship”) — Post Academic readers know this already, but it’s good that Drago gets his props.

More smart stars below the fold…


Dolph Lundgren, Post Academic muscle

Posted in Absurdities by Arnold Pan on August 14, 2010
Tags: ,

"Dolph203" by Soman (Creative Commons license)

In case any of you are feeling frisky and/or testy in the comments section, we’ve found Post Academic’s enforcer and bouncer–introducing, Dolph Lundgren!  We mention this, because Lundgren has been making the rounds promoting the really-bad-idea of a blockbuster, The Expendables.  You know, it’s the movie that stars the washed-up action heroes of our youth, including, somehow, the sitting governor of a state that basically has no budget to fund its public colleges and universities.  (Working hard, huh, Governator?)  Don’t know whose idea The Expendables was, but Lundgren is probably the only one bright enough to realize it’s a bad one.

Most famous for playing good comrade baddie Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, Lundgren was actually a Fulbright scholar studying–get this–Chemical Engineering.  A graduate of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden with a M.A. in Chem-E from the University of Sydney, Lundgren was awarded a Fulbright to attend M.I.T., which he did for a few weeks before quitting to go to acting school.  According to an old interview with, Lundgren explained that he just didn’t want to go any further with his studies, which he apparently pursued as long as he did out of familial duty, since his father and older brother are engineers.  Here’s how Sylvester Stallone describes his fake nemesis:

“Contrary to the way he looks he’s actually really smart,” Sylvester said of Dolph. “He’s, like, this beautiful guy, 6ft. 5ins. Viking guy, 29ins waist. I’m like, ‘He’s got to be a moron,’ and then I find out he’s an MIT graduate, he’s done chemical engineering, he’s a full scholar. I’m like, ‘Are you serious? Him?’ Can you imagine him in a lab going, ‘Yes. I will cure this rat of something?’ It’s amazing, look at the transformation. From scientist to savage.”

My favorite line is how Stallone calls him a “full scholar,” like he’s trying to remember the term Fulbright, but just quite can’t.

And it seems like Dolph really is some kind of renaissance man: in addition to being kind of a post academic and the archetypal ’80s fake-Russian villain, Lundgren knows a ton of languages (besides his native Swedish, English, and bad movie dialogue), served in some kind elite military service, is a martial arts expert, and was the Team Leader/coordinator of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Pentathlon Team.  So for you post-grads and soon-to-be-Ph.D.s on the fence about what to do next, but are ambivalent about hanging on as academics, you could do worse than to ask yourself “What Would Dolph Do” when you’re in a pinch.  The next time you think about the academic job market, just imagine it in the place of  Rocky Balboa as you utter Drago’s immortal lines to yourself: “I must break you.”  That, or wax philosophical by telling yourself, “If he dies, he dies,” as you’re waiting for the campus visit phone call that’s never coming.  Talk about expendable!