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Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Scholar and the Bureaucrat

(with deepest apologies to the Reverend Dodson and Miss Liddell)

The Scholar and the Bureaucrat
Were cutting quite a dash;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of cash:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "we could be flash!"

"If seven profs with seven trusts
Milked it for sixty weeks.
Do you suppose," the Scholar said,
"They could clean it so it squeaks?"
"I doubt it," said the Bureaucrat,
And plugged some tiny leaks.

"O Artists, come and make us rich!"
The Scholar did issue.
"An artist’s name, an artist’s fame,
Is what we offer you:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a show to two."

The eldest Artist looked at him,
But nary a sketch he gave:
The eldest Artist stroked his beard,
And gave a cheeky wave--
Meaning to say he really thought
The scholar was a knave.

But four young Artists hurried up,
All eager for their due:
Their art was rushed, their C.Vs writ,
Their folios were blue--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They didn’t have a clue.

Four other Artists followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All jumping through the Scholar’s hoops,
And eager to the core.

The Scholar and the Bureaucrat
Planned for a day or so,
And then they issued a proposal
Likely just for show:
And all the little Artists stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Scholar said,
"To talk of many things:
Of trusts--and boards--and career paths--
Of junkets--and flings--
And why my salary is so low--
And giving piggies wings."

"But half a mo," the Artists cried,
"Before we do our art;
For some of us are new to this,
And all of us are smart!"
"No worries!" said the Bureaucrat.
and waved the flag to start.

"A course on art," the Scholar said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Degrees and P. H. Ds besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready, Artists dear,
We can begin to weed."

"But not poor us!" the Artists cried,
Doing their degrees.
"After all our work, you have to
Give us “As” not “Cs”!"
"The course is fine," the Scholar said.
"Shall we increase the fees?

"It was so kind of you to try!
I have passed almost half!"
The Bureaucrat said nothing but
"Give me lots more staff:
I wish you wouldn’t talk so much--
You really make me laugh!”

"This is the game," the Scholar said,
"For us to get rich quick,
We’ve given them great careers
And dirty boots to lick!"
The Bureaucrat said nothing but
"The money's spread too thick!"

"I deconstruct," the Scholar said:
"Those I have despised."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those whose art he prized,
Using his personal prejudice
Cleverly disguised.

"O Artists," said the Bureaucrat,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be going round again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd shafted every one.