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Comic cuts

It seems a bit embarrassing.

Then up pops the apparently famous MIT academic Noam Chomsky to say you cannae move for social science stuff at the place and Strathclyde should be teaching their scientists and engineers to comprehend the role and impact of technology in the broader society.

I know a bit about all this. I was an engineering student at Strathclyde in the 1960s. BSc (failed). The arts and social studies (ASS for short) students called us plumbers. Which was a laugh since you needed top grades to get into engineering but you could become an ass student if you could remember your mum’s Co-op number.

The main cultural pursuit of the plumbers was to attend Freds, a film show at Tuesday lunchtime. It was named after Fred Quimby, producer of the Tom and Jerry cartoons.

I would say watching Tom and Jerry is more useful than studying, for instance, linguistics which is Professor Chomsky’s speciality. Linguistics is a subject where you study grammar and the use of language but can’t use it to order your dinner in any country. Nobody speaks linguistics.

Strathclyde plan to cut music, geography, community education and sociology. They should keep music since it soothes the savage breast. Equally, nobody could argue against educating the community.

Geography may be dispensable now we have sat nav and Google Earth.

Sociology always has been high on the list of academic pursuits in the world we can do without. A few quid could be saved (to keep the university’s music, drama, and visual art commitment going) by giving linguistics the elbow now the study of grammar is pure pointless but.

On the cultural front, a leaf may be taken from the book of Dundee University which now offers masters and PhD degrees in comic studies. Dundee, home of the Broons, the Dandy and Beano, will be a world leader in comic book scholarship. We can look forward to theses on such subjects as Dennis the Menace and the Asbo; Desperate Dan, the Cowpie and Obesity Culture; and Lord Snooty, Oor Wullie, and the Class War. I hope Tom and Jerry get a mention.

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