In what is likely to prove an unexpectedly controversial move, new Alma Mater College President - Professor Brandon Birchhanger-Cervis-Stayshn - has invited fellow dons to nominate a tabloid newspaper for inclusion in its daily Senior Common Room’s hitherto distinctively hieratic library of reading materials. The move, designed to alert the increasingly out-of-touch ivory towerists to the thoughts and feelings of the common man or woman - with whom the Presidential missive seems to agree the cosseted academics have lost all contact and understanding - this descent to the demotic is, observers believe, open to wide misinterpretation.
Don watcher - Ivor Grudge - whose days in the hallowed halls of academe were cut short when he refused to sign up for Public School Remedial Classes designed to bring students from privileged backgrounds with generally good manners down to the level of the target admissions demographic - says that the move is likely to backfire. Whilst making the Fellows of Alma Mater aware that there is a world out there not entirely of their own design and making is on some level a laudable even admirable aim, the chances are that sudden exposure to different - broadly politically-less-than-correct - views will likely prove extremely damaging to their sense of well-being - especially post lockdown when communication only with those of like view tended to reinforce an unchallengeable sense of natural entitlement and self-belief”.
Defending the move Professor Birchhanger-Cervis-Stayshn said that he wished to bring a new sense of inclusivity to his Presidency in order to widen the number of people and attitudes open to ridicule. “Debating with one’s peers may make for academic progress”, he said, “but only by alerting one’s colleagues to the antiquated foibles, dangerous misunderstandings and obnoxious misperceptions of the general public can we hope to maintain the hauteur necessary to allow us to continue to sneer, patronise and wear a silly gown whilst feasting at High Table. Here at Alma Mater we have a solid track record over recent years of opening our doors to the importunate and underprivileged in order to advance our fight to eradicate other-thinking, reduce the number of members of the general public in tabloid ignorance and lift them from intellectual poverty to a state of high self-regarding correctness similar to our own. We can only do so effectively if we are fully aware of the range of views we need to eradicate. It’s simply us doing our bit for the great challenge of reducing contrariness and eliminating all attitudes different from our own".
Whether the initiative will be successful is open to question. A College insider who wished to remain nameless said that a current poll amongst the Fellowship was undecided between the Sydling St Nicholas Sun, The Mappowder Mirror and the Afpuddle Evening News. Dr Little-Snitch went on to say that whichever was chosen, the intended exposure to “low life and low opinion” was unlikely to have the desired effect. “The content of these so-called newspapers and the attitudes they express are so laughably implausible, no-one on the Fellowship is likely to give them the time of day let alone a second thought”.
Asked for a comment, Sydling St Nicholas Sun Editor-in-Chief Ron Nasty made a characteristically dismissive gesture before describing academics in general as "wank-splats, twats, gob-shites and over-privileged tossers". Deputy Editor Piers Notso-Nasty later confirmed that the newspaper would not be including the Alma Mater SCR in its list of institutions qualifying for its "educational discount" scheme.