Posts Tagged ‘religious studies’

Ode to April Fool’s Day

April 1, 2011

I’m a dream date for people who love April Fool’s Day. I’ve fallen for at least three pranks today already. (My favorite was the email from my Wisconsin State Assembly rep who said all 34 Democratic Assembly members have decided to go ahead and leave the state too.)

One April Fool’s prank in 1993 actually changed the course of my life. I was a religious studies major, planning to go on to get my PhD and become a professor (I mean, what else is a person gonna do with that degree?). I found religion such a fascinating topic, I could easily imagine spending the rest of my life studying it. I joined the Undergraduate Religious Studies Association (URSA), which published a monthly newsletter.

For April Fool’s Day of my junior year, we made a mock newsletter in which we poked fun at the department, ourselves, and the professors. We were not a spiteful crew, but we had a fun time with phony interviews, make-believe book reviews, and doctored photos. It was all good-natured, so we were pretty shocked when a couple of the professors were outraged. “How dare you make light of my life’s work?” and “Maybe you don’t see the value in this, but I can assure you others do.” That sort of thing.

James Hart, professor of phenomenology--whatever that means...

Their responses were so egotistical that I began to wonder what it does to a person to devote one’s life to an obscure area of study which, in the larger scheme of things, just doesn’t matter that much. (more…)