ST CLAIR’D


Image Credit: “bye, Jim!” by Serena Epstein modified by Shannon Hauser

Below you’ll find a pictorial history (and here’s a link to the video—I refuse to embed it here 🙂 !) of the ass-whooping I received at the hands of—the now legendary—John St. Clair while debating the question “Is the CMS dead?” at this year’s Faculty Academy. And while some may say he didn’t necessarily win the debate, let there be no question about his epic victory. In fact, he not only crushed the Reverend, he inspired a brand new verb here at UMW: “St Clair’d!” —which is now a logical successor to pwned for our community. John’s performance in the debate—he so brilliantly conceived of it as a kind of roast which I unwittingly played beautifully into—may have been the single greatest performance I’ve ever seen at any conference anywhere. It was intelligent, fun, irreverent, and downright hysterical. Kudos John, I know when I’ve been St Clair’d.

But pictures are worth a thousand words, so if you can’t do the 45:00 minute video (first 18 minutes is all you need), see Serena Epstein’s photo play-by-play, which accurately captures confidence crushed by a triumphant, and greatly underestimated, foe. Damn you, St Clair….I’ll get you yet, my pretty!

Image iof Tim O'Donnell Starting debate

Beginning the debate

Waiting to start

Waiting to start

ready to go

ready to go

Binder at the ready

Still Confident

Still Confident

Getting excited

Getting excited

Air quotes

Air quotes

The crazed Jim Groom look

The crazed Jim Groom look

Begininng the smackdown

Beginning the smackdown

Smackdown continues

Smackdown continues

And continues

And continues

Uh oh

Uh oh

Bye, Jim!

Bye, Jim!

Triumphant

Triumphant

Jim realizes

Jim realizes

Conceding defeat, happily

Conceding defeat, happily

All images and captions stolen from Serena Epstein’s UMW Faculty Academy 09 Flickr set here. And while I have much, much more to blog about, like the conference, James Boyle’s awesome talk (though he’s no St. Clair), and reconnecting with Laura Blankenship, Cole Camplese, and Brad Kozlek, as well as finally meeting one of my internet heroes Leslie Madsen-Brooks. But that may take a day or two because I’m still licking my wounds after that debate and trying to put the pieces of my life back together after being St Clair’d.

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16 Responses to ST CLAIR’D

  1. Zach Davis says:

    St. Clair had me when he started quoting Milton. Sorry Jim.

  2. jmcclurken says:

    He had me when he brought a binder to a zombie fight….

  3. Wow, I’ll have to watch the whole thing now. I picked up the ustream at FA right at the end of his, thinking, “no way did he whomp @jimgroom.”

  4. AJ Wms says:

    I’ll have to go watch it now. Proud to say I knew St. Clair back in his TN days.

  5. Reverend says:

    @Zach,
    Thanks for the support!

    @Jeff,
    And who knew that was the weapon of choice?

    @Sue and AJ Wms,

    It was very, very ugly. I even cried UNCLE!

  6. John says:

    As I have said elsewhere, I am merely happy to bask in the (post-apocalyptic) glow that is the Reverend!

  7. Dude, you’d better be coming back with a vengeance next year. I was hoping for a last-minute surge (perhaps with rss cannons blazing?!) but alas it was not to be. That said, the whole debate was utterly entertaining and I think both John and you did an amazing job.

  8. So is there some kind of prize-fight championship belt John now gets to wear around campus until next year? Just askin, cause that’d be hilarious.

  9. Steven Egan says:

    Hey Jim, I’d like to point out that one could legitimately call any system, even one using nothing but RSS, that a teacher uses to organize and manage a course could be called a CMS. Now I’ll go watch the smack down. 😛

  10. Gardner says:

    Milton? Milton?

    This I must see.

  11. Pingback: Sedans vs. Zombies : Online Learning

  12. I picked up on The Rev’s final sentence and was disappointed, thinking I was going to see merely a graceful concession from St. Clair, but the détournement (if I may butcher that theory from the get-go) he pulled off was masterly, only to wrap around at the end like a scorpion’s tail and sting just the same.

    Between this and the “Battle Royale”, I’m thinking that you’ve got yourself a new meme here, the academic fistfight! The notion of bringing the pain gets the people in their seats and allows the participants to throw decorum to the winds, but in all seriousness also pulls away some of the academic-speak cotton wool from the concepts.

    Weren’t there some artists who would fight with their art as perfomances? (And I’m not thinking of Andy Kaufman’s wrestling stunts, though there might be something there, too.)

  13. Cole says:

    I still think there is a perfect “Clown Joke” ending to this whole thing. I was so amazed with the whole thing — something that could never happen at my institution unfolded before my eyes. The pure comedy, passion, and messages displayed were magic. To both of you I say thank you.

  14. Reverend says:

    @John,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, leave me be, damn it! 🙂

    @Michael,
    I gladly concede the Burger King crown to John, he derserves it, and let there me no mistake that it gets heavy and annoying quick 🙂

    @Steven,
    There is much in a name and its connotations, and there is where we need to be careful. A re-imagination demands a re-naming.

    @Gardner,
    I missed the Milton quote, where is it?

    @Trip,
    I absolutely like the idea of presentations as a form of performance, and I think that having a bit of fun while opening up these issues is enjoyable for everyone involved. I also think a little bit of the meme/participatory culture is finding its way into talking about these technologies in physical space. I like the Andy Kaufman reference, because he is a big inspiration, though I started seeing this with folks like Alan Levine, D’Arcy Norman, Gardner Campbell, and Brian Lamb. They showed me that making this stuff engaging, fun, and entertaining is key, though I have to admit I had no juice for the debate, John brought it all in a big way, and I thank him for that.

    @Cole,
    The St Clair clown joke may have been the funniest bit of an absolutely hysterical evening. Not sure I laughed that hard for that long in a while, you were an amazing presence at FA this year, so thank you!

  15. They also serve who only stand and wait. – On His Blindness, Milton

  16. I thought that line was from P.D.Q. Bach’s “Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice”.

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