"My employer, the University of Houston, has been in the news: after much hemming and hawing, UH confessed it has forked over $135,000 (as well as $20,000 to the agency representing him) to the actor Matthew McConaughey to speak at next week’s graduation.
"Still, I cannot help but wonder if the money could have been spent otherwise. Given that our university advertises itself as the House That Innovation Built, why not use the honorarium as seed money for a time machine?
"being a liberal arts professor has taught me a bit more about the mechanics of the Western tradition, the great conversation, the classical canon -- or whatever label you want to slap on the great books I have taught for more than twenty-five years.
"What if we could bundle a few of these figures into our machine and bring them to our stadium to speak? While our engineers are working out the kinks -- don’t forget the airbags! -- here are a few previews"
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