|The Concert for Whatamess
May 22, 2014
Ravi Shankar is in jail.
No, not Ravi Shankar, famous sitarist, Beatles' friend, and 60's mystical musician. Ravi Shankar, English faculty member at Central Connecticut State. Ravi Shankar, English faculty member at Central Connecticut State recently promoted to full professor . . . while in jail.
Yes, while in jail, although in the defense of Central Connecticut's President, Jack Miller, he had not been briefed of such developments: "At the time of the board action, I was not aware that Professor Shankar has been incarcerated," asserts Miller. Why would a President not be informed of a key member of his core faculty "serving a two-week segment of a 90-day 'pre-trial confinement.' . . . serving the 90-day term in increments when available to do so during the past year." Wouldn't you want to know that if you ran a university? I'd want to know that if one of my grounds' crew was doing so, let alone one of my faculty members.
What was Shankar's crime? Well, let's be more specific with the question: what was Shankar's crime this time?
- "Violation of probation charges for giving a false statement in the second-degree and for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol."
This crime stemming from a series of crimes over the past few years.
- "Credit card fraud case related to the purchase of more than $20,000 worth of tickets to a soccer game."
- Striking "another car while allegedly driving drunk."
- "Driving with a suspended license."
Where is the accountability? This dude shouldn't be up for promotion from associate professor to full professor, he should be up for promotion from prison laundry assistant to prison laundry head (so to speak).
Good old academia! I know this is an isolated instance, but it will serve as another valid opening for anyone who wants to say that our antiquated systems are out of touch with reality. I could vent and rant more, but I would rather strike a different chord.
Since Shankar is also a poet, I think he needs to recruit some musicians to stage a fund-raising concert to help him out. With George Harrison unfortunately dead, I think he needs to turn to Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam to help organize The Concert for Whatamess.
Many of the musicians who played Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh are thankfully still alive and merely need to alter some of their songs minimally to meet this new concern:
Ringo Starr "Promotion: It Don't Come Easy"
Billy Preston "Tenure: That's The Way God Planned It."
Bob Dylan "It Takes a Lot to Teach, It Takes a Train to (Publish or) Die"; "Mr. Promotion Man."
Meanwhile, George Harrison's talented son, Dhani Harrison, could play some of his dad's key songs:
"While My C.V. Gently Weeps"
"Here Comes Addiction" (After all someone needs to cast his problems in a sympathetic light)
"My Sweet (T & P) Board"
And since we really need to update this sucker to bring in the kids who would know none of these guys:
Kanye West "All of the Cite(tation)s"
Katy Perry "I Missed a Goal" (Why should his personal life affect his professional objectives?)
Jay Z "Hard Knock Career"
Radiohead "Paranoid of Hemorrhoids" (Someone has to sing about how terrible it must be to be locked up with all of those brutal thugs.)
It could be quite a moving concert. I'm sure Ravi has written all sorts of original poetry on jailhouse walls during these short stints of incarceration that would tell his story so well. Let's just hope he isn't adding them to his publications list.