The most awesome (fictional) supervisors...


I like my supervisor a lot. But imagine... what if you could have literally ANYONE as your supervisor? Living or dead, fictional or real, academic or not? Ideally, though, someone who is known in some capacity as a mentor or teacher. I present, for your perusal, some examples:

#1 Yoda
Typical supervision: standing on your head in the Dagoba swamp, trying to make your MacBook float using only THE FORCE.
Most likely to say: 'Refine your methodology, you must, or nonsense shall your introduction be!'

#2 Gandalf
Typical supervision: none, because he's buggered off to Minas Tirith on Shadowfax. Again.
Most likely to say: 'YOOOOOU SHALL NOT PASS!!! Unless you re-write Chapter 6.'

#3 Dumbledore
Typical supervision: communicates mainly via a Pensieve, and returns your drafts via owl. What's an email?
Most likely to say: 'You haven't yet cited my work on the Twelve Uses of Dragon Blood.'

Please plumb the depths of your pop-cultural and historical knowledge to suggest some more!


Haha, genius list Napoleon!

Who could I have, hmm...

#1 Richard Dawkins
Typical supervision: There is none. He's far too busy spreading the word of science to the masses, and periodically harassing religious groups whilst getting excited about cukoos.
Most likely to say: You have to let go of this childish need for approval from a deity. After all, I'm really rather busy.

#2 Tim Minchin
Typical supervision: Reporting experiments in perfect rhyme, preferably while offending your spouse.
Most likely to say: Sorry, I would have made that tutorial but I was too busy with my infallible, inflatable lab tech.


I would quite like Judith Butler (social philosopher and academic) to be my supervisor - I read a lot of her work and she is a bit of an academic goddess in my field, she has her own little groupies who follow her. She might irritate me a bit as well though - some of her work is a bit self-referential at times.

The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan - read a lot of his work as well and it can be quite difficult and inaccessible so would be better to have a conversation with him.

Slavoj Zizek - philosopher, very quirky.

Simon Cowell - think he would be good on the career progression front, and if I ever impressed him that would be a huge confidence boost!


Oooh what fun! :-)

I love Gandalf and Dumbledore, but I would immediately replace Yoda with the master of logic that is Spock.
Typical supervision: logically sound of course, but his tendency to point out the weaknesses in my work (all of which are merely the result of the human condition - not poor research you understand) might get old real quick.
Most likely to say: "Work long and prosper"... what else!

N.B. Regrettably, the Zachary Quinto version of Spock (yummy) would not make a very good supervisor for me. I fear I would spend more time on my make-up than my work in preparation for meetings.

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I'd have David Bowie, and he'd look all thoughtful like this: when we had supervisory meetings. Then after reading my stuff he'd sing this to me and we'd run off together to live on the moon, or similar space-like destination.

Either that or Roddy Frame, I'd like to ask where he got the inspiration for the lyrics of 'Somewhere in my Heart':

OOOoooooorrrrrrrr for my third PhD, when these two are finished, Oprah Winfrey because I think she may be the second coming, but just hasn't let on yet. I'd like to ask her about life the universe and everything. She'd probably franchise me as a mulitnational world aid type business, and that could be very fullfilling.

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Hey Natassia, I saw Judith Butler speak once and I wasn't too impressed, a bit up her own I thought. Although having said that, she was very good, but just not amazing, which is what I always expect when I see a big name. What a lot of pressure that must be.


How unlikely that you said David Bowie! I almost did - I was listening to Under Pressure at the time. I've been listening to Ashes to Ashes, Life on Mars, Space Oddity and Starman repeatedly recently. In fact, apart from being a fan of Labyrinth (ah sweet childhood), I've never really been interested in his music before, but all of a sudden I can't get enough of it. I can't believe all these years wasted!

Still, on balance, as a supervisor I don't think he's for me. Same problem as the Zachary Quinto version of Spock :-x

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======= Date Modified 04 Sep 2010 02:40:45 =======
He was my first love! AAaaaaahhhh treasured memories, I think it was this song and 'Be My Wife' that pulled me in head over heels, I still dream of our wedding day, we'd spend his last years together on some groovy space-craft.

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======= Date Modified 04 Sep 2010 09:47:18 =======
This thread means I now can't help thinking of flight of the conchords 'Frodo don't wear the ring'
and 'Bowie's in space' song

on that note, I would have Murray Hewitt as my supervisor. That way most of our meetings would be taking the register....'Present!' and I wouldn't have to explain why I hadn't done any work.


Dr. Manhatten. Definitely.

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Sneaks, I love it. That is exactly where we would go!