Things I learned watching The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Tryouts
Yes, CMT has this reality show where they follow the auditions.
Yes, I'm watching it.
Yes, I'm working with the tv on in the background.
It inspires me to do science, unlike the Renuzit commercial they keep running where one woman posits a scientific hypothesis for how the Renuzit pearls work, and her friend says "I think they're pretty."
Score one for reverse psychology, and one for Renuzit for having a woman with a scientific hypothesis, but minus one for the dippy friend.
It's fascinating because out of 1000 girls in the first audition group, they've narrowed it down to about 40 on the episode I'm watching now.
While I'm watching this, much as I'm disgusted by them telling girls with 16% body fat that they need to lose weight (!!!), in some ways it seems a lot more sane than the way we currently choose faculty in the academic sciences.
Yes, I am making an analogy here, however far-fetched it may sound to compare these two, bear with me for a moment.
Imagine, if you will, what auditions for faculty positions would look like.
Candidates would give talks, serve on fake committees, edit manuscripts, advise fake students, draft aims for grants under time limitations, etc.
Instead of making decisions based on a resume and a 1-2 day interview, or two, imagine if there were a month or two of tryouts. A kind of faculty position bootcamp, if you will.
Imagine if there were no tenure, and existing faculty had to try out again every few years to show they can still compete with the younger candidates.
Imagine if search committees put as much time into choosing new faculty as these people put into choosing new cheerleaders.
Imagine if they actually gave feedback along the way and then gave candidates time to try to address any deficiencies!
Admittedly there's probably more money in football than there is in healthcare research in this country.
Just think about that for a minute. I could be wrong, of course, and if you have numbers feel free to write in with them. But when you think about it, some of the schools in the US have more money in football than most third world countries have for their entire healthcare budget.
Maybe that's why these cheerleaders seem to put such an emphasis on high standards, while academic science pretends like it's not all that important who gets hired.