Written by Susan Harlan at McSweeney’s.
A one-year planning grant
To establish the Eudaimonia Institute
For the Study of Human Flourishing
Are away for the summer
So maybe you won’t notice.
“Eudaimonia” is Greek for “This university
Is run by corporate stooges
And is doomed.”
The term comes from Aristotle,
Which immediately legitimates the Institute
As totally not a joke.
We will be spending actual, real,
Non-Monopoly money to study “wellbeing,”
Which was a major interest of Aristotle’s
And central to his seminal work The Poetics.
The nature of #wellbeing is
Not yet fully understood,
But our initial research suggests
That it has something to do with
Yoga at sunset, baby koalas, and
Rooms filled with gold coins.
We seek to understand
The meaning of this term
And, in all likelihood,
To actually publish papers
On the subject
On our blog called
Education is Fine,
But Money Is Great.
James Smith, the Presidential Chair
In Business Ethics,
Will serve as
Executive Director of the Institute
And will continue to serve
As Executive Director of
The university’s Named After A Bank Center
For the Study of Capitalism,
Where students do not read
Whole, complete ancient Greek texts
But only the most important words from them.
The Institute will also bring together
Professionals from across the university
Who believe that capitalism contributes
Meaningfully to a humane and just society.
Which it does.
It says so right there on the website
Of our Named After A Bank Center
For the Study of Capitalism.
Smith is an obvious choice for this exciting role
As he knows a lot about capitalism
And participates in it regularly.
Please direct any questions you may have
About capitalism or wellbeing –
Including questions about the
Raise of $257 per month that
You received with tenure –
To him, and he will respond
When he returns from Vail.
He will be paid a salary commensurate with
And you will continue to receive
Annual letters from your dean and provost
Reminding you that you are valued
And lucky to get any raise at all
In the current financial climate,
Particularly as the university generously
Offers you benefits, too.
Thank you, and we wish you
All the best from
The Institute for the Willful Misreading