As part of the necessary steps to achieving proper bourgeoisiedom, I was listening to the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me podcast on my iPhone while maintaining various yoga positions this past weekend, when something besides the usual Carl Kasell witticisms caught my attention: Rice University was mentioned in the Bluff the Listener segment. However, anyone who knows anything about Rice could have easily told you that the Rice story, which was about an academic study of Lindsay Lohan, was false. Can you find the giveaway?
Mr. LUKE BURBANK (Host, “Too Beautiful to Live”): Facing its worst budget shortfall in nearly 100 years, Rice University in Houston recently made the controversial decision to only fund research projects that involved multiple departments. At first we were worried we wouldn’t find a subject that raised research questions throughout multiple academic disciplines, said PhD candidate Rick Cupfner(ph). But then it came to us, something, or should I say someone, who mystified literally everyone here at the university and hence, the study of Lohanology was born.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. BURBANK: What began as a co-project between the Women’s Studies and Communications departments to study Lindsay Lohan has now grown to include the medical school, Department of Psychology and Linguistics Department.
Do you see the problem? Rice has neither a Communications department, nor a medical school! (Oof on the Med School reference. That hits a little close to home.) And to get technical, Rice does not have a Women’s study department either, but rather a “Center for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality.” Smooth move, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me. Time to hire some better fact checkers for your fictional segments. Obviously, this completely undermines the legitimacy of NPR’s entire news reporting operation.