The cost (he’s being paid $150K) and the bullshit factor of David Petreaus’ CUNY seminar are getting some attention. Here’s the course description:
In this interdisciplinary seminar, students will examine in depth and then synthesize the history and trends in diverse public policy topics with a view towards recommendations for America’s leadership role in the emerging global economy.
It sure sounds like a horseshit class, and it is pretty disgusting that Fallen Saint David is being paid the salary of multiple full-time adjuncts to shovel that shit. That said, am I the only one who figures that all politico-celebrity teaching works this way? I’ve always assumed that a course taught by a politician, retired CEO, or some other successful luminary is generally a set of gaseous platitudes, prepared by some underling, that has little relation to how the celebrity lecturer actually succeeded in life. And I also assumed that these celeb-scholars were paid an obscene amount of money for a small amount of prep and a couple of hours of “teaching” (read: yakking about whatever strikes their fancy) every week.
Probably the reason that these gigs persist is that everyone perceives some kind of benefit. The school gets publicity. Donors who give money targeted to pay the celebrity’s obscene salary get some face time and attention, and perhaps a favor down the road. And students, many of whom are probably gagging to get into the seminar, hope to make a connection with a powerful person that will launch them in a career after graduation. My guess is that most of these benefits are perceived rather than real, and I wonder if Petraeus has ruined this scam for the rest of his ilk.