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—get it? Oh, never mind. But I just had to note that even a relatively small conference like the third Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses doesn’t happen without a LOT of advance planning, hard work, and organization, chronicled here by philosophy professor Kevin Durand of Henderson State U. and his band of dedicated and reliable volunteers (apparently in some cases “volunteer” was a term to be applied loosely). Anyone thinking about hosting an academic conference can learn from him:

It’s unclear where Slayage 4 is going to be. At least two universities have made mention that they are interested. Here’s my advice to them (I’ve given it directly, but I offer it here as well). Make d*** sure that you have a large, capable, and dedicated team of people. You can do the conference with a team of 10-15 people that you can absolutely depend on. You can also do it with 100 folks who will flake on you. But, it’s better to have that dedicated cadre of people. We had that and because of that, Slayage 3 worked.

Durand then goes on to put our type of pop-culture scholarship in its philosophical context, ably defending against the usual suspects who decry the decline in academic standards:

[T]he PR folks at Henderson . . .had gotten a call from the newspaper in Chattanooga, Tennessee asking how many tax payer dollars had been used on the conference. As the answer to that question is a big, fat ZERO, it was kinda fun to nip that in the bud. But, geez, people. Get a life. Let me point out that Plato was fond of the theater [but he] wasn’t fond of those who interpreted plays and the like without systematic and analytic thoroughness.

Thanks again to Prof. Durand and all who helped make this conference happen, both behind the scenes and behind the lecterns, and behind the pies.

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