Professor Howard John Hall
September 29, 2006 6:23 PM   Subscribe

John Hall of the University of Florida delivers a praiseworthy lecture. Part One, Part Two.
posted by rxrfrx (31 comments total)
[via BB]. Apparently the dude was sacked after this lecture, and it's all over the internets as "stoned professor" or "baked professor." Fair enough, I guess, but I've had a couple professors (one history, one philosophy) who delivered their entire courses in this manner.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:26 PM on September 29, 2006

i saw this the other day as well. is there any real indication besides his behavior that he was high on something illegal?
posted by Kifer85 at 6:57 PM on September 29, 2006

You know what would be great? Some, like, answers.

Who is John Hall? What does he have to say about all this? Seriously, why was he canned? Did he have tenure? Has he published? If so, what are his articles?

Los MeFios Junior Detectives might well be able to address these issues.
posted by mwhybark at 7:07 PM on September 29, 2006

his page at

According to boingboing, the next week featured a new prof [aspx] taking over for the rest of the year.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:05 PM on September 29, 2006

I understand the purpose of tenure, and I understand that there are reasons why it was instituted. But I have long been of the opinion that Academia (and students) were more harmed than helped by it.

For some, tenure protects them and permits them to explore unpopular concepts.

For too many, tenure becomes sinecure.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:12 PM on September 29, 2006

tenure becomes sinecure

heh. From the listings of my olde department, over half the people are still there, 20 years on. I find this a parlous state of affairs.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:17 PM on September 29, 2006

It looks like he's not a professor, just a lecturer.
posted by diftb at 8:28 PM on September 29, 2006

How can I get the audio? Must have audio.
posted by phrontist at 8:29 PM on September 29, 2006

making my alma mater proud. I wish half the prof's I had there were this interesting.
posted by photoslob at 8:31 PM on September 29, 2006

It must be College Lecturers Living the Dream week on the net. Here's another one striking a blow for all that's decent.
posted by Iridic at 8:45 PM on September 29, 2006

Can't wait til we hear the baked prof's side of the story. Be sure to get to the 13:50 mark in the first clip; I had some flaky profs in college, but this guy's way beyond sober. At first I sorta liked him - it's alternately cute and infuriating, over and over again - but catch him self-destructing at around 9:00 into the 2nd clip; it's painful. I know I'd be really annoyed if I had to sit in that class and listen to that rambling self-absorbed bullshit for more than 5 minutes, and he goes on and on, giggling at himself, with PowerPoint, and *then* dumps an educational film on them, and *then* after all that tries to get them to listen to a serious talk about the evolution of management thought. Jesus. Those poor kids. The fact that he's also spreading urban legends is almost beside the point. This is just plain awful stuff, made a hundred times worse for the fuel it adds to the "lefty college profs are warping young minds" fire.
posted by mediareport at 9:15 PM on September 29, 2006

I couldn't get past 3 minutes. It was just like college again. And I paid for it last time. Ugh.
posted by geekhorde at 11:56 PM on September 29, 2006

And this goes on for 35 minutes? And then then there's a part two! Oh my.
posted by yeti at 1:57 AM on September 30, 2006

Whoops, my fault. Lecturer, not professor. That explains the rapid firing.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:31 AM on September 30, 2006

The guy didn't have tenure. In fact, tenure is so hard to get that it could protect students from guys like this.
posted by grouse at 5:42 AM on September 30, 2006

The guy didn't have tenure. In fact, tenure is so hard to get that it could protect students from guys like this.

Except that lecturers are paid so much less than professors that more and more universities are using adjuncts and contract lecturers to replace professors in teaching, especially in beginning classes.

Man, his medieval history is so messed, it's all based on urban legends about the origin of the middle finger/two fingered salute.

The cell phone guy - who is young enough to be a TA - that was just brilliant. No fuss, no freaking out - just eliminated the problem and kept going. I think if I had been there, I might have applauded. Except that would have disrupted the class.
posted by jb at 6:12 AM on September 30, 2006

Damn, all the really interesting stuff happens after I leave the school. On the other hand I'm also glad I'm not around to read the Alligator's coverage of this.
posted by casarkos at 8:29 AM on September 30, 2006

Man, you guys really hate tenure, huh? I'm sure you'll be rubbing your hands with glee once the Prez uses his new power to waive habeas by declaring critical speech to constitute material support.

See you on the barricades.
posted by mwhybark at 10:32 AM on September 30, 2006

As a former student of Hall's, I find the whole thing just sad. I graduated several years ago, and there was always a rumor going around that he was an alcoholic. Back then, his lectures were actually interesting, and he used to pepper otherwise boring lectures with his riduclous stories, as opposed to this upsidedown version.

I just feel sorry for him, with a bit of disgust for making UF look like a joke. He is a really sweet man, and it's a shame that his problems are now all over the internet.
posted by gatorae at 11:21 AM on September 30, 2006

I get the impression something is really eating him. His laughs sound kind of bitter to me. And he makes the blow my brains out with a gun finger gesture more than a couple of times.
posted by Clock Attention Issues at 12:57 PM on September 30, 2006

If it's "all over the internets," who broke this "story"?

"Apparently the dude was sacked after this lecture" and "It appears from the content of this video," etc. ad nauseum

I love how junior journalists love to use words like "apparently." With "appears" they can write any slightly plausible conjecture. It's so much easier than taking the simple step of learning the truth or even asking the proper people simple questions.

rxrfrx, you may be using "apparently" only because of boingboing, but did you check to see if anyone published any confirmed facts before you posted it here? If you did, could you link to that site?

By the way, that boingboing entry was slightly edited after the original post. "Apparently" Jardin wanted to backpedal a bit.
posted by ?! at 2:19 PM on September 30, 2006

From an actual journalist...

A faculty member at the University of Florida has been placed on administrative leave following the release of a video that shows him behaving erratically while teaching.
Associate Dean Andy McCollough said Hall's suspension was not tied to complaints received by students, and that Hall had been the recipient of teaching awards since he joined UF's faculty in 1998. "No student came to me and said something's wrong," he said. "I had the opportunity to observe these particular classes, and I was concerned about what I observed."
I wonder what alerted him to the need to "observe" those classes?
posted by ?! at 5:39 PM on October 1, 2006

Mixed medication excuse in 3...2...
posted by mediareport at 5:48 PM on October 1, 2006

Sorry, I mixed my medications.
posted by found missing at 5:50 PM on October 1, 2006

Fake interrobang: I was trying to say that although "apparently" he was fired and it's been all over the internet as "stoned professor," I didn't find anything too objectionable in his lecture, and kind of liked it.

And what did alert him to observe the classes? I don't get it.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:08 AM on October 2, 2006

Three "r"s, two "x"s and an f: Fake? I'll assure you I'm the real thing.

My point was less about you and more about Jardin. I think it's a sad state when she made the original post without bothering to check on the facts. Instead, she peppered the entry with words like "appears."

At the time she reported the story had the professor been placed on leave? (That is different than "fired.") Before her follow-up did she attempt to learn any facts about the case? Her entries were rife with speculation and changed at least once without the expected "this post has been changed" disclaimer.

My point about the lead in the reporter's story was he merely reported what he saw without speculation. "Behaving erratically" simply reports what was seen, while "baked" was an unfounded opinion.

What do you think alerted the official to observe the class?
posted by ?! at 6:32 AM on October 2, 2006

In boingboing today a reader writes that he is in the school and was told by his professor that Mr. Hall had been "reinstated to lecturing" after suffering from a medical condition. The university thought he was ready, but now they have decided he was not.
The reason that this hasn't been in any press is because the media has rightfully been respectful in its treatment of someone who really needs medical help.
Of course, "media" does not include boingboing.
posted by ?! at 12:19 PM on October 2, 2006

OK, I get it, you don't like boingboing.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:07 PM on October 2, 2006

He may be overdoing it here, but ?! does have a point about BB's fairly common habit of posting rumors without even an attempt at verification. Other folks have discussed it elsewhere for years now. "Post the breathless initial reports and clean up after yourself later" is part of BB's style, though, and while some folks have argued it sets a bad example for bloggers from a pretty high-profile position, it's obvious it's not going to change any time soon. ?! may want to let it go, and rest assured lots of other folks have noticed the problem.
posted by mediareport at 8:01 PM on October 2, 2006

That said, "medical condition" still makes me think "pot-smoking problem."
posted by mediareport at 8:04 PM on October 2, 2006

Oh, I just figured I was the only one left in the thread. I was adding information to the topic instead of making snarky comments. But thanks for stopping by.

And I do like boingboing. I read it everyday. I also like many other sites, newspapers, baseball, and even a couple of television shows. And if I'm in a discussion about any of them I don't ignore their faults -- especially when those faults are on topic. Nothing personal.

Mediareport: I agree, some boingboing writers have a "fairly common habit of posting rumors without even an attempt at verification." I know others have noticed the issue. I agree it's not going to change anytime soon. But that's a reason to ignore it?
posted by ?! at 9:54 PM on October 2, 2006

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