So, if you're an academic, you can try winning your fame and fortune by writing great books, doing great research, and coming up with grand new ideas. Or you can go another route:
Yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call in my office from a very cheerful man named Craig, representing an outfit called "Next Entertainment". Craig is in charge of casting the latest reality show -- a new version of Gilligan's Island. Yes, there is a website for prospective competitors. The idea is to find authentic versions of the characters from the original 1960s TV show; they want a "real-life skipper, first mate, millionaire couple, movie star, professor and Kansas farm girl" for what will be a "Survivor-style" show set on a small island in the Pacific. Well, Craig has apparently been put in charge of hunting down "real" Los Angeles-area college professors, and he found me through Rate my Professors and this blog. He urged me to come in to his company's Sherman Oaks offices for a video interview.
The superficiality factor was high: Craig asked if the pictures he found on my blog were accurate, how tall I was, and so forth. More sleazily, he asked if I was married, and was pleased when I said no. When I said I had a girlfriend, he said "Well, that's okay." One wonders.
I can see why they chose him though. He certainly looks the part. And his student comments included things like this:
damn, not only is he SO ATTRACTIVE, but he's very knowledgable, passionate, an EXCELLENT lecturer, entertaining, great storyteller, fair, just all around excellent professor. i DEFINITELY recommend his class. if i were 15 yrs older...rowl.