What's the least academic thing you've managed to get into a Serious Academic Paper or Presentation?

I know there’s a lot of university graduates and staff on the boards here, who in their time will have written a number of Serious Academic Papers or made Serious Academic Presentations as part of their studies.

So, what’s the least academic (ie non-serious) thing you’ve managed to (successfully) work into your paper or presentation?

Among other things, I’ve managed to quote Plan Nine From Outer Space in a research paper on the future of blogging, and incorporated LOLcats into academic presentations on various journalism subjects.

What about you?

I sneaked some tasteless racist jokes into my Ph. D. dissertation.

I gave a reference to Dorothy Sayers’s “Nine Taylors” as a citation to justify my (utterly obvious) claim that every permutation is a composite of transpositions. The story is based on bell-ringing in which all 360,000 (approximately) permutations of nine bells is rung, just transposing two at a time.

A book I coauthored describes how to avoid the Russell paradox and the like using the Zermelo-Frankel axioms. It finishes with the sentence, “This prophylaxis guarantees safe sets.” Factually true, of course.

Last summer, I gave an entire oral presentation on the bitter history between the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees–from the perspective of a Rangers fan.

I was supposed to be demonstrating the use of narrative pedagogy in a class about nursing education. I’m not sure if I accomplished that, but I passed with flying colors.

I based my master’s thesis on Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Please tells us there’s some context that this makes sense in.

Several years ago, I volunteered to give a presentation at my company’s users’ group meeting. The guy who was organizing it sent out an e-mail to all the presenters asking us to write short intros of ourselves. I’d never written an introduction before, so I sent him one that said I’d been raised by wolves.

Didn’t think he’d actually use it.

Wikipedia cites in a couple research papers. To be fair, that professor specified in advance that they would be ok. He was cool, didn’t give a shit about anything, but I didn’t learn much.

Tasteless racist jokes don’t belong in a dissertation?

I adapted a story into a play for my Ph. D. in creative writing, and part of the dissertation was that play. In it, I invented a character who behaved obnoxiously so I had to find some crude, bigoted humor to put into his mouth, so I started with the black guy who found himself at the gates of heaven talking to Saint Peter…

I give courses in industry, mostly about heat treatment and heat transfer. I’ve sneaked full frontal nudity into a 270 page book.

One of my on-going projects compares the lifestyle and reputation of medieval ‘guitar’ players (cittern, citole, etc; I don’t go quite as late as lute) with that of their 20th century rock and roll brethren. I’ve given several papers on the topic, including one at a British Museum symposium a couple years back. Everyone else were proper musicologists and some really venerable academics, but they did get a kick out of my use of the footage of Keith Richards cold-cocking a fan with a guitar.

I published an article that made references to a couple episodes of The Mighty Boosh, one of David Mitchell’s appearances on QI, and the episode of *Rex the Runt *about Johnny Saveloy.

I suppose because I do a lot of writing on rock and roll, though, that all sorts of nutty pop culture refs appears in my papers – there is actually the Popular Culture Association which holds an annual national conference in the US every year as well as numerous regional ones.

I used to have to write a letter of explanation for library purchases (why the particular item had academic merit); the one I wrote for the Partridge Family dvds is apparently the stuff of legend.

I do also write on ancient history, and have included numerous pop culture references in those works as well, but again, one of my areas of interest in classical reception in modern culture (especially film and TV), so it’s inevitable.

I had to give a graduate business school presentation of a business idea and plan, and the sample company I used in the slides for the presentation was “Virtucon”, which was Dr. Evil / Number 2’s company that made volatile chemicals, and little models of factories.

I went the whole nine yards- I found a screenshot of the logo, I listed the directors as Douglas Evil, Scott Evil and Frau Farbissima, and listed their products, etc…
Nobody f**king got it… not a chuckle, not a smile, nothing. I made an A, but I was really pretty annoyed that nobody got the joke.

I fabricated a school of literary criticism from Croatia, and then referred to the fictional adherents of that school and their theories, which were primarily centered in diegeses of the old Leave it to Beaver TV show. I think that’s why I got a B on that paper, but I never got it back to see.

We team-produced a sample consulting proposal for a graduate level course. The name of our firm: Day Laitner Dahler Shortt PC. Say it kinda fast.

I once titled a law school paper “David Souter: A Case Study in Presidential Surprise, Or, Hackett! The Musical.”


I have published a serious academic paper with the title “Zombie Killer”.

I wrote one of the essays for my Social Theory comprehensive exam on the episode of Seinfeld that features repeated use of the line, “These pretzels are making me thirsty!” I inserted links to youtube clips and everything. It’s amazing what seems like a good idea at 4:00am.

My ex wrote his dissertation on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Well, no I think it was something about the occult and/or secret societies or something, I was never quite sure. But there were lots of Buffy references in there.

But his Ph.D. is in Performance Studies, so all you hard sciences folks may not consider that a Serious Academic Paper. :smiley:

Near miss: I submitted an abstract for a scientific meeting last year. I went ahead and designed the poster as well, assuming that they wouldn’t reject an abstract at a semi-obscure meeting. The results section of my beautiful poster had five bullet points: the first started with the letter “K,” the second with “E,” the third with “S,” the fourth with “H,” and the fifth with “A.” It was very subtle, but if anyone had noticed it, they’d know I’m a big Ke$ha fan.

Unfortunately the abstract did get rejected and the poster never got printed. The funny thing is that I submitted the same material as a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal and it got accepted. The paper doesn’t have the KESHA section, though. :frowning:

Until I hit journalism, I expected the you to be talking about presentations a library conferences, though they’re starting to fall out of favor.

I’m currently co-authoring a paper. I keep inserting Buffy references, but my co-author keeps taking them out. I just want to get ONE by him…