Joseph Heller’s ‘unfilmable’ novel, Catch-22, is being serialised on television at the moment. As you will probably know, it is a war story about the absurdities imposed on airmen by deranged commanders. The catch-22 is the cruel inverted logic that deems airmen fit to fly exactly because they understand the insanity of doing so: to continue flying is insanity, but to declare oneself unfit is to prove fitness. Sane or crazy, there is no escape.

Everyone has heard of the story, even if not everyone has read the book. What fewer people know is that Heller wrote a subsequent novel, Something Happened, about the same irrationality found in peacetime autocratic corporations. Kingston employees will recognise this corporate derangement in the behaviour and proclamations of management over the last few years. The particularly mad ideas — forcing grade 10s to reapply for their jobs, an HR director believing he understands teaching better than academic staff, amongst others — may not be a threat to life but they are a threat to livelihoods.

What perhaps is different is that some of these managers have gone, most recently Colin Rhodes for alleged turpitudinous misconduct, and further back that financial miscreant McQuillan. The original Kingston autocrat, Weasel Weinberg, was eventually rumbled. What doesn’t change is that all these corporate despots are replaced by someone equally tyrannical who exercises equally demented logic. Katch-22 shifts from one perverse position to another but is always crazy. K is for Kingston, also for Kafka.

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5 Responses to Katch-22

  1. Muckraker says:

    Two bits of hot gossip direct from the crisis frontline. Longtime admin staff who have become completely fed up say SLT managers spend too much time slagging each other off outside meetings, sometimes even within earshot of more junior staff. SLT members will also do anything to protect their own necks, and the word is Spiersy is only too happy to let this happen and watch them fight it out. All he really cares about is bowing down to the Board of Governors, especially its Chair. Second, module leaders in fine art, architecture, etc at KP think the new interim Dean to replace Rhodesy in KSA is a model ‘yes’ woman who will be powerless, will do whatever others on SLT want, and will not be able to defend KSA in the SLT back-stabbing scrum. The other Deans have allegedly claimed they’ve been ‘subsidising’ KSA for too long (which is a bit rich given all the money being poured by KU into the new Town House and now the Rose again, all approved by the SLT and the Board). Rhodesy was just the first scalp and made it easier for them due to his behaviour. SLT and the Board want more blood. Hence the plan to axe 30 KSA staff. Good here, isn’t it?

  2. DownThePan says:

    Have you seen this?
    The London School of Business and Management, pretentiously rebranded as the Bloomsbury Institute has had its access to student loans removed due to poor quality teaching. If KU continues down its current route it may well suffer the same fate.

  3. Rhodes Must Fall says:

    Kingston’s own Katch-22 version of Catch-22 may be that if you have done nothing wrong then charges will be trumped up against you either to push you out of your job or from sheer vindictiveness (because we can …). If you have done something wrong then and you happen to be in management then your fellow crooks will close ranks around you. If one goes down they all do – one cast adrift knows where the bodies are buried and can tell tales. Tales such as ones about pocketing central funds intended to cover for maternity leave whilst dumping the absent person’s work on other hard-pressed staff.

    The probable sexual exploitation by Moron Worthless of a subordinate is tolerated without even an internal enquiry let alone referral to the police, so far as we know. Similarly, the alleged unwanted attentions being offered to staff/students by Rhodes to Nowhere were ignored until his incompetence at managing the finances of the School finally became apparent. Ditto the alleged embezzlement of £200,000 by former ‘senior manager’ Sleazy McQueasey – a case for having one’s collar felt by some of Her Majesty’s finest if ever there was one. And outrageous comments made to students by members of the psychology department resulted not in punishment but promotion:


    Allegations were made about a certain staff member including that he blackmailed a former student then a postgraduate elsewhere into including his name on her publications. Allegations of inappropriate touch or attentions were directed at the same individual who was also prepared to interview someone he was involved with for a position in the department. These allegations and claims were brought to the attention of management but no action was taken (surprise!). Is the university an organisation like the BBC in which certain individuals believe themselves to be invulnerable as long as they can bully or intimidate those around them into keeping their mouths shut? Katch-22 may be the key to keeping their plane in the air.

    • Garmon Awfulshirts says:

      ‘…like the BBC..?’.

      Infuriating bloody licence fee. Too many battenbergs can lower your empathy levels, I’m told. Bloody air tax! Why should I pay for your bloody air? You’re the one exhaling it.

  4. #MeToo says:

    Another one bites the dust… LOL!

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