This morning, TheBlaze reported the story of a Columbia University professor, Emlyn Hughes, who stripped down to nothing but his boxer shorts during the first lecture of his “Frontiers of Science” course.
The class, apparently part of Columbia’s core curriculum, is a lesson in quantum mechanics, and Hughes chose to begin the semester by stripping down to his underwear to change outfits in front of his class, while footage of the September 11 attacks, Adolf Hitler, North Korea, and Saddam Hussein rolled on the projector behind him, and Lil’ Wayne’s Drop It Like It’s Hot played in the background.
The video below captures the event (WARNING: language may be explicit):
The story has become somewhat of a firestorm across the web, with many making a mockery of the event and others questioning why an Ivy League institution that carries a price tag as hefty as Columbia’s ($22,000 a semester) would allow such bizarre behavior. But on radio this morning, Glenn had a surprisingly different take on the incident.
“Now there is a story up on TheBlaze, and this one is going to be counterintuitive. You're going to think that you know exactly where I stand on this,” Glenn said. “In fact, I'm going to have Stu and Pat explain what's happening… and then I'll give you my opinion on this, and I think I know exactly why it's happening. If you read the story, I think you'll be outraged and you'll say this is why I am never sending my kid to an Ivy League school.”
Immediately following the bizarre presentation, Professor Hughes explained his reasoning to the students:
HUGHES: In order to learn quantum mechanics, you have to strip to your raw, erase all the garbage from your brain and start over again. Quantum mechanics, nothing you have learned in your life up to now is in any way – I’ll prepare you for this – because everything you ever do in your everyday life is totally opposite to what you're going to learn in quantum mechanics. And so I've been tasked with the impossible challenge of having to teach you quantum mechanics in one hour what basically the most brilliant minds, Einstein and so on couldn't figure out working on it their whole life.
“I think, and this will come as a surprise, if you don't really read the story or if you don't understand quantum mechanics – and I barely do – I can't believe I'm depending on a professor that is stipulated down to his underwear at an Ivy League university, but I believe this guy may be genius in his approach,” Glenn said. “Trying to get people to understand the insane in today's world, with the way colleges are now, and the way college students are now, this may have been the best approach to get their attention.”
“I completely – and I can't believe I'm saying this because I don't support very many people on college campuses in their teachings, especially when they're in their underpants, but from what I know and what I think happened here, I think the guy's a genius and I think based on what I know, I support him,” he continued. “This is a teacher or a professor that is thinking out of the box, which exactly you have to do. But he is thinking out of the box and I think he's remarkable and brave because somebody looking in from the outside, they're not going to understand it.”
It is safe to say that if this guy plans on showing up to every lecture in his boxer briefs, his teaching style may be cause for concern, but for the first day of a very abstract class, this professor may have taken the perfect approach.
“If he's teaching in his underwear every day, that's a different story,” Glenn said. “But if he is – I mean, if this is the way he introduced it, I think it's a great introduction. I mean, not the one I would have selected myself and, you know, I would – I would keep my eye – if I were a parent, I'd keep my eye on this professor, but…”
“If you tried to teach a class in your underwear, there would be no students the next time,” Stu joked.
From there, the conversation quickly devolved into what the ramifications would be if, say, Glenn showed up to teach a class in his underwear.
“You haven't seen me in my underwear,” Glenn responded. “You don't know how ripped I am.”
Considering Glenn’s penchant for Twinkies and Devil Dogs, only in an alternate universe could a “ripped” physique be possible.
“That one of the possibilities in an alternate universe,” Pat quipped, “you are incredibly ripped.”
“In another universe,” Glenn concluded, “I'm working out.”