FUNNY WOMEN: I’m an Audience Member at this Panel Event, and I Have More of a Comment than a Question


Good evening, Esteemed Panelists.

What I have to say is more of a comment than a question.

Before I begin, and while I continue formulating my thoughts, I would like to express my thanks, as well as my appreciation, and of course my gratitude, to all of the panelists. I think I speak for the entire audience, and society at large, when I say that I am indebted to you for your contributions to the discourse.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most thought-provoking panels I’ve attended all week.

Please excuse me, for I have not yet introduced myself. You will likely appreciate my appreciation more if you know details about me, so I’ll share now. My name is Kenneth P. Wise. That’s K-E-N-N-E-T-H P. W-I-S-E. I am a professional multi-hyphenate. People have referred to me as a “quadruple threat” when I have asked.

As an interdisciplinary scholar, my research interests lie in the intellectual space at the intersection of sociology, anthropology, philosophy, rhetoric, linguistics, soliloquies, leisure studies, and volcanoes. I also work the academic panel circuit, keeping up with the latest scholarship in every field and offering my unique perspective.

Many of the points raised tonight remind me of interesting things about me. One of the panelists described how the field is experiencing a “thought renaissance.” I once considered attending a Renaissance Fair, and then I thought, “No.” Also, you have each won numerous prestigious prizes. Almost identically, I self-nominate for awards frequently.

I won’t take too long describing my skills, which are endorsed by as many as four peer reviewers on LinkedIn. I’ll skip over my talents and areas of expertise for the sake of time, which is just a construct. Were it not a construct, I would have thanked you for your time at the beginning. It is fascinating how we experience time as linear, while it actually is not. This is something I’ve given a lot of thought to over these past few seconds as I have simultaneously verbalized these thoughts. In fact, this would be a wonderful topic for a future colloquium.

I hear some muttering in the audience, and I’m sure I know why–they’re wondering when I’m going to circle back to the original Latin meaning of “colloquium.” All in good, nonlinear time, my friends!

The first panelist said something tonight that really interested me. “The relationship between research, policy, and practice must be synergistic.” I just quoted it back to you because I wanted to see how it felt coming out of my mouth. The verdict: it felt good!

There is another quotation tonight that I found to be especially profound. The quotation, as I recall, was, “The verdict: it felt good!” You know, as a society we tend to associate verdicts with the concepts of guilt and innocence. Let us decide, here and now, to declare verdicts not only in courtrooms, but also in intellectual discussions like the one I’m having now.

Ah, I see the moderator gesticulating at me. These concepts can be quite exciting!

I see surprised looks on the panelists’ faces. You must be curious as to why I am hunched over the microphone. It is because I am unable to adjust it and therefore deem it broken beyond repair. Which I will describe in more detail in the feedback form I expect to receive after the event. If there is no feedback form, then I will email everyone my feedback individually.

Feedback is a gift.

Tonight, it appeared as though each panelist prepared answers to the moderator’s questions. At other colloquiums, speakers often respond in a way that feels more “off the cuff.” You might wish to free your minds a bit more.

I will close by listing a few upcoming panels where I will be an audience commentator. Tomorrow afternoon, you can catch me commenting at “The Future of Algorithms, Cryptocurrency, and Forestry,” and in the evening I’ll be at “Birds Are Dinosaurs, but Were Dinosaurs Birds?: A Discussion Between Paleontologists and Ornithologists,” and after that, I plan to share my expertise at “Perimenopause: Signs and Symptoms of Early Onset.”

To everybody else here tonight, I will now take your questions.

Rumpus original art by Natalie Peeples

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Sarah Garfinkel is a humor writer and educator. Her writing appears in's Daily Shouts, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and Electric Literature. Sarah is an assistant editor of the Funny Women column. Read her work at More from this author →