On-Campus Parody Lightens Up USF

Let’s hear it for Sgt. Mike Klingebiel, the University of South Florida’s police spokesman. Somebody finally stepped up and intentionally tried to be absurd — and maybe put things in perspective on the USF campus.

Sgt. Klingebiel did, of course, unhinge some of the perpetually uptight element with a satiric e-mail, but a lot of folks did get a laugh — even President Judy Genshaft, according to her spokesman.

After legitimately thanking USF personnel who gave to a benefit auction, Sgt. Klingebiel morphed into parody saying that unfortunately some stuff was sold by mistake. To wit: USF’s administration building and its contents, as well as the Legislature, the latter, in effect, poking fun at a farce. His e-mail also noted that once again no one wanted to buy the sterile Lifsey House, the official presidential residence that is less homey than the on-campus blood bank.

Actually, USF got off easy. Selling off a branch campus or buying out Seth Greenberg’s contract would have been fair game.

One can only speculate on the reaction, from the president on down, had the e-mail parody referenced the best material. Namely, the theater of the absurd that is the Sami Al-Arian travesty or the plaintiff dragnet that became the racial discrimination suit against the women’s basketball program.

Both incidents were sources of national notoriety, and key reasons why USF is wrapping up such a stressful year — and in need of self-lampooning levity in the first place.

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