The White Shoe Irregular:
It was fun while it lasted.

Another Academic Journal Falls for Postmodern Hoax

William Morris

Editors of the Journal of Home Management and Hospitality expressed surprise Tuesday over the recent revelation that a paper they published was the work of a prankster. The paper, titled "The Tyranny of the Wrinkle: An Epistemic Approach to the Semiotics of Ironing," appeared in the spring/summer edition of the journal.

Felicia "Subzero" Sheffield and James "Beefy" Vanderbeef, co-editors of the journal, claim that the paper went through peer review, but are refusing to comment further, saying that they will address the issue in the next edition of the journal.

Academics weren't surprised to hear that the editors fell for the hoax.

"All these new disciplines like family studies (cough! — home-ec), human movement studies (cough! — phys-ed), gender studies and composition studies just need to get a grip," said UCLA Physics Professor Jane Waythrop. "They're all trying way too hard to legitimize themselves. They should drop their theoretical pretensions and go back to the only thing they're good at — applied research."

Stephon Westinghouse, the Betty Lou Mackelprang Chair of Theoretical Diatetics at Mid-Southeastern Tennessee State, disagrees.

"The theoretical turn the field made in 1987 brought piping fresh energy and yummy new horizons to consumer and family studies," said Westinghouse. "To me it is no trivial thing that a butterfly flapping its wings in the depths of the Amazonian jungle can cause a cake to fall in Duluth."

The hoax was discovered when one of the members of the alt.home-ec.theory newsgroup matched cryptic comments on author Kevin Rankley's Web log,, with portions of the article.

Rankley, a grad student in philosophy at The Montana State University, said that he had initially considered withdrawing the paper after discovering it had been accepted for publication because it was "like deja cliché," but reconsidered when he realized that his CV was looking as thin as the ranks of Heidegger apologists.

When pressed for details, Rankley politely demurred. "I'm holding out for the lead story in the reconstituted Lingua Franca," he said. "When they get wind of this, they'll be on me like flies on mock apple pie."

Meanwhile Westinghouse is marshalling support for Subzero and Beefy.

"At most, the editors were a little over indulgent to a supposed newcomer to the field," he said. "Unfortunately, this Rankley served up a bowl full of seven-minute frosting — tasty when first made, but then it quickly stiffens, hardens, crystallizes and becomes unpalatable. Don't judge all frostings by this one."