This semester, I have a few particularly gullible and literal-minded students. They seem oblivious to the verbal nuances of my using irony, sarcasm, facetiousness, and mockery. They also miss my nonverbal cues of raised eyebrows, mock accents, and outrageous gestures. They naively assume that everything I say is an assertion of something that I believe to be true.

In desperation, I decided to take a ventriloquist’s dummy to class. Now when I am about to make a preposterous statement that represents someone’s belief other than my own, I set the dummy in front of me, and speak through its grinning mouth. I named my dummy “Dying Ideas.”

Monte's dummt