Responding to the protests that have emerged in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Provost Drell’s latest email to the Stanford community featured a number of Stanford administrators giving voice to various civil rights leaders in sock puppet form, such as Susie Brubaker Cole as Rosa Parks, Marc Tessier-Lavigne as Malcolm X, and Harry Elam Jr. as John F. Kennedy. The video in which they appeared seems to be a stage production speculating what each leader may have had to say about the protests taking place today, and features a startlingly high polish for a project that must have only been assembled in the span of a few days (inside sources have reported that the entire Creative Writing program was laid off to meet production costs—after they had written the script, of course).
In the video, Provost Drell plays the role of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who flaps his little sock puppet mouth up and down saying things like “I invested all my money in AutoZone and if anyone sets AutoZone on fire I’ll be biggo pissed,” or “Shit, I really love those fossil fuel companies and everything they do for the students at this fine university! They fund so much research here which I wouldn’t want to give up for anything, not even a catastrophic change in global climate!” while footnotes scroll lazily across the bottom of the screen, claiming that these lines come from his “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, respectively.
To close out her email, Provost Drell reaffirmed that the administration stands with its students in vague and silent support for the protesters. “We are, in fact, at this very moment working on designing mock protests with us admins as the police and service workers as the protesters being threatened at gunpoint, so that the Stanford community can better empathize with events in Minneapolis and elsewhere.”