Letter of Rejection to Dr. Philby
Dear Dr. Phil,
Thank you for submitting your application for the director’s position at the National Institutes of Health. As the N.I.H. is the principal force guiding America’s efforts in medical research, we have strived to consider every candidate’s application seriously.
Our first impression was not a good one. You have a loud and exuberant manner that is an oddity in our network of colleagues, and for the duration of the interview process, you were physically sitting on top of Dr. James Watson (a man considerably smaller than you), oblivious to his muffled and strained murmurs beneath you. We found this quite distracting and wonder what this reflects of your character. Furthermore, although he has only a minor role in the selection process, the Nobel laureate was quite put out. As the conversation continued, we found other characteristics that troubled us. Your commitment to, as you call it, “big ideas,” whilst commendable, seemed a tad impetuous. Your mention of using your television program or perhaps “your good friend” Oprah’s television program to (in your own words) “GIVE FREE GENE THERAPY TO EACH AND EVERY MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE!” is frankly very unsettling to us.
In truth, we fear that your celebrity status may ultimately impede our principal mandate of excellence in health research. Although some of our members thought it wonderful that you have a Muppet in your likeness on “Sesame Street,” your list of other references (e.g., “I drink scotch with Kelsey Grammer on a regular basis”) hardly elicits confidence. To be blunt, your scientific C.V. is poor and your repeated attempts to demonstrate your scientific prowess were laughable at best. (Adjusting the pH in your hot tub does not count, nor does your vasectomy.)
Finally, we found your tendency to talk in meaningless, corny phrases very irritating. Responses like “Sometimes you just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you” or “You’re only lonely if you’re not there for you” are very confusing, to say the least. In fact, our members felt that overall you were even more irritating than the applicant who used the word “testicular” 67 times in his interview. One member of our hiring committee actually wrote the comment “Who the [expletive] is this guy—Foghorn Leghorn doing Yoda?”
Consequently, the hiring committee regrets to inform you that your application has not been shortlisted for further consideration at this time. Please tell Ms. Winfrey to stop bothering us.
Dr. Paul Batley Johnson
National Institutes of Health