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Semifinals, Week 14: Charles Foster Kane vs. Tony Stark

To vote, simply answer the following question:

Which person, if real, would make the best professor or guest lecturer—and why?

Cast your vote three ways:

  • Submit your answer in the comments of this post
  • Respond via the Cornell or MIT Facebook pages
  • Tweet using the hashtag #MITCU

Need some inspiration? Learn more about Charles Foster Kane and Tony Stark.

As before, judges will be looking for posts that are clever, witty, absurd, and downright ridiculous. The more entertaining they find your comment to be, the more likely it will tip the scale in favor of your alma mater. Voting ends each Friday at noon ET.

Leave a comment


  1. Div

     /  January 31, 2012

    My experience with Prof. Stark has been unpleasant. He rarely shows up to class. When he does, he’s drunk and proceeds to flirt with the girls. I once tried giving him my assignment (about which he claimed to have no clue, by the way). He said “Don’t hand me things. I have a peeve.”
    Professor Kane is classy, intelligent, humorous and hands down the best single source of current affairs on the planet. And the best part? Sliding down Libe slope on Rosebud.

  2. Joe

     /  January 31, 2012

    Professor Kane would be confused most of the time, and so would we, until we realize he was talking about a sled and not the current assignment. Or he would be lecturing us on the world that was.

    While a Professor Stark is likely to be only a visiting professor (he’s a busy busy man) his vision and intelligence can only be of benefit to his students. It is his drive that would serve well as an example to all students. Don’t let things like the laws of physics get in the way! Go out and be the change you want to see.

    Oh, and a powered tactical exo-suit designed for use in extreme extra-planetary environments is sweet. Can’t wait for his next big invention, he might even hire some of us grad students to work on it. Call me, Prof. Stark, I have ideas for your scaled down ARC generator in next generation undersea exploration, no really, it’ll work this time! Imagine what we can do on the bottom of the Marianas!

    Hey, you, get your hands off of me! Mr. Stark, call off your security! Mr. STARK!!!

  3. A guest lecture by a billionaire playboy philanthropist who’s qualified to teach grad classes in course II, III, VI, VIII, XV, and XVIII, and literally manufactured a new atomic element in his basement? Sign me up. (This is a vote for Tony Stark, in case it wasn’t obvious).

  4. Div

     /  January 31, 2012

    Tony seems to be very amused by Joe’s predicament. So much for rewarding loyalty. Why does he move around with security anyway? It’s a college campus!

    Prof. Stark works alone. The only way you could get into his UROP projects is if you’re tasked with using the fire extinguisher if something goes wrong. Oh wait – he’s got a robot arm for that. Never mind.

  5. Paul Chai

     /  January 31, 2012

    Like Joe above, I too was a confused student under Professor Kane, who seems to utter the same strange words of “Rosebud, Rosebud…” as if he was alone and we were all invisible to him. When he finally acknowledged our presence, he lost us in seemingly a sea of boasts over his glorious past and the beauty of Xanadu.

    Professor Stark, on the other hand, is someone who is clearly more connected to and in tune with the students of the present day and tomorrow. He’s conversant of today’s (and tomorrow’s) new technologies, utilizing them fully to make each of his lectures on par with rock star concerts. Obviously it also doesn’t hurt to have his gorgeous secretary as TA to our class…

    Unlike Professor Kane who spoke of many dreams of the past, Professor Stark show us the means (and the technology) to translate visions and dreams to today and tomorrow’s reality!

  6. Div

     /  January 31, 2012

    Cornell University: established 1865
    MIT: established 1861

    Does being old makes these institutions unfit for the present or future? No. MIT, Cornell and Prof. Kane are legends for all time. Greatness is always relevant. Alcoholic perversion is not.

  7. Div

     /  January 31, 2012

    By the way, interesting factoid – C. F. Kane was born c. 1863, pretty much in the middle of MIT’s and Cornell’s dates of establishment.

  8. Joe

     /  February 1, 2012

    All is well! Prof. Stark was just inviting me to a private chat. He’s decided he can use another TA for a class he’s thinking of teaching next term.


    P.S. – Alcohol is not a perversion. It is, simply put, one of the earliest inventions of the human race, dating back thousands of years and providing for both sustenance as well as entertainment. And that’s not to mention its use as a fuel, antiseptic, flavoring, cleanser, etc.

  9. Trynka

     /  February 1, 2012

    Kane would certainly be an epic professor helping students understand the stategies and insights into building an empire; so too would Stark…

    But in terms of being a professor, which one will show up three times a week to teach you for an entire semester, and which one will sleep through classes with a hangover and never look at a single student paper or test?

    Kane baby Kane.

  10. Div

     /  February 1, 2012

    Prof. Stark surely doesn’t use it as an antiseptic for his intestine, does he?
    What does he have to say about his alcoholism AND his perversion?

    I can confidently say that providing the world access to truthful information is better and more honorable than inventing proprietary and secretive technology, no matter how ‘great’ said tech is. As owner/publisher of some of the largest newspapers in the country, Prof. Kane understands the importance of knowledge and the sensitivities of college students (it is rumored that he knows what it is like to live away from one’s family).

    On a personal note, be careful Joe. Prof. Stark barely ever plans a day. He can’t even plan a single lecture, to be honest. The man who “hired” you for the next term is probably an evil lookalike with some dastardly plan.

  11. Cat

     /  February 1, 2012

    There is no denying that the movie Citizen Kane is widely renowned as an excellent piece of cinematography. But examining the life of the man himself — he was raised rich, neglected by his parents, something of a womanizer, arrogant and stubborn. He dropped out of colleges, and had a career in questionable journalism, blowing stories out of proportion and apparently attempting to start a war. Tony Stark, well, was raise rich, neglected by his parents, definitely a womanizer, arrogant and stubborn. But he’s got some serious technical chops, knows a lot of science and engineering, works his ass off when he has an idea, and when shown that his inventions are contributing to human suffering, he does something about it. That drive and knowledge means he has a lot more to contribute to a lecture than a journalist of questionable morals.

  12. Div

     /  February 2, 2012

    I would pick questionable morality over unquestionable immorality any day.
    Please continue teaching, Professor Kane. With due respect, the genius of Professor Stark is solely confined to him. Unlike the greatest journalist of the 20th century, he cannot express this knowledge in words.

  13. Ryan

     /  February 2, 2012

    What a joke. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zatgnqdIefs#t=60s 4 word response to “Big man with a suit of armor. Take that away, what are you?”

  14. Anh Thu Vo

     /  February 2, 2012

    Tony Stark, because he would be a great professor to teach us how to build and precisely deliver a package, weighing a hundred pounds or so, to a remote moving target of say, 200 square foot! 😉

  15. Judging by his motion picture portfolio, I feared that Prof. Stark’s teaching pace would be blindingly fast. Then I remembered this is normative for MIT lectures.
    I am more concerned that Prof. Kane’s portfolio indicates black and white thinking, a tendency toward pomposity, and pacing that leads toward somnolence among the students. While all this may be normative for Cornell lectures, I cannot in good conscience recommend Prof. Kane.

  16. Captain America

     /  February 2, 2012

    At any academic institution, integrity is of utmost importance. Manipulation of the truth as conveyed to students should not be commended.

    My vote’s for Stark. While he may have questionable personal morals, they do not impact his work for the community.

  17. Div

     /  February 3, 2012

    Dear Ryan,
    Notice how the brash and arrogant Mr. Stark says “I don’t play well with others.” That includes students (‘students’ being a subset of ‘others’). And it also includes other faculty, by the same reasoning.
    Prof. Stark (implicitly) votes for Prof. Kane!

  18. Donna

     /  February 3, 2012

    Tony Stark, of course! Everyone knows you need a dynamic, engaging professor to keep you engrossed in the class – otherwise those lectures can get pretty boring. He would be able to give clear, real-world applications for the subject matter. In addition to being a genius he’s handsome, making for a much more pleasant hour or so in the lecture hall. I’d be willing to overlook any arrogance considering he periodically goes off and saves the world.

  19. Your friendly neighborhood spider man

     /  February 3, 2012

    Div, it’s awfully cold and lonely up there at Xanadu land with Mr. Kane when you know you are on the wrong side.

    My great uncle used to say with great power comes great responsibilities. Charles Kane had great power, used it to create media propaganda and tried to start a war. He ended up spending the late years of his life alone and confused. Tony Stark had great power, used it to save the world from being destroyed by war. He also happens to be a dear friend of mine, Thor, and Captain America among others, as we work our butts off to ensure our world a better place. It’s time for you to join the good guys and fight for the right cause! Peace!

  20. Div

     /  February 3, 2012

    I know your secret identity, Spider-Man. Due to certain incidents involving Mephisto, you no longer seem to remember the fact that you fought against Tony Stark during the Marvel Civil War. However, you definitely remember your boss, right? The only reason you dislike Kane is because J.J. Jameson’s behavior towards you has given rise to a false bias against newspaper editors.

    Cornell is your state’s land grant university. It recently won a massive bid to create a tech campus in your city. You couldn’t be the real SPider-Man. You are probably this guy: http://marvel.com/universe/Spider-Man_(imposter)
    Ah, from California. You’re annoyed because Stanford lost the bid. #YetAnotherEvilPlanFoiledByThisCornellian


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