Just finished John Williams novel Stoner. His picture of the university as a sanctuary for the incompetent and the mentally weak is a good addition to our daily practice of ‘publish or perish’ in academic life. For Stoner, the university primarily embodies a promise! Everything outside the academia is a pure waste of life. I am not sure whether this is a convincing argument for my students, but his inflexible and detached attitude seems to me a good survival strategy in the current age of consumerism.