Trinity College suspects inside job behind Conan profile

16 Sep 2011

The fake academic profile on Trinity College Dublin's website

The fake academic profile on a Trinity College Dublin website about a new English lecturer by the name of Conan T. Barbarian was likely not the work of an outside hacker, a college spokeswoman told the Associated Press.

Caoimhe Ni Lochlainn told the news agency that the university had never had its website disrupted like this before, adding that Trinity was certain it was an inside job.

Yesterday, a prankster posted an academic profile of fictional character Conan the Barbarian on the college’s website. The profile featured a photo of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger as the barbarian, whom Schwarzenegger played in his first film role. The site summed up ‘Prof Barbarian’ as “Long Room Hub Associate Professor in Hyborian Studies and Tryant Slaying”.

The profile also referenced the 1982 movie that starred Schwarzenegger, and stated Conan had been preparing for academic life since being “ripped from his mother’s womb.” His PhD thesis is titled To Hear the Lamentation of Their Women: Constructions of Masculinity in Contemporary Zamoran Literature. This title refers to a line from the film, when Conan is asked what is best in life. “To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women,” he replied.

The parody faculty listing claimed Conan landed his job with the School of English “after successfully decapitating his predecessor during a bloody battle which will long be remembered in legend and song.”

Conan’s upcoming courses included “Vengeance for Beginners” and students who cheated or showed weakness face crucifixion.

The fake profile was quickly taken down upon its discovery, but reportedly not before many people archived the profile.

Trinity College is working on identifying whoever was behind the prank and Ni Lochlainn told the Associated Press that punishment would depend on the full facts of the case.