I went to an art exhibition at the Tate Britain a few weeks ago. I was with my then-girlfriend. She was very late, again. I understand that it's not always possible to be punctual in London, but her consistent pattern of careless behaviour in this regard was a significant contributor for the mutual loss of respect.

The art was challenging, as modern pieces should be. Sarah Lucas had made a life-size crucifixion of Christ out of cigarettes. Damian Hirst was still riffing on his familiar themes of dead-in-life. The sides of beef, stamped "INRI", somehow hanging uneaten in the fish tank populated with large fish.

The piece that got my attention, though, was the hothouse tank containing lush green plants, a entomologist (an animatronic mannequin, obviously), peering at a butterfly under his microscope, while around him the pretty butterflies, which Mr. Hirst has been lately fond of gluing to canvas, fluttered around him. Except the ephemeral insects were by now dying, ragged holes in their wings, fluttering feebly on the floor, their intricate patterns of colour creased in intricate patterns of decay. It made me shiver, I wasn't mentally prepared for that.

Q: Why is academic infighting so vicious?
A: Because it means so little.