Snakes in a defense

One of higher education's lesser known traditions.  Snake fighting during your thesis or dissertation defense. From McSweeney's Internet Tendency.

FAQ: The “Snake Fight” Portion Of Your Thesis Defense.
Q: Why do I have to do this?
A: Snake fighting is one of the great traditions of higher education. It may seem somewhat antiquated and silly, like the robes we wear at graduation, but fighting a snake is an important part of the history and culture of every reputable university. Almost everyone with an advanced degree has gone through this process. Notable figures such as John Foster Dulles, Philip Roth, and Doris Kearns Goodwin (to name but a few) have all had to defeat at least one snake in single combat. 
Q: This whole snake thing is just a metaphor, right?
A: I assure you, the snakes are very real.

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