Why is Albert Einstein in a box? This object was one of many curious items in Marc’s Wonka-esque office. The figure resembles many of Marc’s memorabilia in its playful conflation of the intellectual and the juvenile. A cartoonish version of an important scientific icon, this jack-in-the-box (or Einstein-in-a-box) is testament to the levity Marc brought to discussions of abstruse material.
More than mere silliness, Marc’s humor showed that he found academic conventions at times pretentious, myopic, elitist, or otherwise lacking perspective. In the formal study of humanity, we sometimes lose sight of ourselves as human framers of ideas. Einstein-in-a-box was Marc’s answer to that egoism. Why should scholars elevate themselves above the world, as if it were a mere field of study? Marc’s humor was a humble reminder that no matter how esteemed our status as thinkers, we’re still just people at play.