04 February 2009

Who you callin' doctor?

Diploma MillOne addendum to the issue of calling people with academic doctorates doctors.

There is one set of people who I would refuse to call "Doctor", and it's exemplified by this article.

Laura L. Callahan was very proud of her Ph.D. When she received it a few years ago, she promptly rewrote her official biography to highlight the academic accomplishment, referring to it not once or twice but nine times in a single-page summary of her career. And she never let her employees at the Labor Department, where she served as deputy chief information officer, forget it, even demanding that they call her "Doctor." ...

"When she was running around telling people to call her 'Dr. Callahan,' I asked where she got her degree," says Richard Wainwright, a computer specialist who worked for Callahan at Labor for two years. "When I found out, I laughed."

This, I suppose, is the twisted flip side of the situation with Jill Biden's doctorate. This civil servant Laura Callahan got her degrees from a non-accredited institution, a.k.a. a diploma mill. Anyone who insisted on being called "Doctor" because they had a degree from a "prestigious non-accredited university" (as they frequently call themselves)... my response might be very similar to the one described above.

More commentary on Dr. Isis's blog On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess (here and here). Note: The comments to those posts are lively and frequently profane. But this comment from Ben in the latter post got me thinking:

In general society, people who are smarter than you are more dangerous than atomic bombs.

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