Saturday, January 31, 2015

Doctor Superior

Never trust anyone with a PhD who calls themselves "Doctor".

Why? Because so many people with doctorate degrees don't do this that it leaves those who do looking plainly ridiculous (and proves, once again, that arrogance is elective).

I used to occasionally make public appearances with another food writer - a very pompous one. When we'd take questions from the audience, and someone would defer on a question of taste to my more "expert" palate, and I'd point out the absurdity of the notion of anyone having an authoritative digestive track, my colleague would get furious with me. By downplaying my expertise, I was undercutting his, too. I was ruining everything! I can't tell you how much I relished this.

If just one person knighted by the Queen makes light of being called "Sir", something magical happens; anyone who doesn't is instantly transformed into a prig. It's a wonderful trick (and one Pope Francis has mastered....the papacy will never be the same).

Groucho Marx was deeper than you might have realized.*

*- In fact, one might describe Pope Francis as the first post-Groucho pope.


kalish said...

I hate it when PhD.'s call themselves Doctor. Can you write a frickin' prescription? Can you do surgery? If you can't, you're not a fucking doctor.
Jon Kalish

Val in Seattle said...

I agree that it sounds pretentious for Phds refer to themselves as Dr in social settings. But it seems ok for purely academic settings, especially the sciences.
The social pedestal for physicians is likely to continue the erosion that started in recent years. As our health care systems bring nurses, PAs, nutritionists, educators, technicians closer to the patient, while MDs recede into background essential functions. I expect society will maintain the honorific "doctor" for surgeons (exaltation), dentists (habit), chiropractors (they'll hold fast to their hard-earned title).

Jim Leff said...

Thanks for the interesting thoughts, Val (and Kalish too).. In the end....only the dentists shall remain, towering over the firmament!

Yeah, I suppose in an academic context, where everybody's got that qualification, so it's not being used to show some sort of weird superiority, that's a whole different thing.

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