shallow focus photography of two women in academic dress on flight of stairs
Current Events,  Feminism,  Ranting and Raving

Is There A Doctor In The House? Yes!

The Wall Street Journal published an opinion article on December 11, 2020 that has me livid. It is called “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.” It is written by some dude who according to his Wikipedia page has been a known asshole since at least 1970.

Let me just tell you how this article starts.

Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo:

Oh yeah, he said that. He called her “kiddo” in a national newspaper. I had to take a moment. Actually, I’ve taken several moments and still haven’t come to terms with the sheer audacity. So what has the future First Lady done that is so worthy of this denigration? I’ll let him continue.

a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the “Dr.” before your name? “Dr. Jill Biden” sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.

It sounds fraudulent and comic to address a woman as Dr? Ok, you are entitled to have your opinion even if it is the most completely wrong opinion ever. I’m also entitled to hate you with the passion of a million burning suns for having it.

Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.” 

That seems like a pretty important topic. Community Colleges serve a lot of first generation and low income college students. Meeting their needs in a way that allows them to stay in school seems like a laudable goal.

A wise man once said that no one should call himself “Dr.” unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.

Who is this “wise man”? Who decided he was wise? Seems like something you made up if you don’t bother to source it. Maybe you should go to English class at a local community college and learn how to write papers.

I taught at Northwestern University for 30 years without a doctorate or any advanced degree. 

Now we’ve hit the crux of the matter! Attention everyone! An old white man is feeling inadequate! Gather around and make him feel better about himself.

Seriously, in 30 years you couldn’t gather up the gumption to at least get a Master’s Degree? What’s wrong with you?

I have only a B.A. in absentia from the University of Chicago—in absentia because I took my final examination on a pool table at Headquarters Company, Fort Hood, Texas, while serving in the peacetime Army in the late 1950s.

Whoop-de-freakin-do! My husband got multiple college degrees while in the Army in between deployments. He’s picked up a few Master’s Degrees since then too.

Then, then, this fool goes on to state that he has an honorary doctorate but he doesn’t make anyone call him Dr. Of course, you don’t! You didn’t earn a doctorate. He then goes on and on about how honorary doctorates used to mean something (no they didn’t) but now they just get handed out willy-nilly.

This is completely irrelevant but seems to have been inserted to confuse people until they wonder if DR. Biden has an earned or honorary Ph.D. SHE EARNED IT.

He contends that it used to be hard to get a Ph.D. but not anymore. Since DR. Biden got her doctorate in the last 15 years, it doesn’t really count. It was easy to get one then. He says that he’s seen thesis defenses where people call themselves by their first names. That is literally what he is advocating for people to do! He doesn’t want anyone in the humanities to use titles but then complains when they don’t use titles. This is a bad argument. But, what do I expect of someone without higher education?

I am a person with a Dr. in front of her name. I have never delivered a human child but have delivered kittens, puppies, foals, calves, and lambs. Hopefully, I’m qualified to have an opinion. Here it is. If you earn the degree, you get to use the title.

I use my title all day every day. When I’m working I’m always referred to as Dr. Me. Personally, I don’t feel strongly about it at all. If my coworkers wanted to call me by my first name, that would be fine with me. They will not. Over the years many have commented that they don’t think of me as a person who even has a first name other than Dr.

But, if you are going to insist on using a title it better damn well be the right one. I didn’t know how strongly I felt about this until I got married. Previously, my father had referred to me as Dr. so much that it was embarrassing. The second I got married, he started to refer to me as Mrs. instead. I went off. I don’t do that. I shocked us both. He doesn’t refer to me as Mrs. My marital status doesn’t negate my degree. Some old guy’s perceived inadequacies don’t negate a woman’s degree either. I don’t care if you don’t like it. You aren’t in charge here.

But maybe this is better summed up in the tweet that alerted me to this flaming garbage pile of an essay.

What Do You Think?

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