Oct 23, 2008

There IS a Doctor in the house!

Customer: Help! This man is choking!
Waiter: Is there a doctor in the house?
Organic Chemist: Why, I am a doctor.
Waiter: Help this man!
Organic Chemist: Oh, I am not that kind of doctor. I have a PhD in chemistry and I am on the tenure track at a local liberal arts college.
Customer: He's dead.
Waiter: Well, thanks for wasting that 30 seconds, "Doctor"!

Don't worry. Thanks to the Associated Press, such tragic scenarios would never play out in real life. Despite the fact that the AP has no role in awarding or stripping degrees, the AP Stylebook states that when referring to people who have been awarded academic PhDs, they should be referred to as Mr. or Ms., with the Dr. prefix being reserved for medical doctors. Like this one:

This is in spite of the fact that the word "Doctor" is from the Latin word "teacher" (doceo, docere, docui, doctus – to teach), and was used to refer to the most learned people in a society. Back in the day, it was the case that the most educated person in a village would likely have been the local physician, but I should point out that this was at a time when phrenology was considered the wave of the future!

What, to me, is more interesting is that the AP, for the most part, comprises people who have only received a bachelors. This means that a group of people lower than me on the academic totem pole have bestowed upon themselves the right essentially to strip me of the academic reverence that I have earned.

I can only conclude this means that any group, who have no particular role in awarding academic titles or honors, can, at their discretion, decide to refer officially to others as they please. So, with that precedent in mind, I will henceforth be referring to members of the AP with the prefix, Lobotomized Peon.

"Leg To Stand On" Fail
Pay attention to how the journalist refers to Dr. Baldwin.

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