1149 Title Inflation
Titles used to mean something. Often, no more. “Doctor,” “president,” “your honor.”
President... why that used to mean the top position in the company. Now, the guy who runs the convenience store downstairs isn’t the president. He’s the Chairman and CEO. Maybe he’s also the only employee. But look at that title!
Dr... why that used to mean a person who healed or cured you. But now, there are so many doctorates you have to figure out what it means on a case by case basis.
Doctor of philosophy? Hmmm. Aristotle didn’t need -- or have -- one of those. Doctor of divinity? First, that’s usually honorary. Second, did Isaiah need one of those? How about Juris doctor? That’s not a doctorate, it’s a second bachelor’s degree.
Doctor of Education: Ever meet one? Were you impressed? Didn’t think so.
But it’s not just degrees and company presidents. It’s everywhere.
What are the qualifications for being a parade’s grand marshal... how grand do you have to be?
Your honor: many a judge may be called your dishonor.
AccuWeather: oh, really?
Editor-in-chief: Big publications rarely have those. The title is reserved for the top of the heap in high school newspapers. The New York Times, Herald Trib, Chicago Trib, Wall St. Journal never had one. But Bloomberg news does. And so does the New Roses PA high school yearbook.
What do we call the woman who is number two in the Miss America contest? We call her “first runner up,” and she has a function. Should Miss America be discovered to have hidden a rap sheet, number two takes over. But what about the “third runner up?” Nothing. Number two is quickly forgotten until and unless there’s a problem. Number three is quickly forgotten, period.
It’s gotten to the point that some titles are facing hyperinflation. Example: “certified pre owned.” Certified means “we went over this car a little more carefully than we normally would, checked off a bunch of stuff on a fancy checklist and charged you a whole lot more for it.” “Pre owned” means used.
So, the president generally isn’t the top guy. The JD comes from a profession that rewards itself as special just because it can and is bent that way to begin with. The doctor of divinity is the religious equivalent of “famous for being well known.”
The third runner up isn’t even as well rewarded as the third horse over the finish line.
And General Washington did not attend West Point.
--How to not run an economy: confiscate a part of every citizen’s bank accounts to help pay for a bailout. That’s what happened in Cyprus this weekend, and it’s caused a run on the banks. What comes next are similar runs on bigger and more important places that also are in financial trouble and fear the European Central Bank’s hand creeping their way.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013