So is it the Corona-19 virus that has led so many to the brink of insanity over the idiocy about how Jill Biden chooses to be addressed? Or, is this just the weaponization of resentment toward educated people that we will have to endure for the foreseeable future left over from the dregs of Trumpdom?
From what I understand, Dr. Jill Biden or, Dr. J, familiarly, earned her Doctorate in Education from the University of Delaware in January of 2007. Her dissertation focused on maximizing student retention in community colleges—which I’m guessing has something to do with keeping students awake while in class. Or not. One just never can be sure about these kinds of things.
Nonetheless, she earned a doctorate from an accredited university that acknowledged the research and scholarship she expressed in a dissertation which no doubt was at least as boring as watching people nap. I assume it added to the knowledge base in her field, a typical requisite of academic achievement. She earned the degree, and if she so chooses, can place Dr. in front of her name, or Ed.D. after it. She could even use both, but that might seem a bit like overkill, especially when you add First Lady to the mix.
Tucker Carlson, the arch conservative, misogynistic in-house idiot at Fox News (one of many), has claimed to have read Dr. J’s 137-page dissertation. He labeled it “illiterate,” a word the meaning of which he clearly doesn’t grasp. Rather than assuming the mantle of “Public Disgrace” for himself, which is wholly merited based on his unfounded claims of voter and vaccine fraud, he’s decided that a college research paper has become the face of shame, while QAnon becomes the face of scholarship.
Every time he opens his mouth, he descends into new depths of stupidity.
I can hardly wait until he discovers that Julius “Dr. J” Erving, the superstar hoopster with the Sixers, wasn’t a doctor of anything.
Ph.D. folks can be a pain in the ass. I know this because I had a sister, named Jo, who had not one, but two Ph.Ds. We called her Doctor Doctor Jo Jo. She believed for reasons I thankfully can’t recall that medical doctors weren’t as worthy of the doctor title as she and her ilk were.
I nonetheless presented her with a stethoscope when she earned her first one.
Jo wrote her second dissertation about some arcane aspect of primate communication. She sent it to me during my winter break at the University of Illinois one year. I had nothing to do for that three-week stretch but to play drums for two hours each weekday evening for businessmen wishing to get just drunk enough to face the familial duties that awaited them at their suburban ranch houses. Our little stage was round, and it rotated inside the bar while we, a trio of piano, bass, and drums, plus a girl singer, played songs like Misty and Send in the Clowns, developing a musical sub-genre we called Businessman’s Bounce. We were well paid, got free drinks and salty appetizers, and were much happier than our modest fan base, even though we had to wear tuxedos.
Anyway, I spent a couple of days reading my sister’s rather lengthy diatribe about elephants and monkeys doing whatever she had observed them doing in various parts of Africa where she lived in tents and paid her servants with Playboy T-shirts for doing their jobs of keeping the snakes, scorpions and spiders from the floors of said tents. Her dissertation never addressed the hideous conditions from which she conducted her research, and except for the frequent use of the words “elephant” and “monkey,” I had not a clue about whatever it was she had written.
Even the title, “Semiogenesis as a continuous, not a discrete, phenomenon,” or something like that, made no sense. It certainly wouldn’t attract readers looking for something to take along on an airplane trip, possibly because most of the title was in lower-case letters which may or may not be the proper way to title dissertations. Pithy titles such as ‘A’ as in Assassin, sell like hotcakes.
I did for her what I thought was a big favor and re-wrote her dissertation, reducing its page count from somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 to somewhere in the neighborhood of 12. I even added a few humorous interludes.
I sent it to her. I included a little note suggesting that my efforts, conducted with the use of several dictionaries and encyclopediæ, would result in drawing a wider audience to her research because now it could be easily understood by almost any idiot.
I got a note back telling me that her dissertation was not meant for the idiot public, but was specifically for the 90 or so academics who shared in her specialty of non-verbal communication among elephants and monkeys. Worldwide.
Her note was really angry, and so I called her, not to apologize for my misunderstanding the mysterious workings of white-tower academia, but to suggest a truce. During the course of that effort, I made the mistake of asking about how giraffes might communicate. She hung up on me and we didn’t speak to each other for three years. That led to my writing a parody of non-verbal communications among humans, most of which were expressed by hand gestures as seen through car windows in rush-hour traffic.
I sent it to her as a peace offering. It bought me another year of non-verbal communication.
Many years later, my beloved sister left academia to develop education programs and services for the Bloomington, Indiana, Animal Rescue Shelter, Adoption Center and Place That Smells More Like a Sewage Treatment Plant Than an Actual Sewage Treatment Plant, or something like that. Her work was with dogs, each of whom she found to be much easier to teach than the humans she had lectured to for so many years.
Today, I would appreciate her help with our dogs, but since she’s dead that might be asking for too much.
(Have your ever read such a smooth segue?)
We got Beau, a mixed breed rescue dog, just about two months ago. He doesn’t much like me, and he basically won’t leave Geri’s side. He is as blind as the proverbial bat, although he’s adapted well to both our yard and house—as long as we don’t move anything. Despite his diminutive size, he’s strong as an ox, which we assume is some kind of compensation for being blind.
My sister could probably have written a dissertation about handicapped dogs, though it’s doubtful anybody would ever have made any sense of it without my editorial help. Missed that boat.
We decided Beau would benefit from having a canine companion—a seeing-eye dog, so to speak—and Courtney found us Romeo, an adorably cute mixed-breed rescue mutt. He’s quite playful and cuddly. He’s also a bit of a prankster. Once he realized that his new best friend couldn’t see, he started hiding Beau’s toys and sneaking up from behind to scare him. When he runs away, he takes new paths that lead Beau headlong into chair legs, walls, and other obstacles.
It’s disturbingly amusing, and yet somehow remindful of semiogenesis.
Photo of Romeo, the Merry Prankster, by Courtney A. Liska
Fegato di pollo ragu (Chicken liver sauce)
I love this sauce because I like chicken livers and this is a rich sauce perfect for wintry nights.
1# chicken livers
4 Tbs. minced shallot
2 Tbs. canola oil
4 Tbs. butter
½ tsp. minced garlic
6 Tbs. diced pancetta
8 whole sage leaves
½ # ground beef
2 tsp. tomato paste
½ cup white vermouth
Clean chicken livers, rinse in cold water, cut each into 3-4 pieces; dry well.
Sauté shallots in the oil & butter over medium heat. Add garlic; cook briefly. Add pancetta & sage, cooking for a minute or so. Add ground beef, S&P, and cook until the beef loses its raw, red color.
Turn up heat to med-high and add the livers; cook until they’ve lost their raw, red color.
Mix the tomato paste and vermouth and add to the pan. Cook 5-8 minutes. Serve over pasta, risotto, or polenta.