Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dr. Seuss was a Dr? to What Degree?

Dr, Dr, Gimme the Seuss...

Are degrees useless? Do degrees have more use when they are compounded one upon another? Can you get one degree without the other? What qualifies a scholar?

What makes a "doctor"? All questions to consider, in honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday.

"Dr. Seuss" (pronounced Soice) a man whose title he awarded himself, most likely had more intelligence, and creativity than most of his academic peers. But he was never awarded the piece of paper that designated him as such, at least while he was living.

"His first work signed as "Dr. Seuss" appeared after he graduated, six months into his work for humor magazine The Judge where his weekly feature Birdsies and Beasties appeared. Geisel was encouraged in his writing by professor of rhetoric W. Benfield Pressey, whom he described as his "big inspiration for writing" at Dartmouth.After Dartmouth, he entered Lincoln College, Oxford, intending to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in English literature. At Oxford, he met his future wife, Helen Palmer; he married her in 1927, and returned to the United States without earning a degree" cit.

Interesting, even the notable "Dr." Soice, went around publishing books with a phony title. Is that the answer, lying? Is that how one actually establishes literary notoriety? From my perspective, I think Seuss's life is an excellent example of how creativity, intelligence, and life experience are so much more valuable than a degree. In today's academia, it is believed that one could not achieve a degree without these attributes. Further, one should do everything in their power to attempt one if they do meet the "criteria". But what of those who do not? Clearly one can attain success, even publish a book without letters behind their name, as was discussed in a previous post.

On this March 2, 2011, his 107th birthday, schools are dedicating an entire week to literacy, based solely on his pioneering efforts. I'm sure you'll find very few "leaders" in American academia questioning Seuss's legitimacy. No, not today. A man who began his career writing for a subversive college humor rag, under a different name, previously branded an alcoholic delinquent. A man who would go on to mock the very town he lived in within the pages of his "children's" books.

He did successfully graduate with an undergraduate degree. But how many of us can go around calling ourselves "Dr." without that costly PhD? I know, what many writers "secretly" know, that great writing has little to do with academic stature. A great writer needs only the patience and diligence to submit their works to publications until they are finally recognized. Even with his Dr. designation, he would be rejected 75 times, before his first publication.

Let us also not forget that despite not receiving a post-graduate degree, he did most of the work. He gained most if not all there is to gain, he just didn't "finish". There is so much more emphasis placed on the idea of finishing now in academia, than what we are gaining from doing so much time. But "they" make it so "difficult" to finish, don't "they"?! Most understand it isn't the workload that is too much to bear, and even the most intelligent and worldly among us struggle to complete a degree. To most, academia is just simply a maze of uncertainty and cow-towing to authority, before we achieve that authority for ourselves. Therein lies the paradox. That is when most of us never get that far, when most of us have to "give-up", when most of us just simply move on to something better. Something more practical, like the rest of our lives.

Going back to this idea of lying to get respect; This blog is and has always been about integrity. It's been about calling out those who have very little of it, but still claim to have cornered the market. My readers, and I, and now you hopefully, smell the pile and just want to do something about it. I think it is an admirable thing for a person to achieve exactly what they set out to do in life, simply playing by the rules. If it works out for them, that is the ideal. That is the dream, ladies and sirs. My readers and I, however, know the reality. We have to be a little more creative, even if just for the sake of jumping over the pile we are asked to walk through.

That being said, my next blog will NOT be a complete lie, but will be a completely fabricated mock-resume of my skills. One I would never give to employers. It will be what my resume would look like if any, and all of my knowledge, creativity, intelligence, and skills were valid. It will be a list of everything I learned in Kindergarten, and since, including all the knowledge I gained while in college. It will also include a list of knowledge, creativity, intelligence, and skills that employers are actually looking for. It will make me look like the ideal employee for today's economy. I will remind my readers of the {Ctrl+C/P} functions.

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