Recommended Posts

A few weeks ago, we flew to Chicago to attend my son's law school graduation. The commencement ceremony for the law school included two primary speakers, a woman and a man. The woman spoke first. She had a lengthy list of qualifications (including a director of Planned Parenthood, which lessened her substantially in my son's estimation). She began her talk by saying that such commencement speeches typically included lists of platitudes, which she promised to follow. True to her word, she then offered one of the most uninteresting, useless talks I can ever remember listening to in any venue. "Utterly forgettable" does not do justice to just how useless this talk was. Of course, she was wildly applauded when she finished—though I wonder if the applause was less for the talk she had given and more for the fact that it was over.

The man spoke next. He, too, had a lengthy list of qualifications, including being a practicing lawyer who (I think) argued before the Supreme Court, a highly influential professor, and a respected author. He offered a truly interesting and insightful speech on the importance of the Supreme Court and dismissed the idea that the justices there were biased on the whole. It made up for the cringing boredom of the previous speaker. He, too, was applauded, though it seemed to me that his talk was not as well-received as the previous travesty.

Lessons: Platitudes often take the place of actual thought and ideas. In addition, platitudes tend to be better received by society, even (perhaps especially) by those who call themselves well-educated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking as someone with an MBA?

All too often, the higher a person goes into academia, the more divorced they become from the world *outside* of academia. This is because they frequently end up insulated from life beyond the Ivory Tower, associating only with other academics who often have similar opinions and lifestyles. If they spend too much time like this, they can actually develop a contempt for people who don't have their same level of academic credentials, and may even be so arrogant as to declare that people who aren't on their "level" shouldn't even have the right to speak to them about various topics and should merely sit & listen to their "betters". 

Such a mindset appears to be especially prevalent in the humanities and social sciences. 

To be brutally honest, two of the most willfully ignorant people I ever encountered were individuals who had doctoral degrees in their respective fields (social sciences and theology, respectively). They treated their doctorates as shields of invulnerability, and refused to listen to even credible, reputable sources when it came to information that contradicted their personal biases about how the world worked. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.