“The relationship between professors and their doctoral candidates has often been minimized down to a lazy wave-through.”

There are many illuminating statements in this interview with a German ghostwriter of dissertations.

**************************

Markets work in funny ways.

Instead of creating a backlash against ghostwriters, however, cases like Guttenberg’s have actually had the opposite effect. His case was actually how many people first learned about the existence of doctoral ghostwriters at all. Since the beginning of the 2000’s, the number of ghostwriters … has risen and prices have fallen for the service.

****************************

The interviewed ghostwriter shares the self-justifying bullshit that gets him through the night.

“Everything is for sale: sex, people, doctorates. I am only a cog in the wheels of capitalism.”

You keep telling yourself that, honey.

Trackback URL for this post:
http://www.margaretsoltan.com/wp-trackback.php?p=39076

11 Responses to ““These are people who have absolutely no intellectual ambitions,” he says. “One can tell from their spelling errors that they would never be able to get a Ph.D. the normal way.””

  1. francofou Says:

    Unfortunately, I’m not sure he is wrong. Reading your blog, I’m not sure you disagree — not with the ought, but with the is.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    francofou: I intensely disagree with the is. Which isn’t to say there’s not a lot of whoredom — whoredom that I chronicle. But there’s SO much else, and (as Ronald Dworkin among many others insisted) one has choices.

  3. francofou Says:

    So much else for some of us, yes. Could be an interesting discussion, but the medium is not built for complexity, is it? Perhaps that is the point. Hit and run.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Sure it’s built for complexity. Go ahead. Don’t hit and run.

  5. Michael Tinkler Says:

    By the way, I’m not at all sure that spelling is a useful diagnostic. Two of the smartest people I know can’t spell at all in English (interestingly, I happen to know that one of them never had any problem spelling in Latin – we took a Latin composition course together). Maybe it’s a German thing!

  6. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Michael: I think he probably means they can’t spell words and names central to their activity. Phylosofi. Haygel.

  7. econprof Says:

    My emotions in this whole affair (well, being Austrian) oscillate between schadenfreude and homesickness. Our (former) member of government in charge of higher education also had an iffy dissertation – but he was quickly promoted to go to Brussels as Austrian commissioner of the European Union, so the whole debate died out. So if you love titles, this is a good thing. Our German brethren in their direct ways simplify things a bit too much: Consider e.g. Lufthansa: if you go to http://www.lufthansa.com (if outside the US, be sure to get the US-page) and try to purchase a ticket (for our purposes, JFK to FRA would be sufficient, choose any date and economy class and go thru the menu – choose any options you like, but do not login with your frequent flyer account). When you come to the page where they ask you the passenger details, you will notice a menu item “titles”: You can choose between “Mr.,Mr. Dr., Mr. Prof, Mr. Prof. Dr., Ms., Ms. Dr., Ms. Prof, Ms. Prof. Dr.”. In principle, this is a good thing – they show they value the “professor” title, even when the person lost his/her doctorate. Of course, the loss of the “Mrs” title hurts a traditionalist. Anyway, but what makes me homesick is this new formulation of the Nuremberg defense: Instead of “I just followed orders” it is nowadays “I am only a cog in the wheels of capitalism”. So good old German traditions – like abdication of individual responsibility in a collective – are alive and well..

  8. Margaret Soltan Says:

    econprof: So much to like in your comment! Thank you for sending it. A German friend of mine not long ago told me about the hilarious choice of titles at Lufthansa…

  9. Crimson05er Says:

    This is only tangentially related, but I’ll post it for sheer hilarity. Much like the great Lufthansa title choices cited by econprof, the British Airways website used to have a remarkably comprehensive honorific selection tool (regrettably pared down since, I believe). I copied and saved it last fall for posterity’s sake. I’m not sure if the best choice is “Air Vice Marshall,” “Deaconess,” or “His Holiness” — the latter presumably in case the Pope, the Dalai Lama, or the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople needs to quickly book a ticket online.

    The full list, in its glory:

    Mr
    Mrs
    Ms
    Miss
    Dr
    Herr
    Monsieur
    Hr
    Frau
    – (blank for no title)
    A V M
    Admiraal
    Admiral
    Air Cdre
    Air Commodore
    Air Marshal
    Air Vice Marshal
    Alderman
    Alhaji
    Ambassador
    Archbishop
    Archdeacon
    Baron
    Barones
    Baroness
    Bay
    Bayan
    Bishop
    Brig
    Brig Gen
    Brig General
    Brigadier
    Brigadier General
    Brother
    Canon
    Capt
    Captain
    Cardinal
    Cdr
    Chief
    Cik
    Cmdr
    Col
    Col Dr
    Colonel
    Commandant
    Commander
    Commissioner
    Commodore
    Comte
    Comtessa
    Congressman
    Conseiller
    Consul
    Conte
    Contessa
    Corporal
    Councillor
    Count
    Countess
    Crown Prince
    Crown Princess
    Dame
    Datin
    Dato
    Datuk
    Datuk Seri
    Deacon
    Deaconess
    Dean
    Dhr
    Dipl Ing
    Doctor
    Dott
    Dott sa
    Dr
    Dr Ing
    Dra
    Drs
    Duchess
    Duke
    Earl
    Embajador
    Embajadora
    En
    Encik
    Eng
    Eur Ing
    Exma Sra
    Exmo Sr
    F O
    Father
    First Lieutient
    First Officer
    Flt Lieut
    Flying Officer
    Fr
    Frau
    Fru
    Gen
    Generaal
    General
    Governor
    Graaf
    Gravin
    Group Captain
    Grp Capt
    H E
    H E Dr
    H H
    H M
    H R H
    Hajah
    Haji
    Hajim
    Her Highness
    Her Majesty
    Herr
    High Chief
    His Excellency
    His Holiness
    His Majesty
    Hon
    Hr
    Hra
    Ing
    Ir
    Jonkheer
    Judge
    Justice
    Khun Ying
    Kolonel
    Lady
    Lcda
    Lic
    Lieut
    Lieut Cdr
    Lieut Col
    Lieut Gen
    Lord
    M
    M L
    M R
    Madame
    Mademoiselle
    Maj Gen
    Major
    Marchioness
    Marquess
    Marquis
    Marquise
    Marshall
    Master
    Mevrouw
    Miss
    Mlle
    Mme
    Monsieur
    Monsignor
    Mr
    Mrs
    Ms
    Mstr
    Nti
    Pan
    Pani
    Pastor
    President
    Prince
    Princess
    Princesse
    Prinses
    Prof
    Prof Dr
    Prof Sir
    Professor
    Puan
    Puan Sri
    Rabbi
    Rear Admiral
    Rev
    Rev Canon
    Rev Dr
    Rev Mother
    Reverend
    Rva
    Senator
    Senhor
    Senhora
    Senhorita
    Senor
    Senora
    Senorita
    Sergeant
    Sheikh
    Sheikha
    Sig
    Sig na
    Sig ra
    Sir
    Sister
    Sqn Ldr
    Sr
    Sr D
    Sra
    Srta
    Sultan
    Tan Sri
    Tan Sri Dato
    Tengku
    Teuku
    Than Puying
    The Hon Dr
    The Hon Justice
    The Hon Miss
    The Hon Mr
    The Hon Mrs
    The Hon Ms
    The Hon Sir
    The RT Hon
    The Very Rev
    Toh Puan
    Tun
    Vice Admiral
    Viscount
    Viscountess
    Wg Cdr

  10. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Crimson05er: Fantastic!

  11. janet gool Says:

    That list reminds me of a Gilbert and Sullivan patter.

Comment on this Entry

Latest UD posts at IHE

Archives

Categories