That WSJ Column…

There has been a very vigorous blowback triggered by a Wall Street Journal column by one Joseph Epstein, counseling Jill Biden (or, as he patronizingly referred to her, “kiddo”) to forego use of the title “Doctor.” (I am not linking to that column; if you want to read it in its sexist entirety, Google it.)

Now, there are legitimate issues about the use of titles. When I was married to a medical doctor, I was frequently embarrassed by his compulsion to insist on being called “Doctor” in venues where it was clearly unnecessary; I ultimately realized that it was a crutch–a way of reassuring himself of his superior status.

People in my generation did tend to reserve it for medical doctors, not those of us holding other types of doctorates.That convention has dissipated, however. My students either call me professor or doctor, and I answer to either. (Or sometimes, just to “hey”!)

No matter what your opinion about the social propriety of its use, the sneering, dismissive tone of the column made it abundantly clear–as many others have noted–that it wouldn’t have been written about a male with a doctorate. About Dr. Kissinger, for example.

I think the personality of Mr. Epstein–who holds a BA, and proudly reports that he doesn’t use “Doctor” despite the fact that he was once awarded an honorary doctorate–is pretty amply telegraphed by the self-satisfied tone of the column itself, but if we needed any confirmation, it came in a post from a FB friend of my sister:

I’ve briefly noted this on some friends’ threads, but it’s worth posting a full account: when I was a Northwestern undergraduate, I took a required class with Joseph Epstein. He constantly jingled the change and keys in his pockets, and told us not to bother complaining about it as all his students did. He didn’t care. He told us rather proudly that he never lay awake at night worrying about the future of the blue whale (?). He NEVER called on the women in class, and spent most class time talking about how amazing he is. I imagine he would use the verb ‘regale’, clearly thinking he would have been welcomed at the Algonquin Round Table. There was one brave woman who insisted on talking. He ignored her. He rang me in my apartment on a weekend, after we turned in our final essays, demanding to know who had written the essay for me. He asked me several questions about Joyce, about whom I’d written, and kept asking how I knew this or that. When I started to cry, he said I was getting hysterical and hung up. I asked a couple of professors who knew me and my work to intervene. He got back to me to say I seemed to have gotten my little boyfriends (??) to speak to him. I was younger than my years and terrified, ignorant of how to stand up for myself. I got the paper back, with a ‘C’, and a one-sentence comment: ‘This is an A paper, but you and I know why I can’t give you an A.

Apparently, he is also an “out and proud” homophobe.

When the offensive column triggered huge criticism, the Journal’s editor dismissed the blowback by insisting that it was part of “cancel culture” and a co-ordinated effort by Democratic Party strategists.

I beg to differ.

That highly critical response was the spontaneous voice of thousands of women (and men who aren’t threatened by them), telling entitled and clueless old White guys to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

 

52 thoughts on “That WSJ Column…

  1. The WSJ needs to restrict itself to what it does best…financial news. That’s why I canceled this right wing rag years ago. What an affront to women with doctorates this current brouhaha has been. The columnist and editor need to be fired.

  2. I have a Ph.D and an honorary doctorate. A German academic once wrote to me as “Herr Doctor Doctor.” Now that is excessive in the other direction! How in the world would he address someone who has been awarded multiple honorary degrees?

  3. I am intrigued by what depth and scope of substance Dr. Jill Biden brings to the Office of First Lady in The White House. As a nation, we have endured the agony of far too much conflict of interests adverse to the advancement of public education. The WSJ opinion letter can be easily dismissed as an irrelevent annoying distraction not worth the paper to wrap a fish in.

  4. I was once asked by a superior at work if my husband had a job. On replying in the affirmative, I was advised that, since he was employed, I did not need to be and my contract was not renewed. I very much doubt that I said anything on my behalf at all – when you are that young, you are essentially unarmed in those situations – so my sympathy goes out to the young woman telling of her experiences with Epstein. It is very heartening that he got so much blow back, but not surprising that it went completely over his tiny head (and those of his editors).

    On a more cheerful note, here is a tale of my younger daughter, who when asked by yet another asshat sexist male boss, what she had inherited from me, responded, “Not much really, just beauty and brains…”

    Be kind, be calm, be safe – words of BC’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

  5. I remember him from the ’80s & ’90s – Harper’s, New Criterion, one or two other magazines where he liked to throw bombs (what we now would call owning the libs). He’s a technically proficient writer who doesn’t have anything to say, so every article & essay he’s written is the same as this op-ed, dismissive & rancorous.

  6. As for Epstein and the WSJ editors I will return to my all time favorite quote by Dillys Lange, “Women receive insults from men with tolerance, having been bitten in the nipple by their toothless gums.”

  7. Thank you for the great discussion. I joke with my friends that “I am not that kind of doctor” when someone uses the honorific to refer to me. Like Dr. Biden I earned my Ed.D. later in life, I was 50. Now that I am retired, I answer to Jim, and I always am surprised when someone uses Doctor to refer to me. Early on in my pursuit of the degree is was told that a doctorate is more of badge of persistence than of innate intelligence. Like many professionals Dr. Biden persisted in her studies and is dedicated enough to her profession that she sought a deeper knowledge and understanding of it. That level of commitment makes her worthy of the title.

  8. Why does a woman have to prove she s worthy of any title she earns and yet it is bestowed upon men????

  9. Opinion columns are just places for an organization to polish its right-wing bona fides. You’ve got to stay popular with your base, after all.

    That being said, it’s a shame we can’t bring back Ostracism.

  10. My father-in-law spoke at graduation when my wife and I received our undergraduate degrees. He was an alumnus, had achieved a certain esteem in our religious denomination, and was granted an honorary doctorate. He thanked the university for its action and characterized it thusly: “it’s like the tail on a pig. It adds nothing of value but sure tickles the ham.”

  11. The Murdochs own the WSJ. They also own Fox News and National Geographic publications. If you saw the movie “Bombshell”, you get a flavor for that “environment”.

    Epstein is just another sexist turd in the right wing punchbowl. Wasted talent. Wasted air… etc.

    On my website, http://www.vernturner.com, you will find “The Ten Arms of Durga”. SHE is what needs to visit Epstein.

  12. Hmmm, is Mr. Epstein jealous? And OMG, a woman who is more educated than he. Dear lord, what has this country become, quick pass me my smelling salts.

  13. You know Sheila this is a wonderful article today!

    Just an observation from a non-doctor here. Joe Biden refers to his wife as kiddo quite a bit. So I know Epstein was being demeaningly sarcastic towards POTUS elect Joe Biden and misogynistically condescending towards his wife, educator Doctor Jill Biden!

    I am so impressed with people who have reached that level of education! I can see many of those who are commenting today have that pedigree. There are doctors who I know well, they happen to be on my wife’s side of the family, of course, the cultured side, lol! Descendants of slaves, they are all very humble! They all give back to the community, and are very involved in either politics or religion! And needless to say, I relish the family reunion times and the ensuing Frank discussions. Interestingly, the doctors on my wife’s side of the family are all female and they really can rip a new one in you, lol, in a loving way.

    I think Epstein definitely has mama issues! Because what I’ve noticed those who are extremely misogynistic, especially towards well-educated women, are not only extremely insecure people, they also are self-entitled.

    It kind of also goes along with what Sheila’s threads have been touching on, those being white self-entitled males, although I doubt if Epstein is a Protestant evangelical, he fits the bill as a self-loathing wannabe white Atlas carrying the burden of White society on his shoulders, fending off hysterical women and hordes of half-breed mongrels! I.e. Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden”…

    The GOP and it’s male-dominated ilk, have revealed their deepest fears for all to see, they’re genetically predisposed or wired to be fearful. Their place must be at the top because they’ve somehow self-deluded themselves into believing their self-entitled delusions of Atlas like superiority are real.

    I honestly believe, looking at Joe Biden yesterday, that he is a very good man. And I also believe that there will be a president Harris and probably vice president Buttigieg maybe before the end of the first term. Like I said, Joe Biden is a good man!

    I really don’t think sarcasm and condescension is going to derail what’s coming down the pike pretty quick. These younger politicians have cut their teeth on condescension and bigotry, and I think they know how to handle these old self-entitled, self-deluded, self-aggrandized and self-perceived White Atlases holding society together with their sheer might of will!

    It looks like it’s going to be a wild ride, so strap up and strap in, lol!

  14. So often, we men, can’t deal with the preposterous notion that often women have a lot more – intelligence, sense, writing ability, heart, soul – etc. than we do – so we try, to hold on to our privilege – in such ways. You – also remind me – of the family story, when my uncle Josef was invited to lecture at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. The original invitation stated: “Our Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Josef Marx”, to which he replied, that he was not their “Distinguished Alumnus” because they had kicked him out 20 years prior. The second invitation stated: “The Distinguished Dr. Josef Marx” to which he replied, that he did not have a PhD, and thus was not entitled to the term: “Dr.”, after which they invited him as: “The Honorable Mr. Joseph Marx”. He finally accepted the invitation and lectured there. He was later a professor of music – with a bachelor’s degree I think in French literature and perhaps a master’s degree in some other non-musical field.

  15. After reading the Facebook post you quote, it seems pretty clear that Epstein’s vile column was more about his own dysfunction and misogyny than it was about Jill Biden. I’ll bet he has no problem with “Dr. Phill” (who has a PhD in psychology but acts like he’s an MD). More egregious than this jerk writing the column is the fact that the WSJ chose to publish it.

    I tell my students (all undergrads) to call me Professor Atlas or Dr. Atlas (to maintain professional distance, not to strike my ego), and then tell them they can call me by my first name after they graduate. BTW, I and the son and the husband of women with PhD, and proud of it.

  16. When men set out to create the “medical profession” (in opposition to the women, esp. midwives, who up until then provided most health care, often with better outcomes than those of men) they had a tough time convincing people to trust them, given the long history of male physicians who used bloodletting, were totally unsanitary, etc. So they created the “Doctor of Medicine” degree and started calling themselves “doctors”, thereby seeking to have the same credibility as real doctors, who up until then had been people regarded as exceptionally learned, esp. theologians, as in the highest rank any could theologian obtain, being recognized as a “Doctor of the Church.”
    Clearly they didn’t just succeed, but actually totally hijacked the term, since none of the comments I’ve seen anywhere in the media acknowledges that it is Ph.D.s who came first and were regarded as the real doctors, not physicians. Physicians have just a 4 year post-bacculaurate and wholly professional degree – not at all the same as what for centuries was regarded as the standard for becoming a true “doctor”.
    I’m not advocating a return to the old days, but I do advocate sticking to the common usage in university circles: that people with a doctoral degree, whether an earned Ph.D. or a professional degree like M.D., D.O., D.Min. or other such, all be recognized with the title of Dr.

  17. Beg to differ on a fine point. He probably would bestow the same ridicule on a man, unless the man had white skin.

  18. Doctorates are another way to gain status, but are not necessarily a guarantee that the person with the doctorate is knowledgeable or even wise. Education does not always help us acknowledge and address our internal biases. It definitely does not address a person’s character defects.

    When I got a Master’s degree, my mother asked me when I would go after a doctorate. I told her nurses with a doctorate do research or teach. I wanted to remain in the clinical realm. Like you, Carol, I believe we should have more midwives. I celebrate that more women are in the medical profession now.

    Joseph Epstein is just another man who acts like Trump who does not know how to deal with “uppity women”.

  19. “More egregious than this jerk writing the column is the fact that the WSJ chose to publish it.” Thanks Pierre (Dr). Few of the articles on the topic call out Rupert’s WSJ decision to print this.

  20. Awesome comment Robin@10:14.

    I agree with your comment 100%.!

    I would agree more but I don’t think there’s anything higher than 100% of a whole Lol! Of course I’m not a doctor so maybe I’m mistaken 😱

  21. I didn’t actually read the article as there is a paywall and I ain’t paying!

    Not to repeat but I came here to say that Mr. Epstein is 83 and not long in this world. He and those that think like him will be gone soon enough. What surprised me most about this whole drama was that the WSJ even bothered to print that drivel. Come on! That nonsense is so last century!

  22. I for one am happy to see “uppity’ women. We have for far too long deprived ourselves of some 50% of our brainpower and other creative capacity in the name of muscle, muscle which is largely unnecessary these days in any event. We need more Curies and Merkels and fewer Palins and Mrs. Falwells, and that should not depend upon the consent of the muscular but on a winnowing out process, one of which is advanced education.

    My now deceased wife had an earned doctorate in education from the U of I, Champaign-Urbana. She taught at university for 17 years before retiring. Anti-women such as Epstein and his sponsor Murdoch have problems with self as demonstrated with their putdowns of those who challenge their superior status as dominating white males. They are, thankfully, on the wrong side of history.

  23. im glad to be working class,where they think,my status,er, shove it..id use use more of the trucker/sailor specialized vocabulary i possess, yea, im sure weve been there. respect where it maybe,if you earned the title, then by all means enjoy it. honorary doctorate?mr epstein? keep moving buster. .

  24. Robin writes, “Joseph Epstein is just another man who acts like Trump who does not know how to deal with “uppity women”.”

    I would say they are very insecure men who feel inadequate for probably many reasons. I am guessing there are many weak men who slide to the right because of sexual inadequacies for those who follow Sigmund Freud.

    For those who don’t, maybe Jung would refer to it as part of your “shadow.”

    Bottom line: Mommy issues.

  25. Gerald:
    totally agree. Anglea Merkle has proven a woman can lead, and keep the cool,when needed. no matter the title.

  26. This is part of the right-wing war on education that’s been going on for years. The evidence of their hatred for knowledge includes Betsy DeVos, Trump, climate science denial, pandemic ignorance, and eminently your friend Pence who’s barely functional except for script recitals. Apparently, we can now add another Epstein to the list.

  27. This blog really hit a “clear and present danger” point for me and I realize that this person is an outlier. Both in reality and professional conduct. Northwestern University has ex-communicated him and the broader world should just put his remarks in the trash and move on. He is, frankly, a dumb-ass.
    My concern is that it is going to take us at least 2 generations to flush this kind of person from our midst. With the advent of critical rating systems in colleges and universities he would not have lasted more than 2 semesters (3 quarters?). I hope I have come to the point that I will not tolerate his kind of behavior and will shout from the rafters that his behavior is not acceptable.

  28. Lets be honest, the only title many of the WSJ crowd think women over 22, maybe 18 if not going to college, should ever use is Mrs. Even then, to that crowd those college women should be limited to searching for a husband not an education.

    My father was a physician, #3 or 4 in his class at George Washington. Professionally he was Dr. Socially he was Carl or to many of us “Doc”. He thought those insisting on others using the title in social or nonprofessional settings were pretentious blowhards. My Uncle was a Doctor of Geology. He never used the title outside of the university or academia. Both men would quickly, and with either a sense of humor or “knock it off” attitude, happily use their titles with those who pretentiously insisted on being called “doctor” in situations where it was irrelevant. Dr. Biden deserves to use the title when appropriate. She doesn’t strike me as the the to use it to put on airs or inappropriately. Epstein needs to apologize but based on at least one responder here it doesn’t sound like he has the integrity, or brains, to do so.

  29. There are certain elements that are common between the chaos in China that foreshadowed the era of Mao Zedong that he took full advantage of (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution) and the rise of authoritarian/conservatism here. One is disrespect for accomplishment, especially intellectual. We may have discarded our Mao finally but the cultural elements and dysfunction and opportunity for power are more permanent.

  30. Epstein is apparently unfamiliar with the derivation of the word “doctor”. It was originally limited to men with advanced knowledge in religion. They were eminent theologians who worked with souls. The title was conferred by the church. Doctors were teachers, and the word itself comes from Latin “docere”, to teach, making it entirely appropriate for Dr. Biden.

    By the end of the 14th century the term was applied to both academics and medical doctors. Epstein should also note that PhD, Doctor of Philosophy, was adopted for academics because the natural sciences were initially a branch of philosophy, as were most other forms of knowledge.

    He should also note that the Greek roots of philosophy are ‘love of knowledge’, thereby qualifying Dr. Biden and most people on this blog as philosophers, even those not holding doctorates. Some doctors, like Dershowitz of Harvard and Ben Carson, having subordinated or perhaps relinquished their education to their political beliefs, should be stripped of their now discredited degrees.

    Incidentally, with few PhDs in view, Trump’s cabinet was recruited from the Know-Nothing-About-Your-Job party, led by Rick Perry and Betsy DeVos, who spent every day at work proving their inability to cope with its demands. As incredible as this sounds, Trump might be smarter than some of his cabinet members (God help them).

  31. Note to old white women: almost every male biker/neo-nazi / racist / deplorable / knuckle-dragger you have seen in video segments of news programs in the last five years have been young or middle-aged. Hence, it’s a losing proposition to attack ‘old white men’ because they are not your problem.

    You cannot win a war by attacking the wrong enemy.

    Your remind me of America’s cowardly fear of attacking NORTH Vietnam during the Vietnam war. After all, it was North Vietnam that was the aggressor and was attacking South Vietnam with the intent to conquer it. America lied to itself, created the myth, convince itself, that it could win the war with North Vietnam by killing South Vietnamese rebels. See how silly that is? And tragic, I might add.

    Surely, you old white women have more guts than Uncle Sam had during the Vietnam era. Go after the real enemy, the young, middle-aged misogynists and leave me the f**k alone.

  32. I read in one article the Ph.D. was being referred to as an “honorary” doctorate. Uh, no.

    If you hold any doctorate – MD, DO, DDS, DPM, DC, Ph.D., even a J.D., you can legitimately call yourself “Doctor.” Those in the medical field, even the ones who are not MDs, have called themselves “Doctor” as far as I can remember. Many, if not, most Ph.D.’s use the Dr. prefix, and have been for years. Those holding a J.D. (who are lawyers if they also passed the bar) generally don’t use the Doctor prefix. Personally I use the Dr. prefix only when ordering plane tickets. I keep hoping it will get me better service, maybe an upgrade…it never does.

    “Doctor” is an academic designation. It opens the door to certain professions, but “Dr.” does not denote the profession. Jill Biden’s use of “Dr.” because she has a Ph.D. is more the norm than the exception.

    Does anyone anymore actually believe the “Dr” prefix denotes “medical doctor?” I guess the idiot who wrote the column believes that, but probably nobody else.

  33. While we did dump Trump before he had accumulated enough power he left some viral particles behind to carry on his work. Mitch McConnell is a notable example. Soon we hope our friends in Georgia do some cleanup too and send Kelly Loeffler back to where she belongs, in the make more money now regardless of the impact on any others ever, cohort.

  34. Dirk,
    Ostracism: I’m with you on that…and I don’t see why we cannot bring it back. Not to mention Banishment!

    In fact, that is the only virtue I can see to building a wall around the country: the wall would prevent those we banish from returning.

  35. FYI, I once applied to teach law classes at an Ohio college . I was told that a J.D., and practicing attorney, was not qualified to teach the law classes. You had to have a Ph.D. I was told the J.D. was “not an academic degree.” I so wanted to punch the person. I would venture to say that a J.D. is harder to get academically than many Ph.Ds.

  36. The disrespect for women in general, and Dr. Jill Biden specifically, should be no surprise after the past four years under Republican rule and their general attitude toward all women. It brought back a long ago memory when I worked for the City of Indianapolis in the Division of Community Services (DCS) which was a division of the Mayor’s Office. I had been promoted to Secretary to the Administrator of DCS; part of that job was as secretary to the Mayor’s Social Services Advisory Council. My first meeting at the Council was the fist meeting of the year when Mayor Hudnut opened the meeting by introducing the newly appointed Council President. The Administrator and I got to the Mayor’s conference room early so I could set up my work area to take notes and tape the meeting; she said there was an electrical outlet under the table. The floor was carpeted and I was holding the table, bent over hunting for the outlet when Mayor Hudnut strolled in in his shirt sleeves. I was in awe of that man and could only squeak “hello”; he asked if I needed help with something so told him what I was looking for and he began looking with me. The short shag hid the outlet so Mayor Hudnut got under the table crawling around on hands and knees; well I couldn’t leave him there alone so I got under the table crawling around with him when my boss returned. By then we had found the outlet, Mayor Hudnut plugged in my tape recorder, helped me up from the floor and left the room. My boss was so angry at me I feared being fired. But that was our Republican Mayor Bill Hudnut; the City’s 6 ft. 5 in. Leprechaun in a green suit leading the parade every St. Patrick’s day. He was the People’s Mayor for SIXTEEN YEARS and the last of the real Republicans.

    We will gradually see respect for women, all people in general and humanitarianism return to our federal government January 20, 2021, but they will need our help and our patience till those of the Epsteins, both of them, and their ilk have crawled back under their rocks.

  37. What I object to, what I find dishonest and pretentious, is the morally incomplete, half-man, deplorable dude who wants to be called Mr.

  38. Pete,
    Yep, looks like a definite nerve has been struck!

    My experience with old white men, has not always been good. I’m 62 years old, and when I was a kid, about 4 years old as I recall, I had old white men threatening to shoot me from their window while I was riding my tricycle up and down the street in chicago. So, you can’t tell me how innocent old white men are, they just passed their hatred, fears, misogynistic tendencies, and lame-ass opinions down to the next generation. And, I can think of a few that I would love to haul down to the Rio grande and hoist them over that beautiful wall Trump built! 🤬

  39. Three-quarters of a lifetime ago, I worked for a Chamber of Commerce in a mid-size city. One day a client came in seeking some information and other assistance, which I provided. When these tasks were completed, the client, a white male wearing a suit, said, “Hey, you’re pretty smart for a woman!” He actually thought this was a compliment. I did not have a Ph.D. nor do I have one now. BUT, a few years later I was invited to be a member of Mensa after a qualifying test, so yeah, I’m pretty smart for a woman or anyone else for that matter. The times they are a-changin’, for sure.

  40. I’ve drafted a letter to the kiddoes at the WSJ cancelling my subscription. In it I suggested that the boys on the editorial board find other employment more befitting their misogynistic selves.

  41. Baby Epstein is way wrong, and has lived there, apparently for many, many years.
    Other than medical doctors, psychologists with Ph. D.’s, E.D.’s, and so forth are regularly called doctors, and Dr. Biden is fully entitled to the title. The WSJ does not reflect the values of this old, white, male, among others.
    Tucker Carlson, speaking of jackasses other than Epstein, went on a snarky little, tirade about the future First Lady, which was probably very well received by his twisted audience of misogynistic, homophobic, etc., buffoons. It had nothing to do with anything other than signaling the anxiety and fear that can be instilled in such people by a “together” female.
    Psychological studies, probably by both men, and women, with Ph.D.’s, have found that conservatives are very motivated by anxiety, which is one reason they do not adapt to change with any ease; why they long for the “good old days” when everything was not just “the way it should be,” as they might say, but when everything was familiar, and TOTALLY unchallenging.

  42. Joseph Epstein has done his part for asymmetrical warfare with his column. He has people spinning around in circles, defining and re-defining what is a Doctor.

    Titles, titles so Medieval. You do not need a Title for me to show you respect. I am OK with calling a Doctor, a Doctor when I am in his or her office. It is a Professional setting. Same way I suppose in College, etc.

    Lose the titles in public.

  43. Those of us who applaud and admire her commitment to her career are looking forward to defending her use of the title. It’ll be such a refreshing change from what we’ve seen recently!

  44. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr; Dr. Ruth; Dr. Laura; Dr. Phil–all with doctorates, all chose to use the “Dr.” prefix, which is their right. Others, like Rachel Maddow, also a Ph.D., choose not to use it.

    This is such a misogynistic column that it could only have appeared in the adult funny-papers, aka, the WSJ Op-Ed pages.

    Yes, I have contributed there–it’s the only way to get to a certain audience–but It’s hard to take seriously.

  45. John, I’m talking tactics and strategy, not guilt or innocence. But then I didn’t expect The Great Quoter to notice the difference.

    Good grief; I’d like to see posters here examine and propose more means to the end and fewer old grievances, which kind of misplaces our whiners among the whiners and grievance-wielders on the deplorables’ side. Presuming that holding on to grievances is universally bad, as implied by all of us who condemn the whiners on the other side, it makes it hard for me to see the difference between our grievance-wielders and their grievance-wielders.

  46. Now, I’m doing it. I’m thinking of the ‘old’ white men (maybe 50 years old or a little more) who sat on liars’ benches and threatened us little kids as we walked past them to elementary school.

    I guess I could hold a grudge. But I consider the times and, the shall I say, accepted custom of the times by which men were led to show their affection to little boys primarily through teasing, hazing, and rough play. My father, grandfather, and uncles played the same game with me and often showed me news clips about the cruel murder or torture of little white boys, which lent another layer of fear for the walk to school.

    Threats to skin me like a rabbit or roast me like a hot dog or bury me alive I prefer to mark as a kind of hazing process. Knowing that now did not help me then, as some of those middle-aged men — not old men — were quite the actors and performed their part of the ritual with such convincing fervor that I never was sure if they were sincere, not until I was beginning fourth grade.

  47. Larry,
    What makes you think I was referring to you and my second paragraph of my comment to pete?

    I don’t think you’re that bad! And besides, I think if you were flipped over Trump’s big beautiful wall, they’d probably flip you right back over to this side, lol!

    Hey, you are who you are and I am who I am right? That makes the world more interesting.

  48. Blame is the name of the game today because it’s so much easier than solving problems. It’s different than holding people accountable for what they have signed up for and failed at.

    Perhaps that’s an element of what has to change to return to functional culture.

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