evil medical school

Everyone on the securityfocus mailing lists (for computer security issues) is named either “Susan Bradley, CPA aka Ebitz – SBS Rocks [MVP]” or “KillerCrab”.

Calling yourself something like wirePan1k or theDarkYam is 1998. And putting your professional initials after your name says déclassé, loud and clear.

It reminds me of people with nonmedical doctorates who insist on being called Doctor, put it on their stationery, etc. My brother was warned about this when he got his: “Don’t call yourself doctor at a hotel if you don’t want to be awakened at 4 am to help a heart attack victim”, etc. It’s especially true of people in disciplines that feel inferior. Podiatrists list themselves as “Dr. Richard Smoker, DP”. Same phenomenon with optometrists, chiropractors. You don’t see people with doctorates from good schools in comparative literature or chemistry doing this; they’re not in need of doctoral authority.

The worst of this phenomenon is the mediocre academic, often a big wheel at a small crappy college, who insists on “Doctor” followed by his first name, which is often a diminutive. “Dr. Billy” or “Dr. Heidi” wants to be everyone’s jolly pal and also maintain white coat authority.

Our nation’s examples of all these phenomena are Dr. Laura and Dr. Phil. I should stop criticizing LadyLaser and PhreeDisk; far less harmful.

20 thoughts on “evil medical school

  1. http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19980609
    The usage of Esquire, used as a title and usually abbreviated Esq., has occasioned much spillage of ink in writings about the hierarchies of British life. Some relevant facts are that esquire etymologically and originally (give or take a few years) referred to a young man of noble birth who, as an aspirant to knighthood, served a knight (squire is now the word used for this, in historical senses only). It then meant ‘a man belonging to an order of the English gentry ranking next below a knight’, which encompassed various subclasses, such as the younger sons of peers, oldest sons of knights, and, most important for our purpose, men who held certain offices giving them the right to be called esquires, such as barristers (a form of lawyer), judges, and others.
    In England, Esquire was once used as a title for men who were esquires (in the sense of being in the next-lowest-to-a-knight rank of gentry); then it was applied to all men who may be regarded as “gentlemen”; finally, by the middle of this century, it came to be used as a courtesy title for all men.
    In America, the hierarchies of English aristocracy are not too important, and the use of esquire after a lawyer’s name descends from its use by barristers in England.
    Two important pieces of etiquette to know about the usage of Esq. are that one does not use it of oneself (that is, one should not use it on one’s own business cards or stationery)–it should be used only in address to other people; and that it takes precedence over all other titles, so that you shouldn’t say “Mr. Robert D. Ardizzi, Esq.” or even “Dr. John Smith, Esq.,” but only “Robert D. Ardizzi, Esq.”
    There was once some debate–even in law journals–as to whether “Esquire” could properly be used as a title after the names of female lawyers. Few people now challenge the appropriateness of such usage.

    1. There was a crackpot on various transport discussion forums in Melbourne who insisted on calling himself “Robert Mallinson Esq.” (or similar), as if to detract attention from the fact that all his proposals to improve public transportation (i.e., elevating the railways 1km above the ground to give the passengers better views) were psychoceramic. I forgot his other ideas, but they were just as loopy.

  2. My favourite is those that want the distinction by remote control — a friend of mine’s wife insists on being called Mrs. Doctor Scheleger, despite the fact that she only barely got out of high school and he is a pshysicist and deeply embarassed by her behaviour. She even invents variations like, “Doctor the Mrs. Scheleger” and similar convolutions, presumably for the implied sophistication that syntactic convolution inevitably brings.
    Any irony is unintentional.

  3. I once had a contest with Diane to see who had more certification initials to list. Since quite a few of the Emergency Medical related courses I’ve taken added some initials, I won.

  4. First off Richard Smoker is not a DP. he’s a PP.
    o/` Mr. Richard Smoker, You’re a poopy poker, Chardonnay and cocaine in
    the spa o/` –Ween

  5. Inc TM SM C
    When I worked at Bobodyne,
    I knew that the mooks running the place were lower-middle class when they made these decisions:

    They put the contract they had clients sign in that lameass font that Apple uses in its materials, because that’s the CLASSY font. But then they decided that the font size should be like 9-point, because who reads contracts anyway?
    They insisted that the company name always have “, Inc.” after it, as if anyone is supposed to be impressed that Bobo and I.R. Sisamdin got and filled out the papers of incorporation kit from Office Max. So one couldn’t say “Bobodyne has one server…”, one had to say “Bobodyne, Inc., has one server…”
    They insisted on annoyingly frequent and redundant use of the copyright symbol (as in “Copyright (C) 1996”), TM, R, and so on.
    And yes, I.R. Sisamdin’s mom had a PhD in education (ooooooo!) — and so was always referred to (especially by herself) as Dr. Bupba Lalayiyi or whatever. She couldn’t spell.

    It was about as classy as other form of OCD “respeck” in other times and places, like insisting that all names of Grand People be in red ink, or boldface, or in super-fancy calligraphy, or in allcaps, or surrounded by a Pharaonic bubble (“cartouche”). I think I even remember something about medieval Jewish copyists having to wash their hands before and after writing any of the names of God when it came up in text they were copying. Or how (La)TeX is the only program that can print its own name properly, or how Nazi typewriters had the fancy SS-lightningbolts symbol on them, etc etc.

  6. Just a correction, it’s not merely a KILLER Crab, it’s DIABOLIC CRAB.
    Big, major difference.
    The worst are people who have some sort of accreditation from, like, the SANS institute:
    “Wallace Choadlicker, GCIH.”
    People who wave academic credentials around are low on class, but at least have some academic rigor to show for it. Passing an examination at a SANS conference is even worse.

  7. rispek
    One of my middle-school teachers insisted on being called “Doctor” because of his doctorate. And he wore a white lab coat all the time. He didn’t want to be anyone’s jolly pal, though.
    This reminds me of a conversation from earlier today when a coworker was actually trying to decide whether to sign up for some security forum as his full name or his handle. The thought process was something like “Should I be [name], security guru, or should I be [handle], elite hacker?”
    (Feel free to change the spelling of the last two words as appropriate.)

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