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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: January ::
Re: "Doctors"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0135  Friday, 21 January 2000.

[1]     From:   Yvonne Bruce <
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        Date:   Thursday, 20 Jan 2000 14:57:46 -0500
        Subj:   Re SHK 11.0108 "Doctors"

[2]     From:   Robert Hamilton <
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        Date:   Sunday, 16 Jan 2000 11:03:26 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.0125 Re: "Doctors"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Yvonne Bruce <
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Date:           Thursday, 20 Jan 2000 14:57:46 -0500
Subject: 11.0108 "Doctors"
Comment:        Re SHK 11.0108 "Doctors"

John Briggs is absolutely right to get us back on track, but please
allow yet another digression, as it comes in response to a query-what
does Miss Manners say?--about the correct use of titles. The following
is taken from <Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior>
(Warner Books, 1979). I quote both the reader's question and Miss
Manners' Response:

Dear Miss Manners:

I was introduced to a Dr. Soandso at a party and was embarrassed to have
him say, after I had discussed at length an interesting disease in my
family, that he didn't know anything about medicine. I suppose he was a
doctor of philosophy, but should he then call himself a doctor?

Gentle Reader:

What you have there is either an honest medical practitioner or an
uncertain Ph.D. Only people of the medical profession correctly use the
title of doctor socially. A really fastidious doctor of philosophy will
not use it professionally, either, and schools and scholarly
institutions where it is assumed that everyone has an advanced degree
use "Mr.," "Mrs.," "Miss," or "Ms."

Many people feel strongly possessive about their scholarly titles,
however, and it is Miss Manners' principle to allow them to call
themselves what they want. She will only offer them a story: Miss
Manners' own dear father, who would never allow himself to be addressed
as doctor, used to say that a Ph.D. was like a nose-you don't make a
fuss about having one because you assume that everyone does; it's only
when you don't have one that it is conspicuous. For sheer snobbery,
doesn't that beat insisting on being called doctor? (p. 73)

[The following question and answer may also be of interest/use]

Dear Miss Manners:

A nephew of mine is a professor in one of the large colleges. When
introducing him, do I say "Mr. Wells" or "Professor Wells"?

Gentle Reader:

The title of professor is used, in America, for exactly this case-when
you want to show off your nephew, but he doesn't have a doctorate. In
Europe, it is a higher title than "doctor." Personally, Miss Manners
prefers "Mr." but, then, her nephew hasn't finished kindergarten.

Yvonne Bruce

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Hamilton <
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Date:           Sunday, 16 Jan 2000 11:03:26 -0000
Subject: 11.0125 Re: "Doctors"
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0125 Re: "Doctors"

>As another fan of Miss Manners, I can say she maintains that
>Phds do not use their titles socially.

Alas, poor Doctor Johnson ...

Robin Hamilton
 

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