Cancel culture devours op-ed writer who urged Jill Biden to drop the ‘Dr.’

Cancel culture devours op-ed writer who urged Jill Biden to drop the ‘Dr.’
Jill Biden (Image: YouTube screen grab)

It’s a bridge too far.

Joseph Epstein, who had been listed on Northwestern University’s website as “emeritus lecturer” for more than twenty years, was “canceled” by the university on Saturday and accused by the school newspaper of being patronizing and sexist.

His crime? Daring to write a semi-humorous op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging Jill Biden, who holds an Ed.D., to lose the silly affectation of referring herself as “Dr.” No sooner had the op-ed appeared in print than a brouhaha boiled up, culminating with Epstein’s profile vanishing from the Northwestern website. (RELATED: Please don’t call me ‘doctor’)

Epstein’s observation that “‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic” evidently touched a few nerves. By Saturday afternoon, his name was the top-trending topic on Twitter in the U.S., according to The Hill’s Celine Castronuovo. (RELATED: Whoopi Goldberg: ‘Dr. Jill’ Biden should be Surgeon General)

I can appreciate that there are two minds on Mrs. Biden’s insistence on referring to herself as “Dr.” J.E. Dyer, who wrote the editorial note accompanying LU’s excerpt of the above-linked article in our Web Crawler section, is of the opinion that it’s no big deal — a viewpoint that I share for the most part. She even goes so far as to justify Jill Biden’s use of the title insofar as she’s a college instructor and holds an Ed.D. There I would take exception, which I suppose makes me one of the people J.E. is bemused to see giving a hoot one way or the other. I firmly believe that the holder of a doctorate, as opposed to an M.D., should relinquish the term “Dr.” at the classroom or laboratory door, at which point he becomes a “civilian.”

Image via Twitter

In any case, Northwestern’s reaction to the whole kerfuffle is petty and ridiculous. The university should feel ashamed.

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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