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’)
It appears Northwestern University's English Department has removed Joseph Epstein's profile from its website.
Earlier today, he was listed as an "emeritus lecturer." pic.twitter.com/XBZI8ZbN1B
— David Gura (@davidgura) December 13, 2020
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.”
In any case, Northwestern’s reaction to the whole kerfuffle is petty and ridiculous. The university should feel ashamed.