Proactive, Schmoactive

I suppose in my advanced years, I really shouldn't care much about anything anymore. The world will be whatever it will be. But I still get so incredibly pissed when those who do little more than wield a mean catchphrase under the blanket of obvious sloth, are the ones rewarded in American life. This is especially true in academia, I think.

Corollary: If I had to choose between being a college administrator or taking a swift kick to the groin, you know which way I'd go.

I've spent way too much of my life hanging around a very rough crowd. I'm not speaking of the gang I ran with in high school, or a certain college lover sporting two black eyes and sought in five states for Grand Theft Auto, or the East Side Pharaohs, or the debauchees of 249 Norton Street.

I refer, of course, to the various Ed. D.'s I've rubbed shoulders with. Wasn't it Garrison Keillor who said that college Education Departments are the greatest threat to education in America? While still trying to overcome the PTSD of dealing with administrators, that grotesque yet ever so popular word du jour, "proactive" came to mind recently. I wonder if I could sue for a workplace related injury? A damaged faith in the state of education surely qualifies. Not to mention being eyewitness to an indecent assault on the English language.

But back to the pseudo-word.

Isaac Newton did not say: "For every proaction there is a reaction." Double-negatives I can handle, having toured just about every square mile of South Dakota, but a double-positive brings the bile up my throat. That's not English. That's pomposity for the hell of it, Alexander Haig in light tea-time conversation.


Double-speak will get a person a fraudulent degree nowadays. If that's your cup of tea, then save your money; I think the Universal Life Church still has a Doctor of Metaphysics degree for $20 and you and fellow students will neither have to pull your chairs into a circle to share meaningful experiences nor suffer through those wicked multiple choice final exams.

Sigh...Martianus Capella...if you could see what's transpired, you wouldn't have bothered setting pen to paper. Maybe Augustine was right and this world is meaningless.


Anyway, a degree shouldn't be a confession of failure. Keep all social diseases private, I say.

But, returning to that blasphemy whispered in my ear by evil spirits earlier, it's not proactive, but anticipatory (the real word).

To be clear, I'm completely in favor of a language growing, adapting to burgeoning needs. What riles me is that pompous twits concoct new "words" when perfectly serviceable ones exist for the exact same thought in all its delicacy and shading. That's just verbal concupiscence: the harlotry of academia.

Interesting anomaly there: the number of people claiming "doctor" as a title seems to be inversely proportional to the number of Ph.D.'s awarded in legitimate fields of study. You have to wonder what the real motivation was in inventing the Ed. D., D.S., D.A., D.B.A., D.M., D.D. and all the other lukewarm alternatives to serious achievement. I wonder if Burke's Peerage could sort all that out.

One final observation. The only colleagues I've ever had who insisted upon the title of "doctor" in correspondence, conversation or on nameplates affixed to office doors were not Ph.D's.

The converse was equally true. So, for example, my graduate committee when I submitted to orals one hot August day in the basement of Trafton Center for a Master of Arts degree was comprised of Harry (chairman), Jim-Bob and Vickie, three of the finest mathematicians I've ever known. Not Dr. Coonce, Dr. VanDeventer or Dr. Boerner. They, and I, already knew they had done something useful for the world and a title, plus-or-minus, wouldn't change that.

Next installment: Quite Too Utterly Utter

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