As he puts the finishing touches to his PhD dissertation, Raj is compiling a list of people outside the academy who seem to prefer to be called “Dr.” The list is short, but high-quality, currently consisting of Drs. Kissinger, Savimbi, Karadzic and Goebbels, with the substantially-fictitious trio of Drs. Who, Evil and No bringing up the rear.

Further examples will be gratefully received — and if you know where some of these people earned their degrees, that information would be useful, too. We think Dr. Who must have got his PhD through mail-order, and we like to think that Dr. Evil bought his for the sum of … one million pounds, but we will happily await correction.

Daniel wrote [15.7.2002]: Doubtless others have responded to Raj’s plea by mentioning the execrable “Doctor Fox”, now best known via Pop Idol but a long-term major hate figure for anyone growing up within the reach of the perfidious Capital Radio (as with so much else, the Clash got it right: “There’s a tower in the heart of London with a radio station right at the top. They don’t make the city beat, they’re making all the action stop. Capital Radio – in tune with nothing. Don’t touch that dial…”) His terrifying web page here suggests that his highest qualification is an Honours degree in business from Bath University, which must make his existence all the more annoying to Doctor Zeni Fox, Ph.D, the Director of Lay Ministry and Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology at Seton Hall University here. The webpage is headed Neil “Doctor” Fox, suggesting that he treats the prefix merely as a nickname, and is making no substantive claim re: his academic standing. But! What are we then to make of the following statement made in a live web-chat for Yahoo Ireland?

bigrennie: Are you a real doctor or did you attend the Dr Dre school of medicine?
live_chat_foxy: I am a real doctor – of business not medicine. so bigrennie, I can’t fix your piles!

Can something not be done?

By the way, *Mr.* Brooke, I feel this is an unwise subject for you to be addressing, given the rather misleading sign outside your door. Perhaps you should take heed of this.

Chris replies [15.7.2002]: Touché.

Raj chips in [15.7.2002]: Thanks for publicising and responding, respectively, to this noble distraction from my dissertation writing. I’ve written to Foxy to try to clear this all up. You can too, here. I expect a reply by return. Onward!

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