Bert wrote: paulusnb wrote: I actually also completely disagree with the author's opinion about education not transmitting prestige. Sure it does........IT IS ABOUT PRESTIGE. IT IS A DIPLOMA.
He didn't say that education doesn't transmit prestige but that it is not the goal of education.
OK Bert. I should have said that I do not understand the author's discomfort with the prestige offered by education. Not only is there nothing wrong with the prestige attached to education, there is nothing wrong with wanting that prestige. Does it not show a certain high-mindedness on the part of the individual that he wants to be respected by his community? Don't kids from little towns who go off to the Ivy league become town heroes? Doesn't the University of Chicago advertise how many of its professors have won Nobel Prizes?
A discomfort with the seeking of prestige, and the social injustices of people being better than others, is what lies at the center of Magister's opinion.
To reword for you... I disagree with the author's conclusion that since education's goal is the transmission of knowledge and not prestige, the diploma should not be written in Latin. I quote the passage about prestige: "The goal of education is the creation and transmission of knowledge — not the creation and transmission of prestige."
The author has a problem with the "elitist" nature of latin on the diploma. It sound like he has a guilty conscience. (I thought he voted for Barak Obama? Did not this one act bring about the change we have been waiting for?) "As a college professor, I try to tell my students that education is more than a status symbol. Its purpose is the development of the mind and social usefulness through the clear communication of information and ideas. Why contradict that with the very piece of paper that is meant to represent the work they’ve done?" Magister's logic is clear. Latin on diploma = status symbol. Using a status symbol contradicts the work they do. Latin on diploma contradicts the goal of education. It is not socially conscience enough.
OK. We are talking diplomas. I say that diplomas are about prestige and not the knowledge you have gained. Employers do not examine potential employees' diplomas for their knowledge. They look at resumes for that. The diploma hangs on the wall, framed for ...........................................prestige. So, while the end game of education is not prestige, the end of the Diploma is. Is this bad? No. See above.
Bert wrote: paulusnb wrote: Should we change BA, a Latin phrase meant to overawe....
My understanding is that BA stands for Baccalaureate artis, a latin phrase. According to the author, the presence of Latin on a transcript is to overawe, and thus is not true to the goal of education. I suggested we change it to "Knows his stuff," something much clearer. As far as the English equivalent, what is a bachelor? Isn't this a guy who is not married? I am confused, but I know if someone has a certificate that says "knows his stuff," then he knows his stuff. The BA, whether in Latin or English, awes instead of edifies. Bad. BAD. We must always edify and not awe.
The quote, dear Bert: "Latin is a beautiful language and a relief from the incessant novelty and informality of the modern age. But when it’s used on diplomas, the effect is to obfuscate, not edify; its function is to overawe, not delight." To this, I reply a mixture of "so what" and "not really."
Lastly, all of Magister's arguments could be used to take calligraphy off of the diploma and replace it with Times New Roman. Who can read the calligraphy anyway. And while we are here, why not get rid of the pretty borders? Why use Latin for school mottoes? Why wear black gowns at graduation instead of Blue Jeans? Why wear ties?
Must tradition and aesthetics always yield to the monster, social usefulness? There is a professor at Loyola New Orleans who argues that we should end Mardi Gras because all off its trappings look back to the days of peasants and kings and reinforce present oppressive economic realities. I think he and Magister both belong on Gulliver's floating island of mathematicians where the wives run off with the servants because the servants can appreciate a good looking rack.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift