In The Elegance of the Hedgehog (by Muriel Barbery), a book I read this summer, one of the narrators is a 12 year old girl who writes:
My mother, who has read all of Balzac and quotes Flaubert at every dinner, is living proof every day of how education is a raving fraud. All you need to do is watch her with the cats. She's vaguely aware of their decorative potential, and yet she insists on talking to them as if they were people, which she would never do with a lamp or an Etruscan statue.
Ouch. I don't quote Flaubert at every dinner, but I do converse with my cats.
The mother in the story has previously been introduced to us in this way:
Well, my mother isn't exactly a genius, but she is educated. She has a PhD in literature. She writes her dinner invitations without mistakes and spends her time bombarding us with literary references.
Ouch again. Those sentences are a concise reminder that having a PhD doesn't mean you are a genius or that people will necessarily be impressed with an advanced degree.
Maybe someday my daughter will write a memoir that will include something like this:
Well, my mother isn't exactly a genius, but she is educated. She has a PhD in Science. She writes her Facebook status updates without mistakes and spends her time ranting about how all fruits and vegetables are organic and nothing is 'chemical free'.
6 months ago