The \"Wizard of Oz\" degree

A couple weeks ago I was at an orientation for my new job at Home Depot. The orientation included people who would be working in all departments of the store - plumbing, milwork, garden, cashiers etc. Several times during the week long orientation we split up into groups and were required to name our individual group. Somehow the very last group I was in ended up being full of the stereotypical "quiets one's" of the class, so as a joke we decide to name our group "The Rawdy Crowd." Being the scribe, and to further emphasize the joke I offered my own unique spelling for the word "crowd." Thus the "Rawdy Crawd."

To my amazement my group was quite dismayed at this decision. I could not have made them more uncomfortable if I had stripped naked and danced on top of the table we were at. There was an intense fear in every other member of my group that the other people in the class might think the mispelling was unintentional.

Well I thought that was a fabulous idea, so I suggested we change our group's name to "The Morons" and pronounce it "maroons" just for kicks. :lol: Judging by how wide their eyes got that was apparently a worse idea.


By that point the sterotypical "dumb blond" of the class who happened to be in another group, had noticed our misspelling and was making fun of us. As a result my group insisted on explaining to the teacher and the class that the "misspelling" was intentional.


So much for my fun. I had no idea that spelling was such a taboo. I know there are plenty of people out there that link spelling and pronunciation to intelligence, but I also consider such a linkage to be maroonic.

It is our education and not our intelligence that ultimately determines how well we spell. If your education was exclusively in spelling and vocabulary you could come off as very intelligent, but still have trouble figuring out the simplest of concepts -what button do I push to make the microwave start?

I once had a graduate student at UGA insist that you could not use a "cost-benefits analysis" outside of the the field of economics. This was in response to a friend of mine asking a law professor if, in his opinion, the benefits of x-policy (that he - the professor - happened to be promoting) would outweigh the costs. After the grad-student's comment the professor insisted he could not answer the question because his expertise was in law and not in economics. I'm sure they were both great "spellers."

My point is this, there seems to be this wide spread notion in our country, and perhaps the whole developed world that whether or not you are educated is far more important than whether or not you can think. In other words the fact that you know things is far more important than whether or not you could ever hope to meaningfully apply any of your knowledge. My future father-in-law (who is a retired economics professor) calls this the "Wizard of Oz" degree.

What!? No brain?! You don't need a brain, you need a bachelor's!

Certainly education is a good thing, but after having met more than a few graduating (and graduated) education majors I have to wonder if perhaps our university systems are missing a few points.


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I never let my schooling

I never let my schooling interfere with my education.

Of course proper spelling

Of course proper spelling and grammar--I believe--are more likely to turn up in intelligent people than in unintelligent people. Thus, using them as a proxy for intelligence cuts down on my information costs, and allows me greater ease in seeking people like myself. Of course if I rely too heavily on those assets I will miss the forest for the trees, but certainly there's nothing wrong with making decisions--even when those decisions are about other people--with less than perfect information.

As a high school student, I

As a high school student, I see this all the time. I don't know how it was in the past, but today class rankings have absolutely nothing to do with intelligence. They furiously scribble down every word the teachers say, every sketch they make on the board. They can tell you what year a president was elected, what his major agenda items were, and perhaps who his running mate was or who he defeated, but they're dumbstruck if you ask them how a certain part of his agenda affects us today. They can use calculators to find the roots of various functions, but they can't derive the simplest formulae or multiply in their head, and they couldn't estimate a problem's answer if their lives depended on it. They really, really hate thinking.

Language is the instrument

Language is the instrument with which we think. If the instrument is limited or defective, it will give poor results. To apply this principle to your example: if a person doesn't know the logic of agreement requires 'cost' and 'benefit' both to be singular, that person may also lack the means to apply the concept successfully.

Bottom line: grammar is important.

Maybe the dumb blond was

Maybe the dumb blond was making fun of your misspelling of rowdy.

This is a blog. Sometimes

This is a blog. Sometimes you type fast and misspell stuff (millwork for example) or you add or drop out letters where they were meant to be. The bottom line is the story I related was an anecdote. What I remember the guy saying was "costs-benefits" (which is what I thought I wrote here -sorry for the confusion) but the situation happened about 5 years ago so I could be wrong -my memory is good but not typically precise to the letter. In any case it is clear the guy did not understand what a cost-benefit (or costs-benefits) analysis was anyhow. To him it was a vocab word from econ class that had no bearing on the rest of the universe.

I do agree that grammar is important but for different reasons. Grammar is important because it gives us a means to express precisely what we mean. That being said not being able to express precisely what you mean because of limitations with your vocabulary or grammar may be frustrating, but that does not mean that you do not understand the concepts you are trying to communicate. Not everyone thinks alike, and some people can understand an idea conceptually but not be able to put it into words. Furthermore I have had plenty of stuff come out of my mouth and writing that was twisted up, and backwards grammatically because my brain had gotten ahead of my mouth. For example "I put the car in the cat, and now we're ready to go." You could conclude from this that I do not know that cars cannot typically fit into cats, and that therefore I do not really know conceptually what a car or a cat is. However, you would be wrong.


It doesn't matter how you spell "rowdy" "rawdy" "raudy" -it was meant to be slang, and it was on a poster. But no actually she was making fun of the "crawd" part, and she wasn't a natural blond either... she was frosted.

>>>she wasn’t a natural

>>>she wasn’t a natural blond either… she was frosted.<<<

That fucking bitch.

I would use italics, but I am stoopid.

"My point is this, there

"My point is this, there seems to be this wide spread notion in our country, and perhaps the whole developed world that whether or not you are educated is far more important than whether or not you can think. In other words the fact that you know things is far more important than whether or not you could ever hope to meaningfully apply any of your knowledge. My future father-in-law (who is a retired economics professor) calls this the “Wizard of Oz” degree."

And anyone who can't see that, doesn't know how to think.

Catch 22.

(insert here that stupid little fucking "end of the world is nigh"
smilie - I can't stand 'em)

For some reason I thought

For some reason I thought rowdy was spelled wrong. So I looked it up. Apparently the correct spelling is rowdy. Never was much good at spelling. I'm dirty blonde. Does that count?

I think that there is a

I think that there is a correlation between spelling and intelligence, but I think that people insecure about their intellectual ability are also the most likely to make fun of misspelling. Hence the "typo flame".

Y'all might wanna consider this:

It is a review of "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments" by Kruger and Dunning, which seems to have disappeared from APA and can be found on the Google cache.

Crawd: an informal crawdad.

Crawd: an informal crawdad. E.g. if I weren't vegan i might have thrown some crawds in the zatarain's gumbo that should be ready right about now, if I had some. I used wilted collards instead.
Maroon, while funny, could be considered racially derogatory and probably against store policy.
Part of the problem with thinking answers is that, while we might have an objective rote answer to 'who was president in 1927?", the thoughtful answer might not be the politically desired answer. The person questioned has to sort out not only is this the right answer but, is this the answer she's looking for? At a Home Despot job orientation, these things matter. A right but unpopular answer could affect one's career there. The law professor not knowing how to evaluate benfits and costs, what a maroon.
It was a good story worth telling, but the misspelling of rowdy was key to the deliberate mispelling of crawd, and was left unexplained, so it makes the story a little strange, and was a fair thing to comment on.
Off to check the gumbo.

once again "rawdy" was meant

once again "rawdy" was meant to be slang, and thus no one was paying attention to how it was spelled. It is interesting that my group was freaking out about the spelling of "crowd" but didn't notice the misspelling of "rowdy" as I did actually ask them at the time what they thought of the spelling (I was aiming for a redneck-esque theme with the title - my group just didn't get that). Which is why I thought it was bizarre that they freaked out over the spelling... Anyhow whats with all the blond stuff?

I referred to the "sterotypical dumb blond" because the girl was acting like a known sterotypem not because I thought that the sterotype was accurate for any particular hair color. Which is why I pointed out that she was "frosted." The behavior couldn't be attributed to hair color even on sterotypical grounds (if there is such a thing). Its simply a means of communicating an anonymous person in my class's manner of behavior without having to go into great detail.

But if yall want to have a comparative study of hair color and intelligence in the comments section be my guest. I probably won't read it though. Its not very interesting information.

"Maroon" is racial? So Bugs

"Maroon" is racial? So Bugs Bunny is a huge bigot? Or are you just saying that it might be irrationally inferred as one, like "niggardly" and "water buffalo" have famously been?