A friend who needs to remain anonymous had a ridiculous blow to his ego the other day. He recently published a well-reviewed book on a fascinating historical episode. It’s the definitive work on the event. Wonderfully, National Geographic TV decided to do a documentary on the incident. My friend’s book is understandably the main source for the film. They interviewed him extensively.
But not on camera. You see, they explained, we won’t show people without a doctorate.
Some of my best friends have PhDs, but to see the holders of a degree as the sole possessors of authority is nonsensical. I think the gifted writer or researcher outside the academy should be cherished and celebrated. And the twin powers of widespread access to knowledge through the Internet and the distribution channels of blogs, podcasts and vlogs mean that contributions from outside conventional centers will grow in importance and recognition.