Phi Beta Cons

Are There No Longer Masters of Anything?

Harvard University, not wanting to be left behind in the current torrent of campus madness, has taken its own small action to relieve our society of the shame of long-ago slavery.

As reported by The Washington Post, it seems that the Harvard undergraduate colleges each have in residence a senior faculty member, known as a “House Master.” Since the word “master” conjures up images of the aforementioned slavery, this term must be dropped.

That gets me to wondering how far Harvard thinks we need to go in order to purify our nation of any political incorrectness. I guess master plumbers (or electricians, carpenters, etc.) will no longer be tolerated. Master’s of Arts or Master’s of Business Administration degrees? Presumably Harvard (and other universities) will drop these as well. For women, there can be no corresponding “Mistress of Arts” degrees, since that could be considered a reference to the wife of a plantation owner, sometimes called (again, 150 years ago, mind you) the “mistress of the house.”

Shopping for a new padlock? The Masterlock Company will need to re-establish its brand image with a totally new name, new advertising, etc. Of course, this will cost a small fortune for the thousands of companies that have the temerity to include the word “master” in their name or products.

Are the “House Masters” of Harvard so disconnected from reality that they can’t see how ridiculous all of this is, and how they are playing their bit role in holding the higher education system up to mockery? I presume all of the ”House Masters” hold doctoral degrees, which reminds me again that earning an advanced degree is no guarantee of possessing common sense.

Vic Brown had a thirty-year career in the chemical industry with FMC Corporation, where he held senior positions and worked internationally in sales, marketing, manufacturing, information technology and procurement.


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