Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NYTimes on the zu Guttenberg Affair

Here. It's a nice summary of how the story unfolded -- including protests that involved hanging "shoes on the iron fence outside the Defense Ministry in Berlin in a sly ... allusion ... to the missing footnotes in Mr. Guttenberg’s dissertation."

I can excerpt from many different sections of that story, but I'll go with what Krugman chose (through whom I got the link):

Ms. Merkel, a former academic married to a professor, was being accused of belittling intellectual property theft and, by implication, the value of an advanced degree, which is not a purely academic matter in this country. Many jobs require such degrees in Germany, where, as is not the case in America, calling oneself doctor for having completed a thesis in, say, political science or art history, is not embarrassing but normal, even when filling out Lufthansa’s online booking forms. (The airline generously provides three levels of academic achievement for its overachieving countrymen: doctor, professor and professor doctor, skipping the extremely rare but not unheard-of German mouthful Herr Professor Doctor Doctor).