Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Bob Jones: University degrees

The degradation of university degrees over my life-time, is tragic. Readers familiar with my novel of 20 years back, “Degrees For Everyone” will understand. Consider this.

A regular contributor in the NZ Herald is a Canterbury University sociologist, (a bogus subject lacking any intellectual element) namely a Dr Jarrod Gilbert. In a recent Herald article he wrote, “… I told you how me and a mate bought shares in a couple of racehorses”.

So me bought shares in a racehorse. This abominable illiteracy is typical of why I now see little value in a liberal university education when instead one can self-educate through reading.

Degrees are now sprayed about like confetti and are totally meaningless. Judging by this quote Jarrod would make a greater contribution to society holding a stop-go sign.

Another example reported in the Post quoted a Wellington Lower Court judge Nicola Wills saying of an offender he “had picked up a full 15 litre water container and threw it at a line of police.”

It’s unbelievable. “Had” is past tense thus the Judge should have said “thrown”, not “threw”.

Throw your cell-phone away Nicola and start reading books.

In a Post interview with a 19 year old Victoria University student Anatasia Reid, she’s quoted saying, “I was born in Auckland but moved to Wellington when I was 2 and have spent my whole life here”.

It’s bloody mind-blowing. No Anatasia, you haven’t spent your whole life here in Wellington if your first two years were in Auckland. Again, throw away your cell-phone girl and start reading.

Finally, in August The Listener ran an interesting article by John Saker who was a key figure in Labour’s advertising agency for the 1993 election. Saker’s thesis was that Labour might have won had the agency been allowed to do something they’d planned for the last week’s campaign. However, I raise this for a different reason. Brace yourself.

Saker wrote of his strategy, “We never mentioned the Opposition” then immediately followed that black and white emphatic assertion with the next sentence reading, “One of the few times we did…”

It’s bloody unbelievable, more so coming from a supposedly professional wordsmith. And what of the Listener’s sub-editors who should have picked this up?

John; take note. You either mentioned it or you didn’t.

All of this is testimony to the rapidly declining literacy arising from electronic communication dependency.

Sir Bob Jones is a renowned author, columnist , property investor, and former politician, who blogs at No Punches Pulled HERE - where this article was sourced.


Silver Surfer NZ said...

You did not mention the left-wing views of many lecturers that students have to accept or they fail. The days of critical thinking and free speech in the NZ universities are past. Let's go back to on-the-job training, especially for reporters. Note-I do not call them journalists.

Robert Arthur said...

On RNZ this morning about 9.30 observations about the abyssmal writing ability of upper high scool and universty students. Especially for late 1990s. Blamed on teachers not knowing how to instill the basics. (Although as Bob oberves extensive reading can counter. For boys who cannot stand the soppy stuff, I recommend Churchill, especially the early. ie "My Early Life".

DeeM said...

Can't get too excited about minor grammatical errors or contradictory statements, apart from in the case of the supposed journalist who clearly should know better.

Anyway, this has little to do with university degrees and everything to do with schooling. You don't have to attend university to learn "'ow to speak and write proper, like".

University is meant to concentrate on higher learning, not the basics. We all know that is no longer true and many degrees are barely concealed political indoctrination.

That's what we should be getting wound up about.

Anonymous said...

You've reminded me of a lecture wherein the lecturer reminded students that "text language is not appropriate in essays."

It's possible that being able to speak scruffily (and dress the same, and wear tattoos) is regarded by some as more "authentic", anything else being elitist.

Barend Vlaardingerbroek said...

A true word well spoken, DeeM. However, I must confess that grammatical laxity annoys me immensely and makes me question the reliability of the yokel on the keyboard. I put a lot of down to the americanisation of the mass and social media.

Laurence said...

What about the previous PM's Honorary Doctorate and her Fellowships from Harvard? That denigrates that university's degrees.

Anonymous said...

A note to DeeM and Barend Vlaardingerbroek and all others who open and read very thing that Sir Robert writes and opines on -

Tom Scott, went to Massey University, Palmerston North - not sure what subject matter he studied, other than the compulsory Year 1 - "getting pissed at local Palmy waterholes" (and I believe he also played Rugby) - and then move to the (then) Dominion Post to become a Cartoonist. Wow, 3 -4 years at Uni to draw pictures! Oh and he has become an Author.

DeeM said...

To Anonymous at 12.00PM

I'm sure there's a point in your comment somewhere but I can't see how it relates to my earlier comment.
By the way, seeing as how we're picking on poor grammar it's "and then moves (not move) to the Dominion Post". Also Author does not have a capital A.

See what I mean? It's all a bit picky, really!

Anonymous said...

I agree whole a degree (no pun intended, honestly).

My grammar is terrible, my spelling just as bad, my ability to structure sentences, almost non existent. But I don't care now days.

However, I am very lucky as I have done pretty darn well in life and bring a differing set of skills to the table. So I have to agree with DeeM, there have been ppl in my past who have pulled me up on my writing ability, to which my response was usually ' yes, and it will be just as bad tomorrow, but i am working on improving - at least I'm not fat and ugly' , that usually shuts them up....especially if they were fat and ugly! :)

Doug Longmire said...

Another one that I hear all the time is the word "vulnerable" pronounced as "vunnleribble".

Don said...

Forget the pedantry ; what matters is getting your communication across without confusion. The reader should be able to see errors and correct them in his/her own comprehension of the message.
The cheapening of degrees is another trend. Where once we struggled towards qualifications in worthwhile studies now every second student gains a PhD in esoteric studies like Maori language (?) or sociological phenomena. Lecturers are now mostly Professors and former agricultural colleges and the like have become "Universities." Dumbing Down is the name of the game.

Basil Walker said...

And then there is the issue of Hon James Shaw , co leader of the Greens. He has lied about his NZ degree and will NOT prove his claim of a UK degree.
I do not accept poor spelling and grammar from people charging me for their services but putting Te Reo in a public communication is a sin worse than global warming , treason or bigamy .