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No, seriously. The Harvard University Press just published a comic book.

I don’t care that it tries to communicate complex mathematical theories (I admit that comics — aren’t we supposed to call them “graphic novels” now? — can be complex. I’ve read Maus). The point is that it’s not academic. It does not have footnotes. It does not contain references. I can’t believe this qualified as a doctoral thesis outside of an Arts school.

(Well, wait. The author was at Teacher’s College. That actually explains a LOT — just look at OISE‘s record.)

NO WONDER we have junk grad students teaching us how to finish your doctorate in 6 months, even when you don’t have a topic yet. NO WONDER there are more PhDs purchased than earned. (Can we even trust the thousands of Chinese PhDs? Please note: this is not a comment against Chinese people, just the universities that persist in offering degrees despite numerous plagiarism scandals.) Apparently the PhD is going the way of the MBA: a pretty piece of Latinate paper that announces you’ve succeeded in making a few people like you. Sadly, unlike the MBA, the PhD may well decrease your earning potential.

It’s pretty pathetic when a university press publishes a low-tier pop culture book masquerading as an academic work (and it’s low-tier because I suspect it’s not going to sell a lot of copies). Maybe I’m a snob (okay, I’m definitely a snob). But everyone involved in this decision — creator who wrote a comic instead of a thesis, supervisor who let it pass, editor who commissioned and approved it, and Press as a whole — should be ashamed of themselves. Way to open the gates to the barbarian hordes, guys.

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