Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I thought of Foucault's essay again when I recently came across a psychological study showing that Americans tend to choose careers whose labels resemble their names. Thus the name Dennis is statistically overrepresented among dentists, and the ranks of geoscientists contain disproportionately high numbers of Georges and Geoffreys. The study ascribed these phenomena to "implicit egotism": the "generally positive feelings" that people have about their own names. I wonder whether some of the Dennises in dentistry school ended up there by a different motivation: the secret wish to bring arbitrary language in tune with physical reality.
—Elif Batuman (in The Chronicle of Higher Education)

(From Rachel.)



Blogger mallard said...

Future Career Options: NATionalist, NATuralist, neoNATal nurse, Spy (NATional Security Agency), NATurist, gNAT (entomologist), Great American Author (Nathaniel Hawthorne).

Wow, if I had known it was so easy, I wouldn't have bothered spending all this money for a fancy edumacation.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Fallback gig for Batuman: elifator operator?

2:49 PM  
Blogger mallard said...

Or superhero.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Well played!

6:54 PM  

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