6 Impressive Titles That Aren't As Impressive As You Think
Real life isn't like an old-timey comic book, where cops have names like Goodguy McDefenderson and most mad scientist surnames are just synonyms for "evil." That's why titles are important: They let us know at a glance who is worthy of trust and respect. Unfortunately, some of the most prestigious titles are way easier to get than you probably thought ...
If you're at a party and are introduced to a distinguished-looking British gentleman who has the title "sir" in his name, you know you're in the presence of somebody special. This is a freaking knight here -- somebody who was called out for their accomplishments by the freaking queen herself. In England, just belonging to the Order of the British Empire (even if it's not as a full-blown knight) is possibly the greatest honor you can experience outside of getting to play James Bond.
"Do we have shex now, darling?"
Why It's B.S.:
Actually, around 2,000 people get this distinction every year, and recent inductees include comic book writer Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted, and Sonic The Comic) and David Cameron's hairdresser. The "distinguished service" he was honored for, apparently, was changing the direction in which the prime minister parts his hair.
Cameron's blow dryer was named a commander.
At least those aren't actual knights of the Order: They are merely lower-ranked MBEs (members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). However, the U.K. is not the worst offender when it comes to indiscriminate titling. France, in a perfectly France-like move, recently knighted a celebrity florist who isn't even French (he's from Ogden, Utah). In Italy, another non-native got the "knight" title when royalty heard about how hard he was working to ensure the purity of olive oil. Sure, mislabeled condiments are a bummer, but Knight of Olive Oil? Really?
Actual photo from the ceremony.
And finally there's the Netherlands, which apparently hands out knighthoods in lieu of tips whenever they're short on cash. In 2011, the Netherlands team won the Baseball World Cup, and instead of giving out prize money, they just knighted the whole team. This included current Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius -- or Sir Didi Gregorius, as he calls himself on Twitter, just because he can.
The team has begged him to stop hitting the baseballs with his sword, though.
Mensa is the biggest worldwide society for smart people who, instead of inventing cool robots or curing cancer, prefer to sit around playing board games and having weird swinger parties. That's how smart they are. They don't have to prove anything to anyone!
After all, Mensa accepts only people who test as being in the top 2 percent of the world's IQ, so there must be something to it that us dumb mortals aren't getting, right?
Why It's B.S.:
That "top 2 percent" might sound like an impressively tiny number of people, but it equates to millions of Americans. Statistically speaking, a good chunk of those people must watch The Bachelor, and we bet at least one or two are thinking of voting for Donald Trump. Out of those millions, only 56,000 people in the U.S. (and the same number in the rest of the world) have gone through the process of getting certified as super-smart. The truth is, Mensans are members not because they're the exclusive few who qualify but because they're the exclusive few who want to be members.
Or whose mommies and daddies want them to be members.
And then there's the fact that Mensa accepts a bazillion different tests, and not all of them are super strict. A dude who was taking the Miller Analogies Test to apply to grad school found out that it was legal to buy the previous year's test and study from it. He did that, aced the test, and Mensa sent him a note that he qualified for admission. Another former member casually explained in an interview that she had full-blown cheated on the entrance exam by getting phone assistance from a Mensan friend (somehow, his superior intellect didn't warn him that this would get both of them kicked out).
Oh, and then you have the fact that IQ tests in general are fundamentally flawed and were popularized by eugenics-loving assholes -- exactly like Mensa itself. Which might explain why we didn't have to scroll down a lot on the American Mensa Facebook page before coming across gems like this one:
Even if one of those "likes" is his own, that's still an alarmingly high number of racists. [subtitle]Esquire (As In "[Your Name], Esq.")[/subtitle]
Besides being a magazine best known for ranking women based on their body parts, "Esquire" is also used as a fancy way to say you're a lawyer. Seeing "Esq." at the end of someone's name instantly conjures the image of an old, distinguished attorney sitting in a studio padded with diplomas. It also means your ass is about to get sued, probably.
Those Metallica MP3s you downloaded back in 2002 are finally catching up to you.
Why It's B.S.:
So, exactly how many years of law school do you have to suffer through before you can unlock the coveted "Esq." name extension? The answer is none, because there is no law that states that it designates an attorney, nor does any organization officially regulate its use. As long as you're not going out of your way to trick people into thinking you're a lawyer, anyone can throw an "Esq." at the end of their name and no one will give a shit. Especially not real lawyers, who often consider it kind of pretentious.
Believe it or not, Bill S. Preston, Esq., may not have passed the bar exam.
The word "esquire" dates back to the Middle Ages in England, where it meant "candidate for knighthood" -- that is, the guys who had to carry around the actual knights' shields. Their interns, basically. Eventually, people started using the word to refer to anyone who was less important than a knight but more of a big shot than a gentleman. From there, it came to designate figures of authority like sheriffs, sergeants ... or barristers. Apparently, the U.S. didn't catch most of that and retained only the last part, but no one ever put it in the law books or anything. Eesh, what a shitshow of a country.
Like we said, feel free to call yourself "Esq." all you want, but only if it's clear that you're not a lawyer (turns out impersonating one is pretty illegal, regardless of what words you use to do it). To make sure you're on the clear, we recommend you always carry an authentic medieval shield among your personal items, just in case.
Lord (Of The Manor)
Most of our readers are in the USA, so most of you have probably never encountered someone with the title "lord" in your life. Still, if your boss walked into the office and said, "We need to clean up around here, Lord Farnsworth Wellington is visiting this afternoon!" you'd probably find yourself wishing you'd showered. It doesn't matter if you don't know the name -- he's a freaking lord! That's some kind of royalty, right?
Why It's B.S.:
As it turns out, the handle "lord of the manor" has little to do with being actual royalty, and you can totally get your hands on it if you're willing to go the extra mile. And by that, we mean navigate to a dick-pill-looking website and give them your credit card number.
The finest nobility titles a Canadian pharmacy has to offer.
Basically, in England there are tons of pieces of land with titles attached to them, and the aristocrats who own them are putting them up for sale. The technical term for their motivation is "being broke as shit," and although qualifying as poor in such circles doesn't require living on benefits in your mom's basement, it does mean that the prices are pretty much those of normal real estate.
Now, being a lord of the manor isn't the same as being a plain old lord, but it does give you the ability to put that word in some legal documents. As long as you don't care about that distinction (and have thousands of dollars to spend on frivolous bullshit) you can buy one of these pieces of land and officially become "lord of the manor of [name of area]" as a bonus. Some sites even offer five-square-foot mini-plots of land for the budget-conscious pretentious asshole.
The only way we'd pay more than $5 is if there was a manor called "The Rings."
Before you spend money on this expecting to get respect and adoration, bear in mind that some Kardashian-connected dope has one of these titles (though some claim he got scammed). Ex-boxer Chris Eubank also bought the lord of the manor of Brighton title for fun, and a random couple owns the lordship of the manor of Hollinsclough. One dude with a lord of the manor title even collected money from people passing through his land to get home, which was somehow legal, despite the fact that the title has as much social significance as being Starbucks' customer of the week.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America, an organization that prides itself in building young men's character and being among the last ones to realize how embarrassing it is to keep hating on LGBT people. Becoming an Eagle Scout requires years of hard work, effort, and learning to tie a variety of knots that sound like uncomfortable sex positions.
We're pretty sure we saw Sailmaker's Whipping 3 in the back of a video store once.
In theory, only a select few are able to become Eagle Scouts, and often these people go on to become super successful in their respective fields: Neil Armstrong, Steven Spielberg, Michael Bloomberg, President Gerald Ford ...
Why It's B.S.:
... which doesn't mean your little overachiever will amount to anything, because getting the Eagle Scout title is apparently not quite as hard as it used to be. The percentage of scouts who make it to Eagle was a little over 1 percent in the '90s, but it started rising rapidly -- it's currently at 6 percent.
There is also a close correlation with the yearly rise in church basement rentals.
So what happened? Well, it's an open secret in the Boy Scouts that some troops operate as "Eagle Factories" (aka "Eagle Farms" or "advancement mills") where top-ranking scouts are churned out like Chinese knockoffs. The end result may pass for the real thing at first glance, but it's shoddy and a disappointment for everyone. One assistant scoutmaster put it like this: "[It's] mostly ... to get 'Eagle Scout' on college applications. Merit badge classes are a rubber-stamp joke, for the most part, and the whole 'Scout Spirit' bit is shown just by showing up, not actually being a 'good scout.'"
Perhaps it's not a coincidence that, while previous generations of Eagle Scouts gave us the first man on the moon and the genius who directed the killer truck movie, more recent ones have produced ... uh, whatever a "David Archuleta" is and this guy:
"After this I'll show you how to safely burn my whole campaign."
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker often used his Eagle Scout title as part of his campaign, at one point even posting a picture of himself folding the American flag "just like how he learned in the Scouts." The problem is, the technique he used was nothing like the official flag-origami routine. Hopefully it's not too late for Mr. and Mrs. Walker to return him to the factory and get their money back.
Doctors have truly earned the privilege of wearing Crocs in a professional setting: They've survived med school and know more about your squishy insides than you ever will or want to know. There are few professions that deserve as much respectability as doctors. And, hell, even if it's not a doctor of medicine (i.e., a doctorate in law, philosophy, etc.) that still means they've put just a shitload of study into their selected field -- you're very safe assuming that anyone with "Dr." in front of their name is pretty smart.
Why It's B.S.:
First of all, an increasing number of nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, and other non-physicians are going back to school for an extra year just to be able to call themselves "Dr." and get that extra air of authority. Various health-related jobs now require doctorates in an effort to get more credibility, bypass MDs, and ultimately make more money. Which is fine, but if you're at the hospital and a white coat-wearing employee introduces themselves as Dr. [name], there's a chance they're not actually a physician.
"What? Oh, no, I'm a doctor of janitorial arts. Anyway, you're a eunuch now."
But then there are the shady types who take advantage of the fact that there aren't tons of regulations restricting when you can call yourself "Dr." in public, which we're assuming is how Dr. Dre gets away with it. Unfortunately, more and more people are jumping on the doc train to riches, fame, and borderline malpractice. Oprah's buddy Dr. Phil regularly talks about weight loss and promotes diets ... despite having a Ph.D. in psychology, not a doctorate in medicine.
Now that you mention it, we don't know either.
Talk radio personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger did the opposite -- she became a star in the 1990s giving relationship advice as "Dr. Laura," when her degree was in physiology (her doctoral thesis was on the effect of insulin on laboratory rats). Then you have people like celeb "doctor" Gillian McKeith, whose degree is from an unaccredited university.
The point is, in each case people have realized "Dr." is a shortcut to instant credibility -- even though their knowledge may be in a completely different field, if it exists at all. Don't be afraid to question them on that shit.
Dr. Rachel, Esq., is the writer of this article. Follow her on Twitter!
It turns out us common folk are qualified for all sorts of cool shit. Like anyone can become a black belt or be the next Dog The Bounty Hunter. See what we mean in 5 Epic Achievements That Aren't As Impressive As You Think and 6 Badass Jobs That You're Probably Already Qualified to Do.
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