Why do we care what they think?

Thesis

Opinions resemble armpits; everyone's got a couple and they usually stink. The stinkiest examples have as much right to be heard as the deepest thinkers in our society, but the manner by which we choose our spokespeople befuddles. We propose that public spokespeople should demonstrate some level of academic achievement and/or research credentials.

Research Methodology

Formal research is performed through a wide variety of organizations; unless an individual chooses to make public their achievements, we cannot with all certainty assume that they have not met our criterion. In other words, we can't prove a negative. However, we can make a few assumptions in our search to locate academic or research achievement by specific individuals. Our research methodology follows these guidelines:

  1. Attempt to locate the personal web site for the individual and search for a CV or resume that details publications or research projects.
  2. Search the Internet for instances of the individual's name appearing in "pdf" formatted files. This format is the common denominator for the vast majority of academic research publications.
  3. Search the internet for instances of the individual's name appearing on an education-oriented web site; a domain with the ".edu" suffix. Hopefully this search will provide a glimpse into any courses taught or research performed in conjunction with an academic institution.

Note that this research is not fool-proof. We welcome contributions from the public at large to improve our fact-finding efforts.

Completely Arbitrary Test Case

Consider that bastion of free speech, The View. For over 10 years this syndicated show has featured a decidedly sexist cast of social commentators who somehow manage to garner an audience despite (we assert) a glaring lack of credentials.

Rosie O'Donnell

Ms. O'Donnell boasts a high school education and brief stints in two colleges. She achieved fame and fortune through stand-up comedy, movie acting, and daytime talk show hosting. She has no letters behind her name, although she is a published author. She has given us such titles as Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty U: 100 Easy Projects the Whole Family Can Enjoy All Year Long, and her memoir/detective story titled Find Me. Her pet projects include children's charities such as her Rosie's For All Kids Foundation. Without question, Rosie has leveraged her fame and her lifestyle to raise millions of dollars for non-profit organizations.

We visited Ms. O'Donnell's web site, http://www.rosie.com/, to investigate her credentials. The site is a strong advocate for social causes such as children's rights. Nowhere on the site did we find any indication of published research or scholarship in the formal sense. We also searched the research database at The National Center for Children in Poverty; no publications referenced Ms. O'Donnell nor was she credited as an author.

Internet Searches

We performed this Google Search: Rosie O'Donnell filetype:pdf. The results were overwhelming. We observed that 13,500 results were returned. Google only reveals the first 1000 results. In that sample set we found no evidence of research or demonstration of scholarship on the part of Ms. O'Donnell. The documents we reviewed consisted primarily of press releases, student reports, and commercial publications. To Ms. O'Donnell's benefit, we located a reading list published by the NYU Cancer Institute endorsing her book Bosom Buddies. Ms. O'Donnell is listed as a co-author with Deborah Axelrod, M.D., F.A.C.S. Many other documents chronicled Ms. O'Donnell's activities in the civil rights community, which is certainly to her credit but still no evidence of scholarship or research on her part .

We also performed this Google Search: Rosie O'Donnell site:.edu filetype:pdf. Google returned 1980 results. Google only reveals the first 1000 results. In that sample set we found no evidence of research or demonstration of scholarship on the part of Ms. O'Donnell . The documents we reviewed consisted primarily of reports and other publications that referenced Ms. O'Donnell.

Whoopi Goldberg

Ms. Goldberg did not attend college. She did deliver the 2002 commencement address 2002 at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Her writing credits include the Sugar Plum Ballerinas series on which she is listed as a co-author with Deborah Underwood and Maryn Roos. She also collaborated with illustrator 'Olo' to create Whoopi's Big Book of Manners.

Ms. Goldberg boasts an extensive list of credits for acting in numerous movies and television shows. She has undoubtedly become an icon of popular entertainment. She moves easily between stand-up comedy, major motion pictures, and the small screen. She is one of only a handful of people to win a Grammy, a Tony, an Oscar, and an Emmy.

Ms. Goldberg takes an active role in civil rights issues. She performs at fundraisers and effectively uses her high visibility to raise money for social causes.

We were unable to find a personal web site for Ms. Goldberg. The obvious choice, http://whoopigoldberg.com/, appears to be occupied by Internet squatters. http://whoopigoldberg.net is a 'fan site' that has yet to be developed.

Internet Searches

We performed this Google Search: whoopi goldberg filetype:pdf. The results were overwhelming. We observed that 13,500 results were returned. Google only reveals the first 1000 results. In that sample set we found no evidence of research or demonstration of scholarship on the part of Ms. Goldberg. The documents we reviewed consisted primarily of press releases, student reports, and commercial publications.

We also performed this Google Search: whoopi goldberg site:.edu filetype:pdf.Google returned 1130 results. Google only reveals the first 1000 results. In that sample set we found no evidence of research or demonstration of scholarship on the part of Ms. Goldberg. The documents we reviewed consisted primarily of reports and other publications that referenced Ms. Goldberg.

Conclusion and Future Work

While our subjects have achieved undeniable popular fame, they have demonstrated no formal academic achievement nor have they produced any original research that can be located through basic Internet searches. The subjects manage to build and maintain large audiences of viewers who evidently have some level of interest in their opinions on a wide variety of subjects.

Future work might include expanded research on the academic and research achievements of our subjects. Additional subjects could also be considered and possible qualified (according to our framework) candidates to replace them might  be suggested.

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Comments 16 comments

Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 7 years ago from The East Coast

Your line that The View was the bastion of free speech was hilarious.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

@Flightkeeper: It's free as long as you agree with the Liberals. Otherwise it's time for the beat down.


jiberish profile image

jiberish 7 years ago from florida

Why would you assume that they should have any credentials, it's become the American way. Not formal education, or achievements neccessary as long as you can blow hot air.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 7 years ago

These people should stick to stand up, if that is their thing. Giving them a forum for anything else is ludicrous. Personally, I could care less what they think, and when I stumble on one of them espousing their"views" I change the channel. Great hub. You should send it Rosie and Whoppi.


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

There are numerous people, both in my country and overseas, who share my name and also are well lettered in realms ranging from rocket science to psychiatry. Why should I have to gain some acknowledged qualification before expressing my opinion gratis on a disparate variety of subjects? It's already been proven that persons called (TOF) are naturally mentally superior, my wasting 7 years or more of my life to confirm this is just re-inventing the wheel.

Those seven years can be far more gainfully employed setting the world to rights at every opportunity and without solicitation. I'll certainly listen with a completely open mind to any disagreement to my opinion one may make before taking the time to show the error of those puerile ramblings.

This shouldn't be construed as arrogance, we can't avoid our comparative perfection.

KMA,

TOF.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

@The Old Firm: ditto


smarleygrl7 profile image

smarleygrl7 7 years ago

Old Firm, I am a little confused as to what TOF means, but I do not believe anyone is superior over any one else. Regardless of any lack of or gain of academic achievements. I believe that we all have a little added knowledge to share with one another according to experiences, knowledge acquired and how we apply ourselves in life. Furthermore, in my opnion, alot of people tend to listen to celebrities more so than we normal people because we feel they have achieved more than us for some reason. Society has placed them as high achievers just because they have made it to the spotlight. Whether they made it by chance or extreme sacrifice. I do not believe however that they have achieved so much more than I or contributed anything more to society. Yet I have only a little college with no degree and I like the rest of you have a hubpage sharing my views and opnions. It is not the degree that makes the person but the character. These people have no moral standing other than the few non profit organizations they help and usually for their own gain in the public view.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Nicomp, anybody can create a .pdf file. That's an odd criterion for determining academic excellence.


greatAmerican profile image

greatAmerican 7 years ago

Freedom of speech is great, I don't have to read Rosie or

Whoopie, I don't have to agree with them, I could care less

what any liberals have to say since the word Liberal says it all.. When they tell me I can't or should not listen to certain radio programs, or I can't or should not write material they call objectionable, I have a real problem with that!!


nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

@Aya Katz: (very) generally speaking, all published research appears in PDF form, but not all PDF documents are published research. My methodology erred on the side of caution.

@greatAmerican: Indeed, we don't have to listen. I'm simply putting forth a benchmark for measuring the folks that many people seem to listen to. My thesis is certainly open to dispute and is based on my experience as a researcher and scientist. All are welcome to suggest other benchmarks.


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Don't red herrings make marvellous bait? I barely cast and I got a strike.

Cheers,

TOF.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

@The Old Firm: Are you accusing me of Greenmail?


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Not you, Blue.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Wouldn't it be nice if opining were restricted to those with (verifiable) higher degrees! There is one problem with that. Well, besides the obvious fatal flaw since there will never be a day when all Americans go to college. Let's get us all health care first then maybe think about BAs for all.

The main problem is that the higher you go on the academic sscale, the bigger the egos. The bigger the egos, the more ppompous the opinions and the less tolerant of others'.... views:-).

No disrespect meant to you TOF.

Just couldn't resist.

This is a very funny hub. I just wish you'd included research on that little blonde bee-yatch Elizabeth too. I bet she's got herself a Ph.D. in rocket science. Oh yeah.


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Hey MM, I graduated in the school of experience, it's my namesakes wot got the degrees, Ise too busy offering free opinions, eh.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA Author

@The Old Firm: And your opinions, like mine, are worth every penny!

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