Dr Gray's libel-threats backfire

Gavin Sheridan has been threatened by "Dr." John "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, I am From Uranus" Gray for declaring that Gray was a fraud whose degrees came from a diploma mill. Gray's lawyers demanded a retraction and reserved the right to sue for libel anyway.

Well, in an act of increasingly common Internet judo, Sheridan posted the nastygram, and the collective outrage from other Web-writers has spread the news of Gray's bullying -- and the dirt behind his degrees. Threatening to sue in order to silence a critic has simply spread the criticism much, much farther.

For example, have a look at this post in the Washington Monthly, in which Gray's credentials are attacked further:

Gavin's post says none of his degrees are from accredited universities. The lawyer's letter says only that Columbia Pacific was an approved university.

This is a considerable difference, since until 1989 pretty much anyone who felt like it could call themselves a university in the state of California. A few years after this changed, Columbia Pacific was shut down when it was found to be what is colloquially referred to as a diploma mill.

So then, was Columbia Pacific ever accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the accrediting body for western universities? And what about the Maharishi European Research University in Switzerland, where Gray got his BA and MA?

Nope. As the producers of Inside Edition verified in a show aired last November, none of these are accredited universities.

You know, as the possessor of a bona-fide fake Doctor of Divinity from the Universal Life Church, this really steams me. I worked hard to get my fake degree, so that I could add that all-important Dr. to the front of my name, becoming Dr. Cory Doctorow. Reverend Dr. Cory Doctorow. People like Gray give people like me with fake degrees a bad name. We aren't all bullies, you know. Some of us are quite proud of our fake education. Proud of our fraud. We don't sue people who call us out on it. We take those people out for drinks and thank them. Because we're proud. Very, very proud.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out this exhaustive run-down on the standard of education that Gray's alma maters hold themselves to:

* One master's-degree student was given credit for "a learning contract describing how he would continue taking dance lessons and watch dance demonstrations in order to improve his skills as a Country Western dancer."

* A Ph.D. dissertation written in Spanish was approved by four faculty who cannot speak the language.

* One dissertation "had no hypothesis, no data collection, and no statistical analysis. A member of the visiting committee characterized the work as more like a project paper at the college freshman level." The dissertation, The Complete Guide to Glass Collecting, was 61 pages long.

Link (via Dan Gillmor)