Back in November of 2003, this weblog post (by journalist Gavin Sheridan) accused author John Gray of exaggerating his educational credentials. Well, to be more precise, it called him a "fraud" for claiming a PhD from "Columbia Pacific University", which was shut down by the state of California in 2000 for "award[ing] excessive credit for prior experiential learning to many students; fail[ing] to employ duly qualified faculty; and fail[ing] to meet various requirements for issuing Ph.D. degrees." Gray apparently had some lawyers issue a threatening letter, which included the additional information that his B.A. and M.A. are from "Maharishi European Research University". The result has been to publicize the questions about Gray's credentials much more widely, since the story was picked up by Glen Reynolds (here and here) among others.
Gray is the author of the "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" series, popularizing a version of the "two cultures" (or in this case perhaps "two planets") theories about inter-gender communication, originated in an academically more serious form by Deborah Tannen and others. That's a topic for another post -- the only new thing that I've learned about it from reading the blog entries cited above is that Gray's own communications skills are apparently so finely tuned that he's been able to talk his way through eight marriages. Here I'm just registering another sign of his success as a communicator, namely the spread of the "X are from Mars, Y are from Venus" snowclone.
A bit of internet searching turns up X/Y pairs from many domains, including
web searchers/ browsers
As far as I know, this formula is original to Gray (unless it was suggested by some anonymous editor or editorial lackey). I'm not convinced that theories of inter-cultural communication have significantly improved relationships between any of the X's and Y's in the list, but I could be wrong.Posted by Mark Liberman at March 27, 2004 05:10 AM