Considerable repetition, verbosity and vagueness of expression

Also in the Guardian, and not particularly significant but kind of amusing…why Carter Page had such a hard time defending his PhD thesis.

In emails seen by the Guardian, Page compares his decade-long struggle to get a postgraduate qualification to the ordeal suffered by Mikhail Khodorkovsy – the Russian oligarch sent to a Siberian prison by Vladimir Putin.

In one unhappy note to his examiners, he writes: “Your actions to date have been far more destructive than anything I have personally experienced in my 39 years on this planet.” The fate of Khodorkovsky, he adds, represents “the closest analogy in recent history to my trials”.

Well at least we can see he had a scholarly sense of proportion and fitness.

Page first submitted his thesis on central Asia’s transition from communism to capitalism in 2008. Two respected academics, Professor Gregory Andrusz, and Dr Peter Duncan, were asked to read his thesis and to examine him in a face-to-face interview known as a viva.

Andrusz said he had expected it would be “easy” to pass Page, a student at the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas). He said it actually took “days and days” to wade through Page’s work. Page “knew next to nothing” about social science and seemed “unfamiliar with basic concepts like Marxism or state capitalism,” the professor said.

The viva, held at University College, London, went badly. “Page seemed to think that if he talked enough, people would think he was well-informed. In fact it was the reverse,” Andrusz said. He added that Page was “dumbfounded” when the examiners told him he had failed.

Doesn’t that sound exactly like his future boss? Who once told a journalist he’s the best expert on foreign affairs because he has a very good brain and he’s said a lot of things? Exact words.

Their subsequent report was withering. It said Page’s thesis was “characterised by considerable repetition, verbosity and vagueness of expression”, failed to meet the criteria required for a PhD, and needed “substantial revision”. He was given 18 months to produce another draft.

Also sounds like the boss, who babbles instead of saying anything of substance. Page tried again, failed again, pitched a fit, got new examiners, finally got his PhD.

Here’s where Trump said it, back in March 2016:

Donald Trump finally shared the name of someone he consults on foreign policy: himself.

Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” who he talks with consistently about foreign policy, Trump responded, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.”

Yep. The more things you say, the better expert you become.

5 Responses to “Considerable repetition, verbosity and vagueness of expression”