You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. - Abraham Lincoln
This is in reply to three inquiries which I received: (a) What is my opinion of the National Certification Examination (NCE)? (b) Is NCE useful for spiritual massage healers? And, (c) Does NCE help protect the public from injuries by incompetent massage therapists? My answer to such questions is influenced by my life experience. Therefore, before I reply, let me tell you where I'm coming from. You will then understand why I respond the way I do. The following are some of the things that influence my thinking about NCE.
When I am asked about something which involves money, what usually comes to mind: "What does it cost?" "Who pays?" and "Who gets the money?" I react this way because I grew up in the Great Depression that began in 1929. So, the first thing that enters my mind when I'm asked what I think of NCE is, "What has it cost massage therapists and other bodyworkers?" The answer is that they have paid about $3,000,000 for NCE to date. I'll comment on this later.
Another factor that influences my thinking is that I am a scientist who has been doing research for over half a century. My research was concerned with cancer, multiple sclerosis, atherosclerosis, tuberculosis, poliomyelities virus, other infectious diseases, nutrition, fluoridation of drinking water, soil science, curriculum development, methods of teaching science, etc. I have also done research on NCE since it was first proposed, on massage for more than a decade, and on state massage laws for several years. My response to inquiries about what I think of NCE therefore reflects the training and analytical thinking of a research scientist for whom clarity, precision, and definition are indispensable for clear and analytical thinking.
When I write about bodywork and related subjects, these are not things with which I, as a research scientist, have had little or no personal experience. I have over a period of years done and taught Swedish Massage and Therapeutic Touch. I have hands-on experience with Feldenkrais, CranioSacral Therapy, Somatic EducationSM; and other bodywork modalities; and have published a number of reports in massage journals.
As a scientist who has spent over five decades doing research on some health problems that involve life or death, I am interested primarily in whether things make sense. Let me explain what make sense means to me. "Our whole intellectual tradition, scientific, rational seems to [be] … a tradition which says there is only one ultimate test: not 'does it make sense?' but 'does it work?'" This is why the Kogi look on us as "people who have jumped off a mountain and, falling fast, are proclaiming our ability to fly."
Who are the Kogi, and what do they
have to do with NCE?
The Kogi are "the last surviving high civilization of pre-Columbian America, who for centuries have maintained their isolation in the mountains of Colombia… The Kogi view themselves as the elder brothers of the human race, the repository of arcane knowledge and guardians of life on earth. Among them, an ancient priesthood still rules. They view the earth as the mother of all life, and see modern civilization ('the younger brother') throwing the world hopelessly away with its strip mines and deforestation, nuclear weapons and river dams."1 The fact that we have devastated nature globally to the extent that now threatens our existence as a species warns us to seriously consider our elder brothers" advice because so much of what we are doing does not make sense.
NCE, spiritual massage, and co-creative massage
I cannot conceive of anything more irrelevant to spiritual massage healing and co-creative health modalities than NCE.
Like state massage laws, NCE is concerned with secular massage therapy and other kinds of secular bodywork. The differences between secular massage therapy and spiritual massage healing are pointed out and discussed in the first article in this issue of the Journal 2 and in several articles in previous issues of the Journal and the Spiritual Massage Healing Newsletter. Spiritual healing and spiritual massage healing were not considered when NCE was conceived in controversy and imposed on the massage profession in the face of widespread opposition. NCE is a written test that reveals how well individuals have memorized factual information at the time they take the test. No kind of NCE can test spiritual massage healers for how they interact with God, how knowledgeable the religious/spiritual sources of their information are, how appropriately they pray, what religious/spiritual connections they establish with their clients, how effectively they apply information they receive, etc. No kind of NCE can test co-creative health practitioners for how effectively they work with nature spirits, devas, and the White Brothershood. NCE cannot provide any information which is ever remotely relevant to any of these aspects of spiritual and co-creative work.
NCE and secular massage/bodywork
In order to understand what we are talking about when we discuss NCE, one must realize that NCE is part and parcel of what Steve Eabry calls the massage industry.3 NCE, state massage laws and other components of the massage industry control the secular massage profession.3 This control, as pointed out at the end of this article, does not come without its price. It involves a considerable amount of money which massage therapists pay. As a college professor for 30 years or more, I would assign Eabry's report as "required reading" for those who want to understand the difference between the massage industry and the massage profession. Without the information and perspective which he so clearly presents, it is difficult if not impossible to adequately understand what is currently happening to the massage profession and massage therapists.
From the Kogi point of view, NCE certainly works if one simply wants to ask questions that easily provide numerical test scores. But NCE makes no sense if one asks, again from the Kogi point of view and from my point of view as a research scientist, "What do NCE test scores mean?" From this perspective, I see no practical value for NCE, even for secular massage, because it does not measure competence in terms of on-the-job performance. When I get a massage, it tells me nothing about what the practitioner's NCE test score might be, assuming that she took NCE. Nor would my knowing her test score be relevant in any way. I simply couldn't care less. This is why NCE is irrelevant even for secular massage. Finally, some of us have had excellent massages from individuals who were self-taught, many of whom could not pass NCE. Self-taught massage practitioners are like people who have taught themselves how to play musical instruments by ear, and play very well. Many ofthem cannot read music, know little about music theory, and could not pass an NCE for musicians.
NCE test scores are unrelated
There is no evidence that NCE assures professional competence in terms of on-the-job performance. I define professional competence as on-the-job performance because, as the Kogi would say, that makes sense. If professional competence does not mean on-the-job performance, what does it mean, and what sense does it make? Unfortunately, those who talk about professional competence rarely define it. No written examination, like NCE, can quantitatively measure or qualitatively predict the on-the-job performance of a massage therapist. There is no evidence that those who pass NCE are more competent in terms of on-the-job performance than those who fail. There is no correlation between test score and professional competence for those who pass NCE. Untold numbers of clients have for many years been satisfied with untold numbers of massages they received long before NCE existed. This includes massages by practitioners who were self-taught or had less than 500 hours of training.
I know of no research which provides convincing evidence that NCE has elevated the public image of the massage profession. The popularity of massage, which reflects the public image of massage, was increasing before NCE existed.
Does NCE help protect the public?
As already explained, there is no relationsip or correlation between NCE test scores and competence of massage therapists in terms of on-the-job performance. Therefore, how can NCE help protect the public from injury by incompetent massage therapists?
I know of no research which provides convincing evidence (a) that NCE protects the public; (b) that injuries caused by so-called incompetent massage therapists are sufficiently numerous and sufficiently serious to require that the public be protected; and (c) that NCE does or could provide that protection if it were needed.
There is, however, convincing evidence that the public does not need that protection. Consumer protection agencies have not been lobbying state legislatures for massage laws to protect thepublic. I have published comments from officials in several state agencies, which regulate massage. These officials admit they have no research which shows that state regulation of massage results in more competent massage therapists or that it protects the public. The Canadian Province of Quebec decided not to regulate massage because an extensive two-year research project, which a government agency conducted, did not uncover a single case of injury for which massage was responsible.4,5,6
In 1994, Alexander, who is in the Province of Ontario, published two important articles. Both are in the same issue of Massage & Bodywork Quarterly (M&BQ). These articles are of particular interest in connection with the public's alleged need to be protected from injury caused by massage therapists. In his first article (pages 29-31 in M&BQ), Alexander points out how potentially dangerous massage can be.7 His second article (pages 77-80 in M&BQ) reports the results of his Medline database search of the English literature for 25 years. This search uncovered only 30 reports of injuries caused by massage.8 None of these injuries were associated with massage therapists. Many of them were caused by medical doctors doing manipulations for conditions "which [Alexander wrote] most massage therapists would try to avoid." If NCE could protect the public, doctors, not massage therapists, should be required to take this examination. More information about doctors and massage is in the addendum to this report on NCE.
It is interesting that Alexander did not include, in the bibliography of his second 1994 article,8 the reference to a detailed report, which he published in 1993, of his database survey of injuries associated with massage.9 Some of these injuries are obviously not due to what we ordinarily consider massage. The incidence of such injuries is therefore significantly less than what is implied by the 30 injuries he located. What is more important is Alexander's conclusion, in his 1993 report, that "the small number of references pulled up in the search does suggest the relative safety of massage."9 This comment does not appear in his 1994 report. Another point to be considered is that an estimated 90% of massage therapists do not do "medical" massage, but stress reduction where the likelihood of injury is significantly less.10
Alexander's database survey8,9 did not produce a single report of injury caused by a massage therapist, many of whom in both the U.S. and Canada may well have been self-taught or had less than a 500-hour training. Alexander, therefore, presented no evidence that injuries due to massage are sufficiently numerous and sufficiently serious to justify one's concluding that the public needs to be protected from incompetent massage therapists.
$$$$ $$$ $$$ $$$ $$$ $$$
NCE is truly a goose that laid a golden egg. By the end of February, 1996, approximately 18,500 massage therapists each paid $150.00 to take NCE. (The fee is now $165.00. How much higher will it go?) To date, those 18,500 bodyworkers paid $2,775,000 to take the exam, and passed. An estimated 1600 other bodyworkers also paid $240,000 to take NCE, but did not pass. $2,775.000 + $240,000 = $3,015,000. This is a lot of money and it therefore raises important questions.
1. Where has all this money gone? Who has gotten it?
2. Is there any well-designed research which provides convincing evidence that the $3,015,000 has benefited the public, the profession, or the individuals who paid the $3,015,000 ?
3. If so, specifically how many individuals have benefited, who are they, and how have they benefited?
4. Is the benefit they received worth $3,015,000?
Finally, from an overall point of view, how many tens of millions of dollars will massage therapists and other bodyworkers be required to pay over the next ten years for state certification, licensure or registration - which has to be renewed; for NCE - which has to be retaken; for required continuing education credits - which have to be continually obtained; for insurance, - which has to be paid annually, and other expenses that they have to meet to stay in business? This total amount should be calculated over a ten year period because of renewal requirements. I know of no research which estimates this global economic cost of massage as the total amount of many that massage therapists have to pay to pay annually.
This raises an interesting question. If such overall estimates had been presented to massage therapists when they were initially asked to "vote" on whether they did or did not want state massage laws and NCE, how would they have voted?
Finally, there is much talk about massage moving toward the "medical model". But the movers do not define what they mean by the medical model. Furthermore, only about 10% of the members of the massage profession, which consists of massage therapists, are doing medical massage.10 What is happening in massage is therefore obvious. The massage profession; that is, the majority of massage therapists, is not moving toward the medical model. It is the massage industry, which Eabry differentiated from the massage profession,3 that is moving the massage profession toward the medical model.
But what is this medical model? Medicine is now losing credibility at an accelerating rate because the public realizes that the primary objective of the health care industry; i.e., insurance companies, which dominates medicine, is not adequate health care but maximum profit. The health care profession, consisting of doctors, is being exploited, as the public is, by the health care industry. This situation, in which the health care industry controls the medical health care profession is comparable to the massage industry's control of the massage profession which consists of massage therapists.3
The $3,015,000 taken in by NCE, which is part of the massage industry, and the recent increase in the fee required to take NCE, raise a question about how much the massage industry and the medical health care industry have common. Does the "medical model" for the massage industry mean a primary concern for maximum profit, as it does for the medical health care industry? Is this what the "medical model" is really all about?
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, at least make it dance. - George Bernard Shaw
One thing that NCE has in common with state massage laws (SML) and the accreditation of massage schools (AMS) is the absence of well-designed research which provides convincing evidence that NCE, SMLs, and AMS (a) result in more competent massage therapists, and (b) can protect the public against injury by incompetent massage therapists. There is also no well-designed research which provides convincing evidence that the public needs that protection.
HOW DOCTORS GOT INTO AND OUT OF MASSAGE, AND WHY THEY ARE
BACK IN IT AGAIN
The fact that doctors have caused injury by doing massage, during the past 25 years,8,9 shows how far present-day medicine has distanced itself from massage. A report on the heart and blood circulation11 tells about the work of Graham and Kellogg who were pioneers in introducing massage into the United States at the turn of the century. Both of them were doctors, and they were writing primarily for doctors. Graham's book refers to many physicians in Europe who learned, studied, practiced, taught, wrote about, and did research on massage.
In 1898, four years after the first edition of Graham's book was published, Haehl wrote a treatise on massage when he was a medical student in Hahnemann Medical College in Philadelphia.12 He did that because, in his own words, "Most of the students, after leaving the college, do not know any more in a practical way about massage than the general meaning of the word itself.… The writer [Haehl] presents this work, after some personal experience in the practice and thorough perusal of the theory of massage, in the hope of rendering to his fellow students a work that will be at once instructive and useful."
Haehl then went on to explain (in 1898), "Its employment [massage] is sometimes not as successful as we are led to anticipate [because] massage is not a drug which will act, after the patient had his prescription filled and had taken it 'as directed'. Massage treatment should either be done by the scientific and educated physician himself, or at least the administering Masseur should be under his immediate observation and supervision. It is then, and only then, that the beneficial results can be obtained." Haehl's book has a bibliography of 106 references, eight of which are publications by Graham. W.G. Bazan, The Book Man, who reviewed Haehl's book wrote, "This book was written by a Doctor, for Doctors. Here he tells them of the GOOD that can be done with MASSAGE TREATMENT... Did you ever read a book on MASSAGE with a Bibliography [106 references] as large as this?"
Doctors got out of massage when they got into physical therapy, which includes massage. "During … World War I, the medical profession lifted physical therapy from the realms of quackery." Then on May 19, 1925, the Board of Trustees of the American Medical Association adopted a resolution to establish a Council on Physical Therapy.13 Not too long after that, doctors could prescribe physical therapy, which includes massage,14 for their patients. Doctors no longer had to do massage themselves or have masseurs and masseuses doing massage in their offices.
Recently, however, doctors have again become interested in massage, although they are not doing massage themselves. And few, if any, have massage therapists working on their patients in their offices. To some extent their interest in massage may be motivated by economic gain. The American medical establishment ignored or derogated unconventional therapies until it learned that holistic care was a multibillion dollar business. In 1990, people visited primary care (allopathic) physicians 388 million times. But well-educated, well-to-do Americans visited providers of unconventional therapies 425 million times. Also people spent13.7 billion dollars for food supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbal preparations and other natural health food products), massage for stress reduction, exercise and other unorthodox health care. Moreover, they paid 75% of this money out of their own pockets. Insurance paid only 25%.15
That financial news galvanized the medical establishment because it realized "There's gold in them thar hills of alternative health care." And doctors were getting little if any of the billions of dollars that were involved. By changing the name of alternative health care to complementary medicine, doctors could at least write prescriptions for massage, for example, for which some insurance companies would then pay. The doctors would also get paid for an office visit, examination, or whatever. It seems that this is how and why yesterday's medical anathema has become today's medical vogue.
1. Ereira, A. The Elder Brothers. Alfred A. Knopf. New York 1992.
2. Schatz, A. The Church for Spiritual Healing and Health. Spiritual massage healing. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 1:1-53, 1994.
3. Eabry, S. Guest Editorial. Massage. Issue No. 58, Nov/Dec 1995.
4. Carlson, K., Barbera, R.A., and Schatz, A. The public doesn't need state regulation of massage... So who does want it and why? Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. 8(4):83-86. Fall 1993.
5. Schatz, A., and Carlson, K. Letter to the Editor. Massage and Bodywork Quarterly. Vol. 9. Issue No. 1. page 45. Winter. 1994.
6. Carlson, K. Letter to the Editor. Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. Vol. 9. Issue No. 4. page 46. Fall 1994.
7. Alexander, D. Staying current with contraindications: An expression of effective caring. Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. pages 29-30. Fall issue. 1994..
8. Alexander, D. Professionalism and licensure in massage. Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. pages 77-80. Fall issue. 1994..
9. Alexander, D. How safe is massage? Newsletter of the Saskatchewan Massage Therapist Association. 5(1):13-14, April. 1993.
10. Editorial. Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. pages 37-38. Fall issue. 1993.
11. Schatz, A. The heart may not be a pump, and circulation of the blood may not be due to the pumping action of the heart. Journal of Spiritual Bodywork. 2(1):4-7, 1996.
12. Haehl, Richard. Massage. Its History, Technique and Therapeutic Uses. Dunlop Printing Co. 1306-8-10 Filbert Street. Philadelphia, PA 1898. Reprinted by Books. O'Fallon, Missouri.
13. Handbook of Physical Therapy. 2nd edition, revised. American Medical Association. Chicago. 1936.
14. Op. cit. This book has three chapters on massage. 1. The Physiology of Massage. 2. Technic Massage. 3. The Use of Massage in Internal Medicine.
15. Schatz, A., and Carlson, K. We need a new kind of national health care. Journal of Well Being. 9(4);19-27, 1964
The Board of Trustees of Twerpwyck University unanimously voted, at its last meeting, to establish an Institute for the Study of the Art of Massage (ISAM). The Institute will produce and market a National Certification Examination for the Art of Massage (NCEAM). This matter was discussed and voted on within two minutes after the Board learned that massage therapists have paid over $3,000,000 to take the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. The Board immediately realized that "There's gold in them thar examination hills."
To create the illusion that the Board was not motivated by monetary considerations, the Twerpwyck University College of Innovative Massage (TUCIM) was instructed to immediately issue a news release. This news release announced that ISAM will satisfy an important need in the massage profession. This profession has recognized the scientific aspects of massage since Peter Ling (1766-1839), but has overlooked the equally important art of massage. The Board of Directors of Twerpwyck University is to be commended for recognizing the need for attention to be devoted to the art of massage.
The Board hopes that massage therapists, who object to massage moving toward a medical model, will now have another option - the massage art model - as an alternative to the medical model. Among other things, TUCIM will develop Professional Massage Art Criticism as a new specialty in the massage profession. Massage art critics will evaluate massage from an artistic point of view, just as art critics evaluate art from an artistic point of view. TUCIM will also produce and market workshops, seminars, audio and video tapes, question and answer books, etc. which massage therapists will have to buy to help them pass NCEAM - all of which will bring in a substantial amount of money independently of the $300 fee each applicant will have to pay to take NCEAM.
TUCIM already has a committee developing undergraduate and graduate programs leading to bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees in Massage Art. The Education Committee of the newly formed Twerpwyck Massage Art Therapy Association (TMATA) will convince massage therapists that NCEAM is manna from heaven, and will sell them on massage art with the slogan -"You ain't seen nothing yet! If you like the National Certification Examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and state massage laws, you'll love the National Certification Examination for the Art of Massage!"
TMATA is also raising funds to retain a full-time consulting agency to lobby state legislators. The objective is to enact state massage art laws that will require individuals who apply for state certification, registration, or licensure to
1. have at least 500 classroom hours in the theory and practice of massage art in a TMTA-accredited massage school.
2. pass the National Certification Examination for the Art of Massage (NCEAM).
3. require 15 Continuing Education credits in The Art of Massage annually.
Proprietary (privately owned for-profit) massage schools are already planning a $3800 to $5000 annual increase in tuition to pay for 500 hours of Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced courses; practicums; and Continuing Education Workshops - all in The Art of Massage.
A man for all seasons
The Board of Trustees of Twerpwyck University also voted unanimously, within the above-mentioned two minutes, to appoint J. Higby Dobson, Jr, 3rd, Director of ISMA. The Board felt that Dobson was the right man for the right job at the right time, because he is the world authority in the field of art. The fact that he has never had a massage, has never seen anyone get a massage, and knows nothing about massage impressed the members of the Board. They concluded that, because Dobson knows nothing at all about the practical aspects of massage, he will focus his time and energy exclusively on the art of massage. Dobson will have the title Most Distinguished Professor of Massage Art, and will occupy a (massage) Chair endowed by the Hortense and Thackery Heppenfuller Family Trust in memory of their daughter Winnefred. This 23-year-old damsel tragically committed suicide after failing her third attempt to pass the National Certification examination for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.
Dobson's scholarly contributions
Dobson, who has devoted 40 years of distinguished service to Twerpwyck University, founded Art Criticology which is the science of art criticism. He is internationally known as The Art Critics' Critic and The Father of Modern Art Criticology. Dobson had held the unique chair of Esteemed Professor of Art Criticology and had been Dean of the Graduate School of Art Criticology, which he founded. This Graduate School is unique in higher education because it is devoted exclusively to pumping out bigger and better art critics in ever-growing numbers.
It is impossible to overestimate the importance of Dobson's influence in the field of art. Many of his students have become famous as art critics, directors of art museum, professors in art schools, art dealers, and authors of widely read books on art. These would-be Xerox copies of the original, or master, constitute a veritable scintillating asterism of obfuscation in the galaxy of what passes for culture today.
Dobson established the tradition of Bilateral Art, the distinguishing feature of which is the use of both sides of the same canvas. In this tradition, the two paintings on the same canvas, front and back, may be done by the same artist or by two artists, sometimes working simultaneously. Dobson also originated the tradition which he called Synergistic Art. In this tradition, one painting is done by two or more artists, each of whom contributes his own style. Here again, two or more artists may work simultaneously on the same canvas, depending on its size. Synergistic Art is also known as Contributive Art, Additive Art, and Integrative Art. Bilateral and Synergistic Art are also sometimes combined, and may be going on simultaneously on the same canvas.
Dobson's early years
Dobson's career began when he was the mascot of the football team during his four undergraduate years at Georgia Tech. He majored in Physical Education because, as a young boy, he wanted to be an elementary school gym teacher when he grew up. This training in physical education led to a life-long interest in health and nutrition. His subsequent research in these areas eventually resulted in two books - Yoga for Art Critics and Good Nutrition Makes Good art Critics. Dobson won a bronze medal in the 1950 Olympics as a member of the U.S. Art Critics Jogging Team. In 1952, he established the Art Critics' Cricket Club. In 1969, he was the National Scrabble Champion of the U.S.
Dobson founded the Art Critics' Credit Union (ACCU) and the Art Critics Emergency Burial Fund (ACEBF). He is president of the Art Critics Insurance Co. of America, Inc. This company provides insurance to protect art critics against legal action by artists whose work they review unfavorably. Dobson also served as chairman of the committee that drew up the requirements for the Boy Scouts of America merit badge in art. For the past seven years, he has been the judge in the Annual Art Contest which the Chicago Retired Policemen and Firemen's Association sponsors for its members who enter their paintings, sculpture, etc.
Dobson's processional affiliations
Dobson has held office in more than 30 national and international organizations of art critics. He has been particularly active in the following.
Society of American Academic Art Critics (SAAAC). Membership in SAAAC is restricted to full professors who have tenure at accredited four-year art schools.
National Association for the Accreditation of Art Academies, Institutes, Schools, and Colleges (NAAAAISC).
The Art Critics Pet Co-Op (ACPCO). When members of the ACPCO are away from home for extended periods of time and cannot take their pets with them, the pets live in the homes of other art critics.
Born-Again Art Critics of America (B-AACA). The B-AACA sponsors the Annual Art Critics Contest which awards three prizes to art critics whose published works during the preceding year
1. contain the most grandiloquent vacuity.
2. most creatively conceal ignorance of art by the skillful use of verbal inanity.
3. most convincingly present meaningless verbosity as professional knowledgeability.
Dobson's scholarly contributions
Dobson is the most prolific writer in the world of art criticism. He has published over 1200 articles. The books he has written include the following best sellers.
The Art of Being an Art CriticInternational Directory of Critics of Art Critics
Famous Left-Handed Art Critics
Biographical Sketches of Art Critics Who Served in the War of 1812
The Role of the Art Critic in the Rise of Western Civilization
Art Critics in Third World Countries
Ice Age Art Critics
The Psychology of the Art Critic
The Art Critics' Contributions to the Men's Liberation Movement
Influence of art Critics on Submarine Warfare in World War I
Art Critics as a Subculture of Society
The Art Critics' Vacation Guide
The Art Critics' Guide to Investing in Stocks, Bonds, Gold, and Mortgages
A Shoppers Guide to art Critics
From Art Critic to Millionaire. The Story of Wally P. Hutch, a humble art critic, who made $16,000,000 in the Wyoming State Gas and Oil Lottery.
Service to Twerpwyck University
In 1979, Dobson reorganized the Twerpwyck University College of Innovative Education. The innovative administrative structure which he created, shown in the chart on page 10, has become a model for colleges of education throughout the U.S. Dobson's most important contribution to Twerpwyck University is the Ph.D. program in Art Criticology which he personally developed from scratch, and which has ground out more than 90% of our country's art critics. This unique program offers a nuts-and-bolts training that is designed to give students the veneer of knowledgeability and professionalism which the public expects of its art critics.
The most innovative aspect of Dobson's program is that it does not waste students' time by having them actually look at the art they intend to review. Dobson eliminated this traditional requirement when he realized that it is not at all necessary for an art critic to see a painting which he is going to review. He only has to be able to write things about the painting that nobody understands. And his pedantry has to be couched in such broad, vague, and nebulous generalities that they apply to any and all paintings - good, bad, and indifferent.
The heart and soul of Dobson's Ph.D. program is his textbook The Art Critic's' Bible which is popularly known as Dobson's Bible. This definitive three-volume opus, which consists of 2,469 pages and is in its 16th edition, and is the only publication of its kind in the world. It is a lexicon/thesaurus that gives the terms and phraseology, which art critics use, in English, French, Italian, Russian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The 17th edition, which Dobson is presently working on, will give the same terms in five additional languages - Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, and Swahili. Dobson's Bible standardizes art criticology so that art critics all over the world say the same thing the same way about the same painting. This eliminates disagreement and controversy about art. It also saves students, scholars, and the public considerable time because once they have read one critic, they have read them all.
This monumental work, which Dobson plans to continue working on as Director of ISMA, has been generously supported by grants from private foundations and from the National Fund for the Appreciation of Art Critics. He will also continue his research on art criticology which has resulted in what are known as Dobson's Laws. These laws are internationally accepted truisms that have helped raise art criticology to its present high professional level. Dobson's Laws read as follows.
1. The public does not know what art critics are talking about.
2. Art critics do not know what other art critics are talking about.
3. Each art critic does not know what he is talking about.
Dobson's Bible is particularly useful to students because it helps them quickly learn how to synthesize creative, vacuous verbosity by skillfully combining the very same terms and phrases that well-known and highly respected professional art critics have successfully used. The following pontifications are taken from the Ph.D. dissertations of two of Dobson's recent doctoral students. These clearly reveal what scintillating gems of redistilled wisdom these students have learned from their master.
The seductiveness of the infinitely countless variations in the dazzling brushwork in this particular oeuvre show that the artist's passionate vision goes considerably deeper than the thickness of the canvas itself.
The sense of perfection and the strong masculine emotion conveyed by this mature painting give one the unmistakable impression that each and every brushstroke on the canvas is one that the artist himself put precisely where it is. Conversely, one also get an equally convincing feeling that what is absent from the painting is what the artist did not include. This, in a real sense, establishes a rational for understanding what the artist did and what he did not do in terms of what he put and did not put on the canvas and how and where he put it, or did not put it. This introduces a new paradigm in art criticology. A critic can now evaluate a painting by considering both what is and what is not on the canvas.
Dobson' view of the future
Dobson announced that his first order of business is to resolve the conflict, over "turf," between massage therapists and physical therapists.1,2 For this, he said, his inspiration is Abraham Flexner (1866-1959) and The Flexner Report on Medical Education in the U.S. and Canada. This report, commissioned by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, appeared in 1910. When its recommendations were implemented, all proprietary (private, for-profit) medical schools were closed down and, medical education was transferred to accredited colleges and universities. Dobson intends to close down all proprietary (private, for-profit) massage schools, and have massage therapy taught as a specialty of Physical Therapy in Departments or Schools of Physical Therapy in accredited universities. Those who want to be massage therapists will first have to be licensed Physical Therapists and will then have to take an additional year of study in a Department or School of Physical Therapy to be certified as Massage Therapists. This will have two effects.
(a) It will eliminate the present "turf" conflict between massage therapists and physical therapists; and
(b) state massage laws and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork will become obsolete and, for all practical purposes, will cease to exist because they do not apply to licensed physical therapists who do massage therapy.
For membership in the Twerpwyck Massage Art Therapy Association, write to TMATA, c/o College of Innovative Massage, Twerpwyck University. Members of TMATA receive the Handbook of Massage Art, the Massage Art Therapist's Newsletter, the Journal of Massage Art, and the Annual Review of Massage Art Criticology.
1. Saunders, J. The past and future of massage. Massage magazine. page 4. Issue, No. 44. July/August 1993.
2. Schatz, A. Letter to the Editor. Massage & Bodywork Quarterly. 9:47, 1994.