Is ‘professor Warren’ an insult? Not to the professor

As Senator Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren begin their second debate tonight, many commentators will be keeping count of how many times Brown refers to his rival as “professor Warren,” with many ascribing sinister motives.

Alas, Warren herself seemed quite smitten with the title in a 2009 promotional video for Harvard Law School. Her eyes light up, and she speaks with a sense of wonderment at the very notion that she might someday be known by the moniker.

“I had a professor who took me out to lunch late in my first year in law school. I still remember, he leaned across the table and said, ‘Have you thought about going into teaching?’ Teaching in law school,”’ Warren says.

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“I was astonished by the notion that someone would think I could teach at law school. We left lunch and I finished up my afternoon classes, and I got in my little Volkswagen to drive home,’’ Warren said. “I was driving along and I remember saying, ‘Professor Warren? Professor Warren. Professor Warren.’ And I thought, ‘Damn, that sounds good.’ ”

The video, “Idea Makers: Research, Writing, and the Path to Law Teaching at Harvard Law School,” features some of the school’s top professors waxing about teaching and influencing society along the way.