If rank is important to a person, though, then surely they would want it to be real, no? What good is a fake rank to anyone anyway? A fake rank is just embarrassing.... There's no shame in not knowing something yet -- until you start hiding it and pretending...
Aikido is important to many of us - but that should make us more bothered by dishonesty, politics, lack of standards, etc... not less...
Very good points. The thing is a person only concerned about obtaining the rank isn't necesarily concerned with gaining the skills. That type of person only wants the position, the title, and/or attention the rank gains them. It is very sad.