Seeing Through Honorary Degrees

–There is nothing noteworthy about receiving an honorary degree–It is the time of the year when just about everyone who gives a commencement address is honored with an honorary degree from the institution they are addressing. Why not? It is a nice gesture. But what does it mean? Surely it makes the recipient feel good. But it is not the same as having earned a degree, as having done something to specifically deserve it. It seems more based on one’s celebrity than on one’s merit. Why then does it make the news? Last week Oprah and Jimmie Fallon received honorary degrees. This week it will be someone else in the public eye just as next week it will still be someone else. People become honorary mayors, receive keys to a number of cities without making the news. If we can’t stop pseudo news, at least we can see through them and in the case of being awarded an honorary degree, realize there is nothing noteworthy about it both figuratively and literally.