Wednesday, May 26, 2004

As we wave good-bye with one hand, we say hello with the other.

Via Dan Drezner, I came across Jon Stewart's address to William & Mary's class of 2004. Dan pulled out this bit:

I am honored to be here and to receive this honorary doctorate. When I think back to the people that have been in this position before me from Benjamin Franklin to Queen Noor of Jordan, I can’t help but wonder what has happened to this place. Seriously, it saddens me. As a person, I am honored to get it; as an alumnus, I have to say I believe we can do better. And I believe we should. But it has always been a dream of mine to receive a doctorate and to know that today, without putting in any effort, I will. It’s incredibly gratifying. Thank you. That’s very nice of you, I appreciate it.

I’m sure my fellow doctoral graduates—who have spent so long toiling in academia, sinking into debt, sacrificing God knows how many years of what, in truth, is a piece of parchment that in truth has been so devalued by our instant gratification culture as to have been rendered meaningless—will join in congratulating me. Thank you.

What Jon Stewart didn't know was that after receiving his honorary PhD, the Comedy Channel cut his salary to $45,000 a year, transferred him out of New York City to a small rural town in the Midwest, and forced him to grade 150 essays on "How a Bill Becomes a Law."

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