"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hot Air from America's Icebox

First Al Franken, now this.

Over at NewsBusters, Noel Sheppard has hopped on the Drudge-highlighted story from a couple of days ago that the University of Minnesota is going to favor Al Gore with an honorary degree in climatology for his execrable documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth. He is justifiably flabbergasted that 90 minutes of utter piffle can earn one an advanced degree, an Oscar, and a Nobel Peace Prize. But I think he's taking the Gophers a bit too seriously here.

My husband earned his law degree from Minnesota while I spent three years as a research fellow in the School of Public Health. Not only did I have a personal interest in this item, I knew that it usually pays to look a little deeper and find the punch line that lurks in pretty much any story originating in the Twin Cities. With this one it's easy; you need look no further than the original story from the U's student newspaper, the Minnesota Daily. Get past the breathy quotes from the climate change groupies that Sheppard highlights, and read to the last paragraph (slightly rearranged to suit my sense of comic timing) to put this silly little episode in perspective:


The University has given 223 honorary degrees to date. Past recipients include Sandra Day O'Connor, Hillary Clinton, Charles Schultz, and Yanni.

3 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Blame global warming. The icebox thawed, and something has gone rotten in the state of Minnesota.

Kathy Hutchins said...

Early in 2004, Chris Matthews opined that John Kerry was "like a Scandanavian winter." I wrote the following to a friend about it, and I stand by every word:

"I don't think Chris Matthews knows anything about a Scandinavian winter if he thinks he was saying something positive about Kerry. Well, OK, I've never been to Scandinavia in the winter, but I lived in Minnesota for three years, so I think I have a pretty good idea. A Scandinavian winter is being trapped for five months in an underventilated house that smells like burned coffee, wet sheep, and the unemptied ashtray from a 1972 Dodge Dart. A Scandinavian winter is a time of stark and equally unpleasant choices: do I run past the Lutheran church on the next block and risk slipping on the ice, or do I walk past and risk asphyxiation from the lutefisk fumes pouring out of the social hall? Do I walk to the bar and risk being flattened by a Hennepin County snowplow, or drive and risk having my engine block freeze solid before I've downed enough aquavit to thaw out my fingertips?

There is nothing tragically romantic about Scandinavian winter. The only positive aspect is that it's bad enough to make one long for Scandinavian spring, a season where every square inch of the landscape not covered by 18 inches of slush is ankle deep in goose poop."

Tom Van Dyke said...

A Scandinavian winter is being trapped for five months in an underventilated house that smells like burned coffee, wet sheep, and the unemptied ashtray from a 1972 Dodge Dart.

Nothing to add. I just wanted to read that again. LSHMPH*.


(*Laughing so hard my prostate hurts)