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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
  
  
  
 
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Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by Ken Dunn on 13 March 2009 11:10pm
 
Tonight in the Assembly Rooms at the University of Edinburgh Michael Palin was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters (lld) and was also presented with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's award of the Livingstone Medal. This year is the 100th anniversary of the RSGS. The Livingstone Medal is awarded to explorers of renown and past recipients include Robert Falcon Scott, Sir John Hunt, Sir Edmund Hillary, Sir Chris Bonington, Dougal Haston, Hamish MacInnes, Sir Francis Chichester and Doug Scott. The honorary doctorate is in addition to the honorary degree conferred on Dr. Palin in 2007.
After the awards Michael spoke without notes for an hour and a quarter, supported by many slides, on his travels while making his famous series for the BBC over the past 20 years. Excerpts and anecdotes from Around the World in Eighty Days, Full Circle, Pole to Pole, Sahara, Himalaya and New Europe were all included.
The talk was breathtaking because one minute there would be a slide of the hot sand dunes of the Sahara and the next would be a shot taken on the Godwin-Austen glacier 16,000 feet up near K2, the second highest mountain in the world.
An audience of 1,200, of which I was one, enjoyed the evening and responded heartily when the awards were presented and also when the talk was finished.
~
see corrections on pages 3 and 4.
 
Re: Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by kazzzz on 14 March 2009 3:59am
 
Ohh amazing!!! Ken you lucky thing experiencing such an auspicious event:)
Michael must be very pleased indeed.
 
Re: Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by Spursfan on 14 March 2009 9:05am
 
To be quite honest it ANNOYS me when celebs etc are given honorary doctorates. Even Michael!

The amount of hard work needed to gain a 'basic' degree (e.g. a B.A.), then more work gaining the, for example, M.A. and then again to gain the Doctorate - and then the awards are just 'given away'.

I know Michael is not the first by far (there were 2 'celeb' recepients when I graduated). I also realise he has a history degree from Oxford - but it is just so irritating. Why do Universities think they have to give celebs these honours? Obviously they are not worth the paper they are printed on - if it all goes wrong Michael won't get a job on the basis of the Doctorate (thank goodness) - but it still seems all so unfair.

By all means reward your celebs - although don't they get enough reward in the cash we spend on their books, films etc? - but DON'T hand them on a plate something 'normal' students study for years to gain.
 
Re: Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by peripatetically on 14 March 2009 1:22pm
 
In a way, though, Michael has earned that degree for whatever it's worth. He has traveled and learned about all those places and then presented them and taught the world so much. That's an education in itself. He didn't earn that degree in a mere few years either. There were hardships along the way too, although he enjoyed it for the most part. Many students love being students too, so although it is hard work and time-consuming, it is something each worked hard toward. I am happy for him.
 
Re: Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by mrsthing on 14 March 2009 1:31pm
 
Universities give celebrities honorary doctorates for publicity, which brings in donations.

I don't mind Michael getting an honorary doctorate--he's certainly educated and intelligent enough. But when an American university gave Mike Tyson an honorary doctorate...now that WAS going too far!
 
Re: Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by peripatetically on 14 March 2009 1:33pm
 
Which university was it, Judy? That's disgusting.
 
Re: Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by mrsthing on 14 March 2009 1:45pm
 
It was Central Ohio State University. He made a totally stupid, sexist, lewd comment, something to the effect of, "I don't know what I'm a doctor of, but looking out at all you beautiful ladies, I hope I'm a doctor of gynecology."

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!

At least someone like Michael Palin will boost a university's image.
 
Re: Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by kazzzz on 14 March 2009 1:49pm
 
Unbelievable :(
Just shows you the status of sportmen in our sad old Western world doesn't it?

This might be a good time to mentionn that Brian May holds two honorary doctorates as well as his doctorate in Astronomy (that one's real tho, not honorary).
 
Re: Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by mrsthing on 14 March 2009 1:53pm
 
Early on in his career, he had a lot of promise. He was a role model, believe it or not. (OJ Simpson was, too.) Then he went into a decline he never really got out of. He was awarded the degree in 1989, before most of the bad stuff started. But still...he never came off as being a particularly smart or upstanding character, and he proved it in his acceptance speech. [[shudders]]
 
Re: Dr. Michael Edward Palin CBE by tucsonmike on 14 March 2009 2:09pm
 
Ken, glad you were able to attend. Judy, you are right, for Universities it helps them. Mike Tyson? Good grief.
 
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