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Ha ha, Harvard!

This year, UMM will have Al Franken as our commencement speaker. Guess who Harvard gets?

nelson-ha-ha

A comment on the Crimson story got me poking around (I am not a big Oprah watcher) and now I wonder: Did anyone on the Harvard honorary degrees committee consider the fact that Oprah is a major purveyor of pseudoscience? Four years ago Newsweek did an extensive debunking of pseudo-medicine pandered on her show. She was #1 on Brian Dunning’s list of the top 10 purveyors of pseudoscience, citing her as follows: “she promotes the paranormal, psychic powers, new age spiritualism, conspiracy theories, quack celebrity diets, past life regression, angels, ghosts, alternative therapies like acupuncture and homeopathy, anti-vaccination, detoxification, vitamin megadosing, and virtually everything that will distract a human being from making useful progress and informed decisions in life.” Or read Martin Gardner’s take on Oprah — and her frequent guest, Harvard’s own Dr. Oz.

Score: UMM 1, Harvard -1,000,000.

Comments

  1. A. R says

    Seriously? Perhaps they could do a reverse-Discovery channel, and dub a speech by David Attenborough over hers.

  2. Ulysses says

    But think of all the publicity having Oprah giving a speech will bring to Harvard.

  3. carlie says

    I would be so pissed off if I were getting a Harvard degree and had to sit through an Oprah speech.

  4. consciousness razor says

    My guess is that Harvard has so much credibility that it can afford to lose some to get a fuckload of endowment money that it doesn’t need. They’ve earned “intellectual capital” and intend to spend it, so that they can hoard even more of their real capital. A month later, no one will remember the commencement speech ever happened anyway.

  5. chigau (違う) says

    consciousness razor

    A month later, no one will remember the commencement speech ever happened anyway.

    C’mon.
    Everyone remembers who gave “their” commencement speech.
    [what's a "commencement speech"?]

  6. Nerdette says

    A month later, no one will remember the commencement speech ever happened anyway.

    Stephen Colbert is giving the commencement speech for my graduation this May. I’m suffering through the walking process just to hear it, so it had better damn well be memorable.

  7. john says

    Bill “Tides” O’Reilly is also a Harvard alum. And I can’t explain that.

  8. says

    I’ve never understood how Oprah can shovel so much contradictory tripe, she has a complete set of strongly-held beliefs freshly embraced for every show. She effortlessly morphs to shill anything, never even pausing for breath between loudly declaring her devotion to Jesus and then immediately doing a segment on reincarnation and karma, and then talking up the pseudoscience which allowed a class of starving African schoolchildren to lose pounds fast – and keep them off!

  9. unclefrogy says

    well there is something that she seems to know how to do that the people who have gone to Harvard seem to know something about and that is making money.
    She grew up poor and rough but is now wealthy and quite poised.
    uncle frogy

  10. says

    Bill “Tides” O’Reilly is also a Harvard alum. And I can’t explain that.

    john- there must have been a miscommunication at some point.

    And the award for tonight’s Internet goes to… it’s a tie! The prize for the Internet tonight will be shared by john and microraptor! Well done, gentlefolk!

  11. Ichthyic says

    Bill “Tides” O’Reilly is also a Harvard alum.

    don’t tell me, let me guess…

    philosophy major?

  12. madknitter says

    When I took my BA (not from Harvard), our commencement speaker was Bianca Jagger. It is reason #682 that I have never given a single penny to my alma mater.

  13. janiceintoronto says

    Hey, I’d do the commencement address for half the price of Oprah.

    What kind of nonsense do you want to hear?

  14. Sastra says

    Zinc Avenger #14 wrote:

    I’ve never understood how Oprah can shovel so much contradictory tripe, she has a complete set of strongly-held beliefs freshly embraced for every show.

    I’ve seen a lot of “spiritual” people doing that and it seems to be coming out of a religious mindset (“all knowledge is faith-based”) coupled with a pop postmodern ecumenicism (“all paths are valid.”) These folks deal with contradictions by redefining them as virtues: they’re being open-minded, tolerant, deep, and/or holistic. Sometimes it’s called “non-dualism” and it’s fostered by mysticism and a reliance on intuition.

    So advocating a load of contradictory tripe is both empowering and non-judgmental. It’s all good. Christianity, karma, new age, science, alternative medicine, human rights. Combine them any way you want. If it’s not right for you, then it may be right for someone else.

    It’s a charitable “take what you need and leave the rest” attitude applied to the nature of reality, with no distinction made between the inner world of thought and feeling and the outer world of object and event. This way you’re both discovering the true secrets of the universe AND choosing from a smorgasbord of personal preferences. Sounds like a contradiction? Why, thank you. I’ve been working so hard on letting go of Ego.

  15. Marcus Hill (mysterious and nefarious) says

    I’m a bit tired and ill (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it), so I managed to skip a line when reading that list of Oprahwoo. I thought “what the fuck is ‘past life detoxification’”? It’s a testament to the level of absurdity of the complete bollocks Oprah and her cronies manage to get people to buy into that it took a moment to notice my mistake.

  16. mothra says

    Al Franken speakingis speaking at UMN? He’s smart enough, he’s good enough, and gosh darn, people like him!

  17. Sastra says

    Marcus Hill #21 wrote:

    I’m a bit tired and ill (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it), so I managed to skip a line when reading that list of Oprahwoo. I thought “what the fuck is ‘past life detoxification’”?

    “Past life detoxification?” That wasn’t an error, Marcus. That was a serendipitous flash of brilliance, a new career, and the way you’re going to pay for the medicine to make you feel all better.

  18. Anthony K says

    what the fuck is ‘past life detoxification’?

    If you’ve slept with someone whose had past lives, are you at risk for past STIs?

    “Doctor, you’ve got to check me down there. I had sex with someone who had past lives and I’m all itchy.”
    “Uh, okay. So, what are you concerned you’ve got? Scabies? Crabs?”
    “No, trilobites!”

  19. strange gods before me ॐ says

    don’t tell me, let me guess…

    Wikipedia on Bill O’Reilly:

    O’Reilly was accepted to Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; he received a master of public administration degree in 1996. At Harvard, he was a student of Marvin Kalb.

  20. David Marjanović says

    Ha ha! Americans and their weird rituals around university! :-þ

    Seriously? Perhaps they could do a reverse-Discovery channel, and dub a speech by David Attenborough over hers.

    What Ichthyic said!