Education: Honorary Spoof

"By virtue of powers which we have invented," the baroque lettering proclaimed, the trustees of San Francisco's Millard Fillmore Institute were delighted to confer on any applicant a variety of "honorary and meretricious" titles ranging from "Doctor of Generosity" to "Doctor of Pinochle Sciences." All he needed was $10. A Latin motto made the point clear: Ad populum phaleras, ego te intus et in cute novi' (Loose translation: "You may think you're hot stuff, but we know you, buster.")

Spoofing honorary degrees is the four-year-old avocation of John Bear, 33, a freelance writer, erstwhile adman, and co-inventor of the once popular Beethoven...

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