Mes cher amis–
It is a great honor today to accept from thees fellow with thee funny hat the honorary doctorate degree. For too long, how you say, “smart aleck” American rock critics have made fun of me because I have 3,000 pairs of shoes or somesing like that. Well, to them I say–“Phooey.” What do they have, a worthless English degree from a cow college in one of America’s square states, or one that begins with an “M” such as Missourissippie or something. Fat lot of good that will do you when you apply for the job of mutli-talented singer with her own theatre in Las Vegas!
I see you back there, Monsieur and Mademoiselle Protestor! You say University Laval has lowered its standards by giving me an honorary degree. What do you know, you who have spent five or six years sucking down American cola drinks in the student union to stay up for your crummy calculus mid-term, while I was winning the hearts of millions? Let me tell you what you know–zero for nothing! Who do you think should get the honorary degree–maybe Alanis Morrissette, who is only beginning to be somewhat good-looking after years of stringy, fly-away hair.
You cannot know how long my lack of a high school degree has haunted me, like a hidden scar on my body that you would die to have–if you are une femme–or to touch if you are un homme! Now, I skip over the awful high school years–and college too! I am Celine Dion, Ph. D, like Brenda Starr, Reporter, or Nancy Drew, Girl Detective!
How many plus often times after a wonderful performance would I attend a reception with powerful people, and my lack of education would hinder me. “Celine,” someone would say after introductions and pleasantries, “I know you are beautiful and have a voice that would blanch an almond, but what are the principal exports of the Benelux Countries, and when did they dig the Suez Canal?” To these questions, I could only respond with that determined-petite-jeune-fille look I get when I play air guitar, and sing “My Heart Will Go On” to change the subject.
But no more. Now, when someone asks me “Dr. Dion, who wrote Voltaire’s ‘Candide’?” I simply say–“I cannot answer that now. Come see me during office hours between 10 and 11 p.m. on the fifth Tuesday of each month.”