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Who "Deserves" an Honor?

It happens every day. Someone gets recognized, honored, if you will, by some entity. Often people who are well-informed gasp with dismay. Really? We're going to point to that person as an example of what's good in our neighborhood, our profession, our nation? Sadly, recognition can say more about who does the recognizing than what the recipient has accomplished. Some things come down to who you know (I'm aware that should be whom ). The doctor, writer, teacher, businessman, or talking head given an award is probably no more talented than a dozen, maybe a hundred others in his or her field. But we like awards, and we like one shining example, not a dozen really good ones. Malcolm Gladwell attributes it to a human desire to have one top dog to admire in any one arena. That's likely to be a pooch the choosers know well, one who has served their purposes, "done his time," "paid her dues." Can we really quantify who is the sexiest man alive? Or who wro