Posthumous awards have always troubled me a little. They are usually presented as a way of honoring the deceased. We see great actors, never once recognized during their careers suddenly garner awards of "recognition" or "lifetime achievement" soon after their death.

What purpose does this serve?

I feel that a good number of these posthumous awards are presented more to alleviate guilt of not recognizing these people while they were alive, more than honoring any memory that we may have of them. If you really wanted to do a talented individual a favor you'd give them the award while they were alive so they could use the recognitian to enchance their careers and further their own endevors. But posthumously it really doesn't mean a thing to them. Maybe their family will be moved, but in the long run awards like these don't do a lot of good, except for the people who gave them, who probably feel a lot better about themselves for having done it.

Especially rampant in Hollywood, these postumous awards seem a bit self-grandizing. "Oh look how sensitive we are, we're granting this award to a corpse, we're noble and thoughtful".

Although it's not all bad. I recognize the fact that sometimes you never know what you have until it's gone.

Post"hu*mous [L. posthumus, postumus, properly, last; hence, late born (applied to children born after the father's death, or after he had made his will), superl. of posterus, posterior. See Posterior.]


Born after the death of the father, or taken from the dead body of the mother; as, a posthumous son or daughter.


Published after the death of the author; as, posthumous works; a posthumous edition.


Being or continuing after one's death; as, a posthumous reputation.

Addison. Sir T. Browne.


© Webster 1913.

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