June 24, 2003

That Went Well. Not.

Remember how our commencement speaker was Donahue, and how that didn't go over too well at a large, agriculture/science university? Well, here's the text of Donahue's speech. Again, compare and contrast with Bill Cosby's speech over at UNC-CH.

Note to Phil: in the future, you might want to use the commencement speech to talk about, oh, I don't know, ANYTHING OTHER THAN YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS. How bizarrely self-important and self-absorbed do you have to be to think that college grads want to spend the one of the most important days of their lives listening to a partisan screed?

It's called being audience-appropriate, Phil. Maybe if you could actually DO that, you'd still be on TV.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at June 24, 2003 02:29 PM

He says..."No one in authority should ever, ever be free to shush you or any other citizen of our democracy [applause]."

Someone needs to take away the keys to his time machine; he's evidently been spending too much time in the past It is rumored that once, long ago, many liberals *did* believe in free speech...now, of course, they tend to believe in speech codes of various kinds.

Posted by: David Foster at June 24, 2003 03:49 PM

I just gave the commencement address for a small, private high school: four minutes of bland cliches and optimism delivered in clear and measured tones. If I'd even peeped politics, I don't know who would've gotten to me first - the faculty or the parents! Truth is, I didn't say a damned thing, and everyone loved it.

Posted by: Ellie at June 24, 2003 09:13 PM

Well, exactly. Commencement addresses should consist of a joke or two, some lame platitudes, and exhortations to the graduates to "live life!"

My God, they just sat through 4 or more years of being trapped in small spaces and forced to listen to bloviating blowhards in the professoriate--give them a break on graduation day!

Posted by: BAW at June 25, 2003 08:52 AM

Wow. I had Marlin Perkins at my commencement way back in 1975 (little bitty Jesuit College in the mid-west).
Phil Donahue's speech is unbelievable. Wow I'm speechless.

Posted by: Beth in Kansas at June 25, 2003 08:03 PM

Beth -

Marlin Perkins? Cool! Did he make Jim jump off the stage and wrestle a wild co-ed to the ground?

Posted by: BAW at June 25, 2003 08:18 PM

I agree completely - no politics in commencement speeches - but they might also be more careful who they ask to give the speech. I think sometimes they're more concerned about getting a Big Name than about what the speaker might say.

At our tiny little high school here in my corner of Oklahoma (32 seniors) they asked a favorite teacher to give the speech. For a half minute or so she talked about how honored she was and how hard it was to come up with the right thing to say. Then she said something about all the advice they would ever need being in a book, and the way she talked about this book everyone knew she had to be talking about the Bible... but then she pulled out Dr. Suess's "Oh The Places You'll Go" and read the whole book. Everyone loved it. And you know... she was right.

Posted by: Lynn S at June 27, 2003 12:50 PM