MERITOCRATIC THOUGHTS HERE
I’m sounding like a jerk here, but for me it’s constitutional. You say, “It’s the rare graduation address that’s clearly worthy of commentary,” and here we have Bernanke’s address telling Princeton graduates not to believe in meritocracy as it’s ordinarily understood. But then earlier it was Wieseltier at Brandeis defending the liberal arts, and before that it was Obama at Morehouse telling those graduates to man up.
That’s a lot of commencement wisdom worth commenting on. Or is it all platitudinous nonsense in the end?
Let me recommend Michael Cimino’s movie Heaven’s Gate for presenting more graduation platitudes (this time at Harvard), and then telling a story about how those platitudes play out twenty years later. That movie is simply one story, not indicative of the norm, but it is a story worthy of attention in this time of big speak for big hopes.
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Good point on finding three good ones contradicting the good ones are rare theory. Social scientists will have to decide how small a percentage equals rare. John, You still on the money when you sound like a jerk.
Peter, thanks for confirming my jerkness. I apologize for literally being a jerk too. You had much to say in your reflections on each commencement address that is wise and worthy of consideration. But in defense, I guess I had read one too many commencement address that late night. This late night I realize I was too short in my remarks, but I stand by my defense of the worthiness of the much maligned movie Heaven’s Gate and its presentation of commencement and the mission that a college education allegedly prepares its students for in the world (at least in the 19th century), and furthermore how that mission plays out in a world far from what was learned in school. That said, I reserve the right, if need be on occasion, to be a jerk too.
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