Saturday, May 31, 2014

Still Life With Robin: How to Get Through a Graduation

Photo by Daria Romanova via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

It’s graduation season, and so you may well be sitting right now amid a sea of parents, completely tuned out as some speaker (more likely selected for size of contribution to the Annual Fund than contribution to the good of society) piles cliché upon cliché, giving no sense that the speech is building toward its conclusion. You hope you are being discreet as you peruse your email on your smartphone. Here’s a bit of light reading that might get you through it. The pieces below are all appropriate to the occasion -- charming -- but not laugh-out-loud funny:

Here’s Stephen Colbert’s address last year at the University of Virginia’s graduation:

Here’s a whole batch of video speeches - the one I suggest you play is Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s to Mount Holyoke grads: If you’re in a crowd, wear earbuds -- and keep them on if you play the video that’s number ten on that page, from the kid who was valedictorian at West Hall High School in 2010, showing how high school is like a Rubik’s Cube.

If you haven’t read the mother of all quotable graduation speeches, it’s Mary Schmich’s 1997 “Wear Sunscreen”:
…and its many parodies:

Speaking of parodies of classic graduation speeches, here’s a recent addition to the canon, from this week’s New Yorker blog:

But for my money, no one has yet topped Woody Allen’s contribution to the genre -- from 1979:

I hope one of the above at least kept you from falling asleep….or worse, snoring.


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland ParkListserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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