Dispatches from the Creation Wars

A Good Commencement Speech!

Okay, I spent enough time ripping on the typical commencement speech, how about a good one? William and Mary brought in alumnus Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central and one of the funniest stand up comics working today, to give their address and bestowed an honorary doctorate on him as well. Now this is what commencement speeches should sound like. A few choice excerpts:

Thank you Mr. President, I had forgotten how crushingly dull these ceremonies are. Thank you…

I congratulate the students for being able to walk even a half a mile in this non-breathable fabric in the Williamsburg heat. I am sure the environment that now exists under your robes, are the same conditions that primordial life began on this earth…

I am honored to be here and to receive this honorary doctorate. When I think back to the people that have been in this position before me from Benjamin Franklin to Queen Noor of Jordan, I canít help but wonder what has happened to this place. Seriously, it saddens me. As a person, I am honored to get it; as an alumnus, I have to say I believe we can do better. And I believe we should. But it has always been a dream of mine to receive a doctorate and to know that today, without putting in any effort, I will. Itís incredibly gratifying. Thank you. Thatís very nice of you, I appreciate it.

Iím sure my fellow doctoral graduatesówho have spent so long toiling in academia, sinking into debt, sacrificing God knows how many years of what, in truth, is a piece of parchment that in truth has been so devalued by our instant gratification culture as to have been rendered meaninglessówill join in congratulating me. Thank you…

Lets talk about the real world for a moment. We had been discussing it earlier, and IÖI wanted to bring this up to you earlier about the real world, and this is I guess as good a time as any. I donít really know to put this, so Iíll be blunt. We broke it.

Please donít be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry.

I donít know if youíve been following the news lately, but it just kinda got away from us. Somewhere between the gold rush of easy internet profits and an arrogant sense of endless empire, we heard kind of a pinging noise, and uh, then the damn thing just died on us. So I apologize…

We declared war on terror. We declared war on terroróitís not even a noun, so, good luck. After we defeat it, Iím sure weíll take on that bastard ennui.

But obviously thatís the world. What about your lives? What piece of wisdom can I impart to you about my journey that will somehow ease your transition from college back to your parents’ basement?…

In 1980 I was 17 years old. When I moved to Williamsburg, my hall was in the basement of Yates, which combined the cheerfulness of a bomb shelter with the prison-like comfort of the group shower. As a freshman I was quite a catch. Less than five feet tall, yet my head is the same size it is now. Didnít even really look like a head, it looked more like a container for a head. I looked like a Peanuts character. Peanuts characters had terrible acne. But what I lacked in looks I made up for with a repugnant personality.

In 1981 I lost my virginity, only to gain it back again on appeal in 1983. You could say that my one saving grace was academics where I excelled, but I did not.

And yet now I live in the rarified air of celebrity, of mega stardom. My life a series of Hollywood orgies and Kabala center brunches with the cast of Friends. At least thatís what my handlers tell me. Iím actually too valuable to live my own life and spend most of my days in a vegetable crisper to remain fake news anchor fresh.

Very funny stuff. I remember seeing an interview on HBO a few years ago, Jon Stewart interviewing George Carlin on his 40th anniversary as a comedian. At the end Carlin said of Stewart that he was going to show us great things as as comic and he certainly has. He is pretty easily among the top 5 or 10 comics working today.