Keck commencement — on video

People asked for this, so here it is. Eric Schulze caught my little performance at USC on video — you can watch it on youtube, or you can catch it in the embedded video below.

Oh, and here’s me and Eric. I’m not short, he’s very, very tall.



  1. #1 'Tis Himself
    May 18, 2009

    PZ, stop playing with your hat. It’s distracting.

  2. #2 c.layne
    May 18, 2009

    Is that guy standing on something?!

  3. #3 Jadehawk
    May 18, 2009

    note to self: when video pictures a band, turn volume to half before commencing with video.

    damn thing nearly gave me a heart attack :-p

  4. #4 Sastra
    May 18, 2009

    Very good speech, well delivered. You looked jumpy — but that was probably the camera work.

  5. #5 John B. Sandlin
    May 18, 2009

    Very cool. I like the message at the end.

    Paraphrased slightly:

    Continue to think for yourselves. Think loudly, so that the rest of us can hear.

    Nice, that. Indeed, I’m not sure there could be a more important message for anyone. In a country supposedly built on the histories of rugged independent individuals, it’s amazing how “Group Think” this nation has become.

    Think. Think for yourself. Think out loud!


  6. #6 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 18, 2009

    Jadehawk, the band in this situation must project (reach the back row) without the benefit of amplification. So yes, they will be loud.

  7. #7 SC, OM
    May 18, 2009
  8. #8 Newfie
    May 18, 2009

    USC? Did you wear a Trojan?

  9. #9 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    May 18, 2009

    Actually I think PZ’s speech will stick in the mind of a lot of the graduates. It has the special thing called brevity. It means that they can remember bits of pieces. An hour long talk with platitude after platitude is soon forgotten due to disinterest.

  10. #10 ERV
    May 18, 2009

    *loling at the thought of a band following PZ around, hailing his entrance/exit from every room/building*


  11. #11 Glen Davidson
    May 18, 2009

    No sacking, pillaging, or baby eating?

    I’m mighty suspicious that the photos are a cover-up.

    Glen D

  12. #12 SphinctOr
    May 18, 2009


    PZ must have have carried his testicles onstage, in a wheel-barrow!

    Dr. Myers, you are an inspiration.
    I WILL speak loudly…
    Seriously, that was a fantastic speech.
    I only wish I could have seen the faces of the audience during your speech. I’m sure you shocked (enlightened) a few.

    Thank You for being you.

  13. #13 The Science Pundit
    May 18, 2009

    Tell us PZ, were you itching to take the gown off too? 😛

  14. #14 Steve_C
    May 18, 2009

    That seemed to go over very well. Well done.

  15. #15 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 18, 2009

    No sacking, pillaging, or baby eating?

    After party.

  16. #16 echidna
    May 18, 2009

    You could hear a pin drop when PZ called religion a load of tosh, and the applause at the end seemed enthusiastic, and heartfelt.

  17. #17 Alex Deam
    May 18, 2009

    Always with the role play, eh PZ?

  18. #18 CalGeorge
    May 18, 2009


    Be offensive!

    Raise your voices and make your opinions heard.


    Go Bruins!

  19. #19 John S. Wilkins
    May 18, 2009

    My godz, Paul; I know you are almost exactly my height, so a smidge under 6’… he must be over 7′!

  20. #20 Vincent
    May 18, 2009

    I thought stupid outfits were only used by high ranked catholic priests :-)

  21. #21 Rick
    May 19, 2009

    @ vincent
    Exactly! I was waitng for the incense and friggin crackers to come out.

  22. #22 Apikoros
    May 19, 2009

    I so wish I could have heard your speech, PZ, instead of the commencement address I actually sat through this past Friday.

    I got to hear a senile retired general yammer on about the danger of Socialism, and the bias of the Media, and Miss California’s right to free speech without being mocked or criticized.

    You spoke about the future, and graduates entering the real world; we spent nearly an hour (!) hearing about Republican Reagan-Era Fantasyland… ugg.

  23. #23 Eric
    May 19, 2009

    Wow! I do look like a freak of nature standing next to PZ!

    I had the distinct honor of hosting Dr. Myers’ first-ever commencement address. I hope everyone here makes this type of speaking engagement normal for him. Please invite him to speak.

    In speaking with people who were not familiar with PZ, but heard his address, many young students were seemingly transformed by his message. As I stated in another thread, I have never commented before, but I wanted everyone to share in his words that could not have been there. Please spread these videos around.

    If anyone needs anything else related to this event or has any questions, feel free to find me on Facebook. I’d be happy to help.

    I hope you all enjoy this! (And sorry for the editing — I am new to iMovie).

  24. #24 room101
    May 19, 2009

    Eric @23:

    Thank you very much for sharing this great moment with us – very enjoyable!

  25. #25 Brock
    May 19, 2009

    Sorry, but between the buzzing audio and the shaky camera, I couldn’t listen to the whole thing. It was making me nauseous.

    But the speech as written was beautiful. Thanks for posting both. My campus CFI would love to get PZ out here period, let alone for something as big as commencement. Guess I should get the courage to email…

  26. #26 littlejohn
    May 19, 2009

    Seriously, we MUST crash this poll:

    Should abortion be outlawed? This is an ultra-conservative newspaper in a very red state. Go get ’em.

  27. #27 Jadehawk
    May 19, 2009

    what’s there to crash? the “abortion should always be legal” bit is already leading

  28. #28 Anonymous
    May 19, 2009

    We are all looking to you and your generation to carry on what PZ, Dawkins and others going back to Darwin have started, namely; discover and tell the truth about nature as honestly and as factually and as well as you can. Others will follow and they will thank you. I’d say good luck, too but from the looks of your introduction you’ll do very, very well without it. Ahh shucks, good luck, anyway.

    To witness you deliver that speech at a place like USC makes me very happy to live during this period of time. I never thought I’d see the day. Very well done.

  29. #29 Monado
    May 19, 2009

    Excellent. You have a very pleasant speaking voice, too.

    Meanwhile, GrrlScientist is asking people to tell New York’s city government to library services, especially free wireless internet access for poor computer users such as herself.


  30. #31 Noah
    May 19, 2009

    I liked your speech, and I liked your message. USC must have been nice in the Summer LA weather and the dark gowns…

  31. #32 Love F
    May 19, 2009

    Unrelated: Check out xkcd: flying sharks! Nr. 585 if you see this too late

  32. #33 Love F
    May 19, 2009

    Unrelated: Check out xkcd: flying sharks! Nr. 585 if you see this too late

  33. #34 Love F
    May 19, 2009

    Unrelated: Check out xkcd: flying sharks! Nr. 585 if you see this too late

  34. #35 Love F
    May 19, 2009

    Some problem with commenting. Sorry for the multiple post.

  35. #36 Bob Vogel
    May 19, 2009

    I both read your transcript and watched this video. I now forgive Obama for rarely looking directly into the camera while giving an excellent communication to the American people.

  36. #37 Nat J.
    May 19, 2009

    I liked it, some important points, some humor. Delightful to put a voice with a face.

  37. #38 Tommy
    May 19, 2009

    Is there something wrong with the video? Once the speakers start coming on, all I get is static. The music in the beginning played fine though.

  38. #39 MarcusEvoGrad
    May 19, 2009

    I’m having the same problem as Tommy. The only audible sound I get is the band. I have the same problem with the YouTube version as well.

  39. #40 Chris Davis
    May 19, 2009

    I give thanks to the FSM that the earthquake constantly shaking poor Eric off his feet somehow stayed away from PZ, else he would have had to fiddle even more with his silly hat.

    But a splendid talk, despite the geological upheavals.

  40. #41 Prof. Henry Armitage
    May 19, 2009

    Off topic: The L.A.Times has picked up on the criticism of the Allen article.

    Atheists respond to Charlotte Allen

  41. #42 Alex Deam
    May 19, 2009

    OW. What with all the red?

    Charlotte Allen’s May 17 Op-Ed article…has gone viral, sitting at No. 4 on list of most e-mailed stories as of 2:45 p.m. today.

    How is that “gone viral”? Something had to be the 4th most email latimes story, no? A story on you site can’t go viral if your basis is solely the rankings on your site. Also, if you want to judge “viralness”, instead of looking at relative positions of stories, look at absolute positions.

    Myers’ response, which he filed under his blog category “Gooks”

    Lol, “Gooks”!

    The LA Times is full of fail, though at least they had the decency to semi-post a response.

  42. #43 Kilian Hekhuis
    May 19, 2009

    Same problem as Tommy and MarcusEvoGrad. No sound after the band, just some noise.

  43. #44 Ploon
    May 19, 2009

    OT but interesting: mutated rats. Noooo, we never see evolution happening, do we?

  44. #45 Alex Deam
    May 19, 2009

    Ploon, I wouldn’t trust any science story from the Mail. Usually they willfully distort the facts to suit their editorial position; if they do try and get the story right, they fail miserably; and if they do actually get the story right, it’s usually by mistake.

    Still let’s laugh at some of its reader’s comments:

    I understand from your article that the rat population stands at 80 million, is that including the ones in Westminster.

    – stan, Plymouth, 15/5/2009 16:30
    Click to rate Rating 164

    The government should put a bounty on them and then GET OUT OF THE WAY. The citizenry will come up with effective solutions.

    Not letting garbage rot for two weeks between collections would be useful but that would go against current official “green” ideology.

    – P. Rodgers, Myersville, USA, 15/5/2009 16:16
    Click to rate Rating 101

    Blimey this could be about whitehall.

    – Andrew, Essex, 15/5/2009 16:15
    Click to rate Rating 82

    There was a tradition particularly in the north east, of people hunting and killing rats with Jack Russells and other similar terrier breeds, but of course the government who claim to represent the working classes, banned hunting with dogs, this rat infestation situation was one of the predicted outcomes, no one is keeping the numbers down, it’s no wonder thier numbers are increasing. Stronger poisons and more exterminators would be a help.

    – Norman, Cramlington, Northumberland., 15/5/2009 15:59
    Click to rate Rating 17

    Not only are they poison resistant – they claim millions in illegal expenses……………

    – Chris Williams, Bridgend, 15/5/2009 15:41
    Click to rate Rating 36

    Prof Smith … if you kill off all the rats without immunity to poison you end up with rats that have immunity to poison or no rats. This is indeed natural selection, but not evolution since they are still rats. Had they evolved into something other than a rat, then that would be evidence for evolution. It is merely variation within a kind causing speciation through natural selection. (See Darwin’s finches etc).

    – Steve, Yarm, 15/5/2009 15:38
    Click to rate Rating 14

    Hmm, no racist ones there for a change. And no fundie ones either, on a story related to evolution. Interesting.

  45. #46 Prof. Henry Armitage
    May 19, 2009

    Myers’ response, which he filed under his blog category “Gooks”

    It’s bad enough that he misread “Kooks” as “Gooks”, but it’s bizarre that he didn’t think “Hey, naming a category after a pejorative name for Asians, and using it in relation to someone who isn’t Asian, is a bit odd. Maybe I should check to see if I read that right”.

    Another data-point that suggests that the quality of journalism at the L.A.Times is piss-poor.

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