Commencement speaker blasts students
Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction. Dream big. Work hard. Think for yourself. Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might. And do so, please ...
June 8, 2012
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008
Afraid to face "the world's complexity, its vagueness, its terrible beauties," they hide behind "tepid clichés" and "murmured truisms," "reduc[ing] the world's terrible tragedies to mindless talk on the television screen. Since he identifies ...
August 5, 2008
It was all said in the context of telling students that there is a big wide world out there and that they should not succumb to a culture in which everyone gets a trophy. McCullough, son of the award-winning historian David McCullough Sr. , advised the students to seize the future by doing what they love, rather than taking a job for money. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you,” he said near the end of the speech. “Contrary to what your soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped... Here’s the text of the speech from The Swellesley Report:. (And don’t say, “What about weddings. ” Weddings are one-sided and insufficiently effective. Weddings are bride-centric pageantry. No stately, hey-everybody-look-at-me procession. Left to men, weddings would be, after limits-testing procrastination,.
"Do you not see," wrote John Keats, poet of melancholy, "how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a Soul. " According to Eric Wilson, this is a lesson that we Americans, obsessed with happiness at the expense of all those more somber, soul-making states of mind-- melancholy, sadness, gloomy introspection-- are fast forgetting. Bombarded with self-help books and prescriptions for Prozac, we think that every pang of sorrow, every lapse into gloom, must be either a sign of disease or a personal failing, something to be overcome in the quest for perfect bliss. In our drive to see the world at all costs as a bright, shiny place of hugs and smiley faces--these days, "to be a patriot is to be peppy," Wilson quips-- we are becoming a shallow culture of "muted souls" and "paper-thin minds," a "dystopia of... " Worse yet, in turning our backs on melancholia, in treating even ordinary sadness as an "aberrant state that should be cursed as weakness of will or removed with the help of a little pink pill," we are at risk of eradicating a major cultural... " Despite the book's title, it turns out that Wilson is not against happiness in general.