Posts tagged "Graduation"

Another Week Ends: Critical Minds, Ironic Irony, Doing What You Love, Bad Moms, Superhero Funerals, Busy Status, and Episco-Pools

Another Week Ends: Critical Minds, Ironic Irony, Doing What You Love, Bad Moms, Superhero Funerals, Busy Status, and Episco-Pools

1. With a fresh flock of college graduates entering the fray this week, a number of articles have appeared taking their pulse, and the pulse of higher education in general. Writing for The NY Times, Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University, aka Joss Whedon’s alma mater, issued some warnings about the over-development of our students’ critical faculties, a trend which naturally has implications well beyond the classroom. It’s certainly endemic to the blogosphere, for instance, both religious and otherwise. Plus, the phrase “fetishizing disbelief” strikes me as a potent one:

Liberal education in America has long been characterized by the…

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Adultescents and the Paralysis of Choice

Adultescents and the Paralysis of Choice

There is as much to be said about Sally Koslow’s Slouching Towards Adulthood as there is to be said about the entire cultural “issue” of emerging adults and its derivative platter of opinions. A mother of two adult boys who “have finally moved out,” Koslow speaks candidly and with humor about the parental experience of the adultescent, a term she defines as, “Americans twenty-two to thirty-five caught between adolescence and adulthood in an exploration that seems to go on forever, like the Rolling Stones.” Using her “adultescent” years and then her parenting years as a guide, she demarcates the differences…

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“What Doesn’t Kill You Almost Kills You” — Conan O’Brien

“What Doesn’t Kill You Almost Kills You” — Conan O’Brien

Today I will graduate from Yale University with a Master’s of Divinity degree. In the spirit of this season of graduations, I share with you this excerpt from Conan O’Brien’s speech at Dartmouth’s commencement last year:

I learned a hard but profound lesson last year and I’d like to share it with you. In 2000, I told graduates ‘Don’t be afraid to fail.’ Well now I’m here to tell you that, though you should not fear failure, you should do your very best to avoid it. Nietzsche famously said ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ But what he failed to…

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Commencement 2012: Graduating to Humility

Commencement 2012: Graduating to Humility

A piece by Charles Wheelan that appeared in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago has been the go-to status update for the collective Class of 2012, many of who find themselves lamenting their impending commencement exercises. With unemployment still above 8 percent and college graduates leaving their alma maters with an average of $25,000 of loans, it seems as though any commencement address has an uphill battle ahead of it. Normally, these 30-minute monologues remind graduates of their duty to make “the world a better place,” or more shamelessly, to remember to give back to the annual…

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Franzen on Technological Grace, The Dangers of Liking and the Cost of Loving

Franzen on Technological Grace, The Dangers of Liking and the Cost of Loving

So what is it about Kenyon College that inspires such great commencement speeches?! Maybe it’s the creative residue that Bill Watterson left behind at his alma mater (or John Zahl for that matter). Whatever the case, Jonathan Franzen followed in his friend and colleague David Foster Wallace’s steps and delivered this year’s address, an essayified version of which appeared in The NY Times last week. Franzen took the opportunity to rhapsodize on a number of our favorite subjects: human narcissism in relation to technology, the promise & power & problem of l-o-v-e, and inspiring call of (mocking)birds. At one point…

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Everybody Worships: David Foster Wallace on Real Freedom and the Skeleton of Every Great Story

Everybody Worships: David Foster Wallace on Real Freedom and the Skeleton of Every Great Story

The Wall Street Journal was kind enough to reprint the watershed commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College by late author/Mbird hero David Foster Wallace, now collected in the slim This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life volume. Some call it the finest example of the form, and I’m not sure I’d disagree:

A huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. Here’s one example of the utter wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: Everything…

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