P.J. O’Rourke’s Commencement Speech to Rutgers’ Geniuses: Go Forth and Fail

ORourke

Greetings, Class of 2014. So Condoleezza Rice was too offensive for you. Just wait until Monday morning. Did you learn how to spell KFC?

P.J. O’Rourke writes: Rutgers Did Not Invite Me to Give Its Commencement Speech Today…The university got pretty confused about who would, after Condoleezza Rice declined.Rutgers invited, then disinvited, then re-invited Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers defensive tackle who was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a 2010 football game. LeGrand went on to write two books, become a motivational speaker, and finish his Rutgers degree via Skype.

“…1989 happens to be when the Berlin Wall fell. I know, I know, most of you weren’t born, and you get your news from TMZ. A wall falling over can’t be as interesting as Beyonce’s sister punching and kicking Jay Z in a New York hotel elevator…”

Between inviting and re-inviting LeGrand, Rutgers invited and confirmed the invitation of former New Jersey governor and former head of the 9/11 Commission Tom Kean. So the university has two—and, for all I know, still counting—commencement speakers. But Rutgers never got confused enough to invite me.

“Stop taking selfies and Google “Berlin Wall” on the iPhones you’re all fiddling with.”

Eric LeGrand and Tom Kean are uplifting figures.  LeGrand has raised hope. Kean has raised hell with the CIA and FBI. I am not uplifting.

Here Is What I Would Tell the Rutgers Graduating Class of 2014…

I hear Condoleezza Rice stood you up. You may think it was because about 50 students—.09 percent of your student body—held a “sit-in” at the university president’s office to protest the selection of Secretary Rice as commencement speaker. You may think it was because a few of your faculty—stale flakes from the crust of the turkey pot pie that was the New Left—threatened a “teach-in” to protest the selection of Secretary Rice.

“Sit-in”? “Teach-in”? What century is this?

I think Secretary Rice forgot she had a yoga session scheduled for today.

It’s shame she was busy. You might have heard something useful from a person who grew up poor in Jim Crow Alabama. Who lost a friend and playmate in 1963 when white supremacists bombed Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Who became an accomplished concert pianist before she tuned her ear to the more dissonant chords of international relations.

Secretary Rice was Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Denver and received a B.A. cum laude in political science—back before the worst grade a student had ever heard of was a B-.

The professor who influenced her most was Josef Korbel, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s father.

Secretary Albright and Secretary Rice don’t agree on much about international relations. But they don’t sit-in or teach-in at each other’s public appearances.

Secretary Rice got a master’s in political science from Notre Dame, a Ph.D. in political science from Denver and, in the meantime, was an intern at the Carter administration State Department and the Rand Corporation and studied Russian at Moscow State University.

Well, maybe nobody does need to be smart. But that’s your problem, sitting here thinking you’re so smart for graduating from Rutgers.

She rose from assistant professor to provost at Stanford. (Ranked fifth-best university in America by U.S. News & World Report. You’re ranked 69th.) While she was doing that, she also served, from 1989 to 1991, as the Soviet expert on the White House National Security Council under President George H. W. Bush.

1989 happens to be when the Berlin Wall fell. I know, I know, most of you weren’t born, and you get your news from TMZ. A wall falling over can’t be as interesting as Beyonce’s sister punching and kicking Jay Z in a New York hotel elevator. But that 1989 moment of “something there is that doesn’t love a wall” (and I’ll bet you a personal karaoke performance of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” that you can’t name the poet who wrote it) had interesting consequences. Stop taking selfies and Google “Berlin Wall” on the iPhones you’re all fiddling with….(read more)

The Daily Beast

 


One Comment on “P.J. O’Rourke’s Commencement Speech to Rutgers’ Geniuses: Go Forth and Fail”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet Greetings, Class of 2014. So Condoleezza Rice was too offensive for you. Just wait until Monday […]


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