Thursday, September 13, 2007

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This is what happens when you ask me to deliver a convocation speech

I was recruited to be the faculty speaker at The Fletcher School's fall convocation. My talk was modestly titled "On Global Governance, Think Tanks, and Angelina Jolie."

Go check it out. One of my opening jokes:

I feel like I am obligated to impart some priceless nugget of wisdom, something that can be of use to you for the rest of your lives. After racking my brain for six weeks, here was what I was able to come up with (take paper out of pocket). never, under any circumstances, buy a cheap mattress. You will spend a quarter to a third of your lives on this particular piece of furniture. If you buy an inexpensive bed to save some money in the short term, your back will remind you of this error for the rest of your life. Take it from someone who once made this mistake always splurge on your mattress.
Just because it's funny silly doesn't mean it's not true.

I should add that the student speaker, Isabel De Sola, acquitted herself quite well. Click here to read her speech.

posted by Dan on 09.13.07 at 01:13 PM


"just because it's funny". Surely you jest sir?

posted by: dave on 09.13.07 at 01:13 PM [permalink]

My nugget of priceless wisdom would have been, if you need to wear bifocals, make your sunglasses bifocals too. Not being able to read outside on a sunny day is just a total bummer.

When I was in college we used to say that any professor who learned more from us than we did from him must be a moron. It was just a joke.

posted by: Zathras on 09.13.07 at 01:13 PM [permalink]

A useful bit of concrete, practical advice is much more likely to be remembered and followed than a deep nugget of philosophical wisdom, however wise.

Vanishingly few people make radical life-changes based on a convocation, graduation or other speech given as a supplement to an event. (Those tend to end up in cults shortly afterward anyway, so the lasting effect is limited.)

Perhaps more speakers should follow the policy of concreteness, especially if combined with conciseness.

posted by: John Bragg on 09.13.07 at 01:13 PM [permalink]

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