Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Where the entitlement never ends

Harvard's undergraduate commencement speaker is selected by, according to the NPR article, alumni and parents, people who respect the tradition of the institution with the benefit of added perspective. Apparently selecting someone with a unique, lighter-weighted career didn't sufficiently stroke the egos of a few of the graduates, and some of these quotes remind us of what the hell is wrong with this world.

"I think we could have done better," shrugged computer science major Kevin Bombino. He says Rowling lacks the gravitas a Harvard commencement speaker should have.

"You know, we're Harvard. We're like the most prominent national institution. And I think we should be entitled to … we should be able to get anyone. And in my opinion, we're settling here."

You have to listen to this tool stumbling over his "we should be entitled to" remark. It's like, somewhere in that education, he learned about entitlement, about how maybe he and some of the kids around him are some of the most entitled human beings on the face of the earth, but it never occurred to him that maybe that entitlement had some limits.

Speaking of past speakers:
"It's definitely the 'A' list, and I wouldn't ever associate J.K. Rowling with the people on that list," says senior Andy Vaz. "From the moment we walk through the gates of Harvard Yard, they constantly emphasize that we are the leaders of tomorrow. They should have picked a leader to speak at commencement. Not a children's writer. What does that say to the class of 2008? Are we the joke class?"
Yes, you Tool. If you are graduating from that class, either your class is the joke class, or every class behind you has been as well, and nobody told you. Your $200,000 education obviously dropped in value because one of the most successful human beings who didn't have your background got to speak to you for twenty minutes.

To be fair, I'm betting that a tremendous number of Harvard kids enjoyed having Rowling there, and I bet plenty of them don't take themselves as seriously as bunch of asshole 22-year olds who some how avoided picking up any perspective while hanging out with some of the brightest young people on the planet for the past four years. And NPR might have sought the only naysayers in the whole class in order to write their "look how much better YOUR intellectual snobbery is than this guy's intellectual snobbery, you dashing hipster you!" article. But maybe they didn't.

This tunnelvision of the "we're the University X, bow before our shit which does not stink" mentality probably trickles down to, say, the top 40 undergraduate institutions in U.S. News and World Report and probably 20 of the "liberal arts" colleges that get their own perverse ranking system. And probably the top 25 medical schools, law schools, business schools, speech pathology schools, etc. So it goes.

So, congratulations Kevin Bombino and Andy Vaz, on those pieces of papers that will provide you with all the entitlement you could ever imagine. And, when you become one of those "leaders" you're so worried about, may God have mercy on all of us.

1 comment:

Lauren D said...

Great commentary, I always enjoy reading what you have to say. You put my feelings into words a lot of the time! :)