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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Commencement Season


Commencement season is upon us, which means that insipid celebrities of all flavors will bestow their opinions upon a new generation of bright-eyed college grads. Notable was former President Bill Clinton. His prose at the NYU graduation read like so: "today’s business schools are teaching the students to always put profits above people, and that the shareholders are more important than the stakeholders." His gratuitous recap-er explained, "If corporations did business where the stakeholders held as much importance as the shareholders, America would be flooded with jobs. This would happen because the corporations would not be seeking low wage countries and turning their backs on America’s exceptional standard of living. They would pay their employees well after a hard day’s work."

The second "point" Clinton made was to say that another problem is the 'accepted' premise that the government messes everything up it touches. (I wish that was a problem!) I mean, set aside Medicare, welfare, the Postal Service, the DMV, the minimum wage, No Child Left Behind, Pell Grants, prohibition, the War on Drugs, public schools, Obamacare, etc., he may be onto something.

First of all, particularly considering NYU's lifeblood is the Stern School of Business, I daresay it's pretty disrespectful to go to a school and, as part of a graduation speech, tell the students their school was no good. Second, I think an alleged rapist should qualify his statements about ethics a bit more, or at least give Oliver Stone credit. If President Clinton wants to see businesses act more ethically, perhaps he should lobby to incentivize, or nationalize, these practices. I'm sure that will lead to greater prosperity for all.

Anyway, I find it terribly irritating to think that my tuition sometimes to paying some politician-loser to tell me how to live (more). I'd much prefer someone, well, accomplished.

I'm not against the practice, though, when it gives a good soundbite, like Cornell's commencement in 2010 when Nancy Pelosi proclaimed "that the Democrats will be the Majority after the mid-term elections."

Have you heard any other commencement stories worthy of an eye-roll?
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  1. I have an eye-rolling story as well. It's about a girl who's hardly out of college writing that Bill Clinton, former US President who left office with record-high approval, is not accomplished but is in fact a "politician-loser."

    Come on, Kathleen. Even if you disagree with his policies or message, its ridiculous to insinuate Bill Clinton isn't accomplished or is some kind of deadbeat. We read Legal Insurrection for a mature, conservative viewpoint on major issues. This isn't the place for baseless mudslinging.

  2. When we're talking about Clinton, it certainly isn't "baseless mudslinging". I only wish that the President of the United States hadn't done all those things. Unfortunately, it's all pretty factual.

  3. Michael Vick is giving a commencement speech on caring for your pets.


  4. The poor folks playing the music for the thing have to listen to lots of really bad addresses....by the 5th or 6th straight year, you just start playing cards and judge them by how many minutes they ramble on while making you sit in the heat. Best? 16.5 minutes. Worst? Lost track at about 43 minutes.

  5. @ Renault, I never said anything about my accomplishments relative to politicians (heck, I haven't graduated yet). I will say, though, that Clinton was a terrible President who pillaged the private sector and probably never sat in one of the nefarious MBA courses he was berating.

    @RoseB, right on.