Well graduation was a nice affair. Even though ther are 600 kids in the class, they managed to get it done in about two hours. There was no guest speaker, and most of the podium activity was the kids, some of it lively. There was some music, and some nice talent in development phase. One girl and her group channeled Linda Perry and Four Non Blondes, What’s Going On, kind of a woman’s anthem. The song has a hypnotic pulse to it and speaks of someone waking up, though I don’t see much of that around me. The society as a whole is in deep slumber.
Even as they spoke of twelve years of “learning” and “education,” those goal posts have not just been moved, but taken off the field. One speaker did talk about answering questions, even asking them, in a non-standard way. But mostly these kids have been grilled in test-taking where correct answers are the requirement for advancement. In this manner, their imaginations have been largely shut down. Those who go into music will need imagination, and for that field we on the outside can be confident in our judgment of talent and achievement, since we have ears. For the rest in science, math, accounting, economics, psychiatry, psychology, medicine … Who knows. It could all be a big empty balloon.
The most important person, a man, head of the school district or some other administrative post, seemed to be regarded as the most profound speaker. After five minutes listening, realized that not one original idea had made its way from those lips – he cited this person and that person, tried to use names the kids would recognize. Pretty dull standard stuff, the kind of thing that gets you promoted in that world. If he reads at all, it is vetted material. He’s not going to deviate from accepted Pringles potato chips into anything possessing an original shape or flavor. He is, after all, the product of a factory that makes all chips,the same size, shape and color.
And he was the best they had to offer. Yeah, wear sun screen, I thought.
Ellen deGeneres gave the best commence address I have ever heard. She, who never went to college, has enjoyed success beyond measure, all the product of pain. She probably did lousy in the ACT or SAT, as her regurgitation skills are weak. That is what made her famous.