Sunday, May 04, 2008

Finally, Advice College Grads Can Use

Conservative pundit and humorist P.J. O'Rourke writes the send-off newly made college graduates should receive at their commencement ceremonies this May but won't in his piece, "Fairness, idealism and other atrocities: Commencement advice you're unlikely to hear elsewhere":

"Well, here you are at your college graduation. And I know what you're thinking: "Gimme the sheepskin and get me outta here!" But not so fast. First you have to listen to a commencement speech.

"Don't moan. I'm not going to "pass the wisdom of one generation down to the next." I'm a member of the 1960s generation. We didn't have any wisdom.

"We were the moron generation. We were the generation that believed we could stop the Vietnam War by growing our hair long and dressing like circus clowns. We believed drugs would change everything -- which they did, for John Belushi. We believed in free love. Yes, the love was free, but we paid a high price for the sex.

"My generation spoiled everything for you. It has always been the special prerogative of young people to look and act weird and shock grown-ups. But my generation exhausted the Earth's resources of the weird. Weird clothes -- we wore them. Weird beards -- we grew them. Weird words and phrases -- we said them. So, when it came your turn to be original and look and act weird, all you had left was to tattoo your faces and pierce your tongues. Ouch. That must have hurt. I apologize."
And it just gets better from there.

My first introduction to Peej came way back in high school when he wrote for National Lampoon magazine. He was the editor about every third month in its golden era, 1973 to 1975, and hilarious. I kept reading Lampoon until all the jokes fell out of it in the 1980s. Still, Peej helped write one of the Lampoon's most profound critiques of American culture in the best seller, "National Lampoon's 1964 High School Yearbook, 39th Reunion," which is ranked next to "Moby Dick" in American literature, or should be. His colleagues at the National Lampoon had come from the Harvard Lampoon. One of them wrote a book where they expressed dismay and betrayal to discover that the Peej who had appeared to them to be a fellow lefty was in fact a conservative heretic and blasphemer. Heh.

Peej just got better over the years, writing Holidays in Hell (1989) and many other satirical conservative articles, dispensing memorable quotes like, "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." If it's been a while since you read Peej, it's time to revisit him. If you have never read him, it's time.

Thanks to Hot Air



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