Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

John Lithgow's Harvard Commencement Speech, which I didn't see.

"Be creative. Be useful. Be practical. Be generous. Simple as that."

Not bad advice, I don't think.

"Many of you are leaving Harvard with lofty, ambitious goals. (Those of you who have no immediate goals, don't worry, you will discover them soon). A lot of you will achieve those goals, some with extravagant success. In fact, I'm secretly counting on you to go out and make things right in this perilous, suffering world and in this deeply troubled nation. But when you get what you're aiming for, or even as you go through the process of getting it, think about what else you can also do."

Reading this, I wish I'd seen it. It sounds like a wonderful speech.

"Since college graduation is the clearest possible demarcation between childhood and adulthood, I have decided to write a brand new children's book and to recite it for you. Think of it as a kind of fond farewell to your young years.

The book is about a mouse named Mahalia who goes to college. Just to bring things full circle, call it a picaresque tale. She has adventures and she learns a lot.

Is it useful? Well, it's certainly intended to be. It is calculated to make little children curious and excited about the notion of education in general and college in particular. And hopefully its usefulness will extend to pouring oil on troubled waters: your campus was roiled by a bitter, divisive controversy in the last semester of your undergraduate years. The book is my cheerful and constructive response to all the turbulence: Mahalia Mouse, you see, studies science."

The transcript omits the recitation of the book, which is disappointing, because it sounds neat. Man, I wish I'd seen the speech. (Although the cocktail party at the professor's house was awesome too, so it's not like I wish I didn't do that.... Hard choices.... Then again, I get to read a transcript of the speech, and that's almost as good.)