Saturday, May 31, 2008
MORE POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE FOR THE NEWLY MINTED GRADS
WRITER AND COLUMNIST - P.J. O'ROURKE
Commencement Speech - Webster College - 2007
L.A. TIMES ARTICLE ON THE SPEECH:
Fairness, idealism and other atrocities
Commencement advice you're unlikely to hear elsewhere.
By P.J. O'Rourke
May 4, 2008
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.
So now, it's my job to give you advice. But I'm thinking: You're finishing 16 years of education, and you've heard all the conventional good advice you can stand. So, let me offer some relief:
1. Go out and make a bunch of money!
Here we are living in the world's most prosperous country, surrounded by all the comforts, conveniences and security that money can provide. Yet no American political, intellectual or cultural leader ever says to young people, "Go out and make a bunch of money." Instead, they tell you that money can't buy happiness. Maybe, but money can rent it.
There's nothing the matter with honest moneymaking. Wealth is not a pizza, where if I have too many slices you have to eat the Domino's box. In a free society, with the rule of law and property rights, no one loses when someone else gets rich.
2. Don't be an idealist!
Don't chain yourself to a redwood tree. Instead, be a corporate lawyer and make $500,000 a year. No matter how much you cheat the IRS, you'll still end up paying $100,000 in property, sales and excise taxes. That's $100,000 to schools, sewers, roads, firefighters and police. You'll be doing good for society. Does chaining yourself to a redwood tree do society $100,000 worth of good?
Idealists are also bullies. The idealist says, "I care more about the redwood trees than you do. I care so much I can't eat. I can't sleep. It broke up my marriage. And because I care more than you do, I'm a better person. And because I'm the better person, I have the right to boss you around."
Get a pair of bolt cutters and liberate that tree.
Who does more for the redwoods and society anyway -- the guy chained to a tree or the guy who founds the "Green Travel Redwood Tree-Hug Tour Company" and makes a million by turning redwoods into a tourist destination, a valuable resource that people will pay just to go look at?
So make your contribution by getting rich. Don't be an idealist.
3. Get politically uninvolved!
All politics stink. Even democracy stinks. Imagine if our clothes were selected by the majority of shoppers, which would be teenage girls. I'd be standing here with my bellybutton exposed. Imagine deciding the dinner menu by family secret ballot. I've got three kids and three dogs in my family. We'd be eating Froot Loops and rotten meat.
But let me make a distinction between politics and politicians. Some people are under the misapprehension that all politicians stink. Impeach George W. Bush, and everything will be fine. Nab Ted Kennedy on a DUI, and the nation's problems will be solved.
But the problem isn't politicians -- it's politics. Politics won't allow for the truth. And we can't blame the politicians for that. Imagine what even a little truth would sound like on today's campaign trail:
"No, I can't fix public education. The problem isn't the teachers unions or a lack of funding for salaries, vouchers or more computer equipment The problem is your kids!"
4. Forget about fairness!
We all get confused about the contradictory messages that life and politics send.
Life sends the message, "I'd better not be poor. I'd better get rich. I'd better make more money than other people." Meanwhile, politics sends us the message, "Some people make more money than others. Some are rich while others are poor. We'd better close that 'income disparity gap.' It's not fair!"
Well, I am here to advocate for unfairness. I've got a 10-year-old at home. She's always saying, "That's not fair." When she says this, I say, "Honey, you're cute. That's not fair. Your family is pretty well off. That's not fair. You were born in America. That's not fair. Darling, you had better pray to God that things don't start getting fair for you." What we need is more income, even if it means a bigger income disparity gap.
5. Be a religious extremist!
So, avoid politics if you can. But if you absolutely cannot resist, read the Bible for political advice -- even if you're a Buddhist, atheist or whatever. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those people who believes that God is involved in politics. On the contrary. Observe politics in this country. Observe politics around the world. Observe politics through history. Does it look like God's involved?
The Bible is very clear about one thing: Using politics to create fairness is a sin. Observe the Tenth Commandment. The first nine commandments concern theological principles and social law: Thou shalt not make graven images, steal, kill, et cetera. Fair enough. But then there's the tenth: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's."
Here are God's basic rules about how we should live, a brief list of sacred obligations and solemn moral precepts. And, right at the end of it we read, "Don't envy your buddy because he has an ox or a donkey." Why did that make the top 10? Why would God, with just 10 things to tell Moses, include jealousy about livestock?
Well, think about how important this commandment is to a community, to a nation, to a democracy. If you want a mule, if you want a pot roast, if you want a cleaning lady, don't whine about what the people across the street have. Get rich and get your own.
Now, one last thing:
6. Don't listen to your elders!
After all, if the old person standing up here actually knew anything worth telling, he'd be charging you for it.
P.J. O'Rourke, a correspondent for the Weekly Standard and the Atlantic, is the author, most recently, of "On The Wealth of Nations." A longer version of this article appears in Change magazine, which reports on trends and issues in higher education.
Eagle Baseball Club Recommended Reading List for Baseball & Softball Excellence
- 52 Week Baseball Training by Gene Coleman
- Advanced Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription by Vivian Heyward
- Athletic Body in Balance by Gray Cook
- Athletic Development by Vern Gambetta
- Complete Conditioning for Baseball by Steve Tamborra
- Expert Performance in Sports by Starkes and Ericsson
- Measurement & Evaluation in Human Performance by Morrow, Jackson, Disch & Mood
- Norms for Fitness, Performance and Health by Jay Hoffman
- Sports Speed - 3rd Edition by George Dintiman & Robert Ward
- Sports Talent by Jim Brown
- The Softball Coaching Bible by National Fastpitch Coaching Association
- Total Training for Young Champions by Tudor Bompa
Eagle Baseball Club Recommended Products List
- Baseball Success Secrets by Dr. Tom Hanson
- Keep Your Eye on the Ball: The Science and Folklore of Baseball by Robert G. Watts and A. Terry Bahill
- Mindset: The New Psychology for Success by Dr. Carol Dweck
- Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin
- The Genius in all of Us by David Shenk
- The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
Giants Top Minor League Prospects
- 1. Tyler Beede 6-4, 215 RHP from Vanderbilt projects as top of the rotation starter when he works out his command/control issues. When he misses, he misses by a bunch.
- 2. Chris Shaw 6-3. 230 1B Lefty power bat, limited defensively to 1B, Matt Adams comp?
- 3. Bryan Reynolds 6-2, 210 OF Switch hitter with average speed and polished hitting approach. Fits Giants mold of high-floor, low-ceiling prospects.
- 4. Stephen Duggar 6-1, 170 CF Another toolsy, under-achieving OF in the Gary Brown mold, hoping for better results.
- 5. Sandro Fabian 6-0, 180 OF Dominican signee from 2014, shows some pop in his bat. Below average arm and lack of speed should push him towards LF.
- 6. Aramis Garcia 6-2, 220 C from Florida INTL projects as a good bat behind the dish with enough defensive skill to play there long-term
- 7. Heliot Ramos 6-2, 185 OF Potential high-ceiling player the Giants have been looking for. Great bat speed, early returns were impressive.
- 8. Garrett Williams 6-1, 205 LHP Former Oklahoma standout, Giants prototype, low-ceiling, high-floor prospect.
- 9. Heath Quinn 6-2, 190 OF Strong hitter, makes contact with improving approach at the plate. Returns from hamate bone injury.
- 10. Seth Corry 6-2 195 LHP Highly regard HS pick. Was mentioned as possible chip in high profile trades.
- 11. Jacob Gonzalez 6-3, 190 3B Good pedigree, impressive bat for HS prospect.
- 12. C.J. Hinojosa 5-10, 175 SS Scrappy IF prospect in the mold of Kelby Tomlinson, just gets it done.
- 13. Shaun Anderson 6-4, 225 RHP Large frame, 3.36 K/BB rate. Can start or relieve
- 14. Garett Cave 6-4, 200 RHP He misses a lot of bats and at times, the plate. 13 K/9 an 5 B/9. Wild thing.
2018 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players
- 1. Ethan Hankins 6-6, 215 RHP Forsyth Central HS (GA) Mi 90's FB tops at 96-98, plus breaking ball. Vanderbilt commit.
- 2. Kumar Rocker 6-5, 250 RHP North Oconee HS (GA) Heavy 98 FB, sharp mid 90's slider. Vanderbilt commit.
- 3. Matthew Liberatore 6-5, 200 LHP Mountain Ridge HS (AZ) High 3/4 arm slot, 91-93 FB tops at 95, with good feel for pitching. Arizona commit.
- 4. Slade Cecconi 6-4, 195 RHP Trinity Prep HS (FL) High 90's FB tops at 97, with mid 80's breaking ball. Miami commit.
- 5. Carter Stewart 6-6, 200 RHP Eau Galle HS (FL) Highest spin rate breaking ball in draft. Mississippi State commit.
- 6. Luke Bartnicki 6-3, 210 LHP Walton HS (GA) Low 90's FB with command, workable slider. Georgia Tech commit.
2018 Top MLB College Draft Prospects
- 1. Brady Singer 6-5, 200 RHP Florida Sergio Romo-esque slider from whippy low 3/4 arm slot. Mid 90's FB, sharp slider and change-up. 3.4 K/BB rate.
- 2. Casey Mize 6-3, 210 RHP Auburn Forearm issues, 96 FB with split/slider mix, 6.2 K/BB ratio.
- 3. Logan Gilbert 6-6, 205 RHP Stetson Loose arm action, 3 pitch mix, 93-96 FB 3.2 K/BB.
- 4. Ryan Rollison 6-3, 200 LHP Mississippi Smooth delivery from 3/4 arm slot, 89-93 FB tops at 94/95. Late 1st, early 2nd rounder. 2.8 K/BB rate.
- 5. Shane McClanahan 6-1, 175 LHP South Florida Thin build, 3/4 arm slot, tall and fall delivery. 93/96 FB range. 3.0 K/BB rate.