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(The Stranger)   Award-winning author of "Snow Falling on Cedars" delivers unorthodox high-school commencement speech, gets heckled by parents and students for gloomily musing on death, marijuana use, and that we are all going to die   (slog.thestranger.com) divider line 29
    More: Strange, David Guterson, Chilean Cedar  
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2130 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 16 Jun 2013 at 5:28 PM (43 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-16 05:41:22 PM
Didn't recognize the author's name so I had to google him.

Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense (1992)

With that title on his resume he seems an odd choice for a commencement speaker.
 
2013-06-16 05:42:28 PM
I for one would like to read a transcript of the speech before I pass judgement. A little perspective can be an effective tool for kids at that age but let's not get carried away.
 
2013-06-16 05:45:28 PM
Subby, you said death twice

/well, almost
 
2013-06-16 05:51:07 PM
It's a good thing to be reminded that one day you will die at that age, because it helps motivate you to not waste those years of your life when just about anything is possible.
 
2013-06-16 05:52:24 PM
David Guterson writes well. Inviting him then heckling him is a dick move.
 
2013-06-16 06:17:47 PM
so it should have been more 'wear sunscreen' and able to set it to a catchy beat?
 
2013-06-16 06:49:43 PM
Disabusing naive snowflakes of their rosy expectations about life?

................................


www.iruntheinternet.com
 
2013-06-16 06:50:27 PM
This is not entertaining
 
2013-06-16 07:07:50 PM
Oh, for Christ's sake!  It's a high school graduation.  Let them have their afternoon.  Real life's gonna come crashing down on their naughty bits soon enough.
 
2013-06-16 07:16:11 PM
 
2013-06-16 07:16:17 PM
Meh, tis high school graduation. Few if any of those graduating will have the maturity and frame of reference needed to understand complex themes on the realities of living. Pepper in a little character, lay a hard truth, but otherwise this will not be life altering. Still, shame on the parents for heckling someone invited to come speak. Take issue with whoever invited him, but let him get through the material without interruption and avoid drawing additional attention, and the speech will be done faster and fewer will remember.
 
2013-06-16 07:49:09 PM
3.bp.blogspot.com
"Then you have seen the movie. "
 
2013-06-16 09:51:22 PM

underwhere: I for one would like to read a transcript of the speech before I pass judgement. A little perspective can be an effective tool for kids at that age but let's not get carried away.


Knock yourself out.
 
2013-06-16 10:00:20 PM
life is shiat and then you die is a message wasted on 18 year olds. wait until they are on the downhill side of 25. By then life has kicked them in the teeth a few times and they will understand the message a little better. When I turned 25 I would have appreciated someone telling me not to waste time on all the stupid shiat and learn to be in the moment. It took another 10 years and a messy divorce to pound that message in.
 
2013-06-16 10:20:32 PM
The problem with the kids of today is they HAVEN'T been kicked in the teeth enough at 18.

Well, the popular ones haven't. They've been too busy doing the kicking.
 
2013-06-16 10:38:37 PM
Buzzkill would not be my first choice for a Graduation speech theme...
 
2013-06-16 11:09:26 PM

macadamnut: underwhere: I for one would like to read a transcript of the speech before I pass judgement. A little perspective can be an effective tool for kids at that age but let's not get carried away.

Knock yourself out.


Thanks for the link.

That was actually a pretty good graduation speech if you ask me. Sure it starts off with the gloom and doom but it ends on a high note. The idiots that were booing him should've just shut up and let him finish.
 
2013-06-16 11:48:33 PM

underwhere: That was actually a pretty good graduation speech if you ask me. Sure it starts off with the gloom and doom but it ends on a high note. The idiots that were booing him should've just shut up and let him finish.


Pretty much this.  I skimmed through it and it seemed that while he went a little off at some points (do you really need to refer to marijuana when a) it can be several drugs and b) it forks from the point he's trying to make), it's a fairly good speech.  However, he probably should have stuck it to a college speech instead of some shiatty high schoolers and their idiot parents.
 
2013-06-17 12:10:49 AM
Well, it's not like he's a local author who inspired well-off kids from the domain of Bill Gates & The President's mom to speed head on into their school's brick walls...
http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20076854,00.html
 
2013-06-17 01:08:27 AM

macadamnut: underwhere: I for one would like to read a transcript of the speech before I pass judgement. A little perspective can be an effective tool for kids at that age but let's not get carried away.

Knock yourself out.


*click*

I mentioned earlier that young people sometimes deal with this problem by having as much fun as they can now while telling themselves that distressing existential dilemmas can come later. I want to warn you that this is a recipe for disaster.

Damn, who invited Buzz Killington to do the commencement speech?

That might have worked at a college, maybe but for a 15 minute HS commencement speech it sucked balls.

Still bad form to boo, just saying.
 
2013-06-17 02:42:30 AM
Seems like he knew it may not be the most appropriate HS commencement speech, given his semi-disclaimer at the beginning.  That said, I liked it.  I doubt I would have really gotten much from it at 18, but it's hard to say.

Either way though, any parents booing should just kill themselves.  How farking useless of a person do you have to be to boo something like that?  Any of the students booing, at least they might grow out of their douchebaggery, but the parents are lost causes.
 
2013-06-17 02:52:13 AM
I was actually there. A friend of mine (yes, several years younger) was in the graduating class so I went.

I thought the speech was pretty farking terrible. The content of it wasn't even that bad, and there were some thought provoking themes in it no question. But the speech itself didn't flow very well and didn't seem totally cohesive. There were parts of it that I thought were really intelligent and was good for the kids to hear, there were other parts that I felt were self-indulgent pseudo-intellectualism on Guterson's part. (Pretty obvious to me at the end he was using it to push a very Buddhist message. I don't have anything against that really, it was just really clear.)

I think the biggest issue is that the speech was in dire need of an editor. Reading the transcript does not do it full justice, because Guterson rambled on for 25 farking minutes, and he missed loads of good opportunities to stop. There's not a snowballs chance in hell any of the high school kids were listening after 10 minutes. I normally pay attention to this kind of stuff, but I pulled out my phone and starting messing around. (Yes, I am fully aware of the irony.) Guterson was rambling on for too long, and I think that made people angrier than anything.

That said, fark the parents who heckled the guy. Shameful behavior. Props to a large portion of the student body who actually turned around and (very) loudly shushed the people who were booing. That's unacceptable.
 
2013-06-17 06:46:37 AM
guterson, promoting yellow fever everywhere.
 
2013-06-17 07:17:26 AM
The people who f*cked up, and the people who owe an apology, are the parents who acted like children and wanted their students coddled like babies.

I doubt the parents  invited him.  If he's bad enough to get parents to boo him and try to shorten the speech on what is usually a happy day, he deserves to know.
 
2013-06-17 08:14:10 AM

underwhere: macadamnut: underwhere: I for one would like to read a transcript of the speech before I pass judgement. A little perspective can be an effective tool for kids at that age but let's not get carried away.

Knock yourself out.

Thanks for the link.

That was actually a pretty good graduation speech if you ask me. Sure it starts off with the gloom and doom but it ends on a high note. The idiots that were booing him should've just shut up and let him finish.


It was more than 140 characters.
 
2013-06-17 10:48:00 AM
HS graduation is a time for empty bullshiat. No one wants or cares about your 'deep thoughts'. They wanted a well written guy to make the same generic empty candy you get at every graduation. Rambling on about deep stuff is the height of gratuitous self flagellation and ego.

You don't go to a donut shop for a salad. You don't go to HS graduation for 'deep'.

Things can be well written etc., without having to be faux philosophical windmill jousting.
 
2013-06-17 10:50:25 AM
Our HS graduation speaker was our principal.  Our class song was Revolution by the Beatles (in 1988 for some unknown reason).  Our principal said, "The class song this group chose was Revolution, but if you're looking for a group of people likely to change the world, this isn't them."
 
2013-06-17 12:30:37 PM
The Muthaship:
Our HS graduation speaker was our principal.  Our class song was Revolution by the Beatles (in 1988 for some unknown reason).  Our principal said, "The class song this group chose was Revolution, but if you're looking for a group of people likely to change the world, this isn't them." "The kids chose something called 'Push it" by Salt-n-Pepa, but you know, good pop music died with the Beatles, so I decided to over-rule them".
 
2013-06-17 02:56:48 PM
Imagine if they had a real-life version of Nathan Explosion doing the speech. THEN they might have something to complain about, lol!
 
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