Sunday, August 08, 2010

Interesting Speech

(Note: the following is non-Cleveland sports related. Stuff other than sports catches my interest from time to time and I enjoy writing about it. And with the Cavs stuck in the offseason (really, we're discussing assistant GMs?), the Tribe being depressing as usual (another deadline of salary dumps, Hafner's shoulder has him on the DL and Carlos Santana showed us his Ray Fosse impression) and my mistrust of the Browns, I've decided to post my thoughts on these other subjects here. Heh. So basically, rather than annoy my friends and family with links on Facebook, I'll annoy you, my readers (on, a blog I did name, um, Random Thoughts). They could be about politics or libraries or music or disc golf or books or... you get the idea. If you don't like 'em or think I'm a major dork (you have no idea how excited I am for the next Wheel of Time book) or a communist, neat. Feel free to call me an idiot in the comments or, I dunno, just skip the post. It's cool. No worries).

This part of valedictorian Erica Goldson's graduation speech (via Fark.com) echoed a thought I had few days ago:
I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system.
The other day I was musing (with pride!) about my guessing strategy on multiple choice tests, for when I stumped by a question (how to eliminate answers, avoid runs in one letter, etc, nothing elaborate). And I thought to myself, "Wow, that's sure a useful life skill. Knowing how to game a multiple choice test".

On a similar note, I had a teacher in grad school that used to complain about students coming up to her and saying "Just tell me what I have to do to get an 'A'." I definitely felt that way sometimes. Just tell me the stuff I have to learn and I'll go about doing it.

Anyways, nice speech. I don't agree with all of it or some of the language (indoctrinate is a bit harsh) but it definitely made me think.

2 comments:

ClevelandPoet said...

sometimes these days being good at "working the system" seems to be the best way to go about things.

and then as a poet that cynicism bothers me.

Mostly because in the creative sense I can't say to a magazine "just tell me what I have to do to get in there" because it becomes subjective at one point.

Interesting speech--agree a bit harsh--but it makes you think and that is a true test of worth right there.

Ben said...

As far as working the system...

There is a certain realism vs idealism to this whole idea.

Politically, I have a hard time with people who argue for radical changes (that I could very well agree with) to the structure of government (abolishing the IRS or changing our monetary system or something). There's something to be said about making your way within the confines of the system (be it school, work, etc).

And ya, her speech made me think, which is more than I can say about most graduation speeches I've sat through.