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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jerry Springer's Commencement Address at Northwestern

Springer_2The Chicago Tribune reprints the text of Jerry Springer's commencement address at Northwestern Law School.  Here is my favorite passage:

It is perhaps inevitable that we are inclined to always be judging others. But let me share this observation. I am not superior to the people on my show -- and you are not superior to the people you will represent. That is not an insult. It is merely an understanding derived from a life spent on the front lines of human interaction. We are all alike. Some of us just dress better -- or have more money -- or perhaps we were born into better circumstances of parental upbringing, health, brains and luck.

On this great day, when we honor your achievement, we might also say thank you to God in full recognition that whatever we achieve in life is 99 percent a gift -- as is living in America. And I know that from personal experience. You see, I am not the first lawyer in my family. My dad's brother was. His practice was cut short, as was his life -- in Auschwitz. My grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins -- they met their end as well -- camp after camp -- Hitler turning my family tree into a single vine -- Mom and Dad, by the grace of God, surviving -- enabling them to bring my sister and me to America. ...

In one generation here in America -- my family went from near total annihilation to this ridiculously privileged life I live today because of my silly show.

(Hat Tip:  Pete Wentz.)

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Comments

NPR, in features about Jerry Springer, aired a number of his speeches from his short-lived campaign to run for public office in 2004(?). In one speech, he also tells the story of when he comes to America on the Queen Mary. I found a great deal to respect for him listening to that NPR feature.

Posted by: leongcpa | May 21, 2008 10:18:34 PM

I am a member of Northwestern Law's 2008 class and while I was one of those that signed the petition protesting his selection as commencement speaker, I found his speech to be excellent. Much of the outrage over his selection, wasn't so much directed at him, but at the graduation committee that made a selfish unilateral choice that they they knew would displease many of their colleagues. It's hard to be offended by Springer when we chose to attend a school with Bernadine Dohrn on the faculty. Ahh, only one week has passed and I already miss the robust intellectual environment of those ivory towers.

Posted by: Wigmore | May 22, 2008 10:08:19 PM

Iwas intoxicated by the warmth and sincerity of hearing Springer give a talk before a schhol audience in Arkansaw. I hope he has a recoring of the talk which I'd very much appreciate his sending it to me. Thank you

Posted by: jules borenstein, M.D. | Nov 2, 2008 8:29:53 PM