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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, June 25, 2012

Graduation Speech: You Are Not Special

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@6:35 -- "You see, if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless. ...We have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement. We have come to see them as the point. And, we're happy to compromise standards or ignore reality if we suspect that's the quickest way or only way to have something to put on the mantlepiece...."

@12:09 -- "And, then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you're not special, because everyone is."

Well, am I special or not? What am I missing?

The best advice to give graduates isn't a pat on the back to go forward with a mission to do good, but to watch out for the other guy who will screw you over if given half a chance. Those are the people who get a trophy for the mantlepiece by compromising standards. And, oh yeah, and "No good deed goes unpunished."

(It was a pleasant and well-meant message. Forgive my cynicism.)

Posted by: Woody | Jun 25, 2012 1:56:42 PM

I just discovered that this speech has stirred reactions around the nation. The speaker had to defend it on "CBS This Morning," but Rush Limbaugh loves the speech.

Posted by: Woody | Jun 25, 2012 2:56:38 PM