Sunday, July 05, 2009

Instead, We Watch Television

'Ralph Waldo Emerson once asked what we would do if the stars only came out once every thousand years. No one would sleep that night, of course. The world would become religious overnight. We would be ecstatic, delirious, made rapturous by the glory of God. Instead the stars come out every night, and we watch television.'
--from a recent commencement address by entrepreneur, author and environmental activist Paul Hawken, at the University of Portland. You can read the entire address here. Thanks to our new acquaintance, Executive Happiness Coach Jim Smith, for pointing us to it. This gets our nod as the best commencement address of the '09 season. In 2005, the nod went to author David Foster Wallace, and in 2004 it was comedian Jon Stewart. We've also pointed in the past to an extraordinary commencement address William Zinsser gave at Wesleyan University in 1988. But enough about us. Does anyone have any favorite commencement addresses they'd like to point out? Or perhaps memories of their own graduation speaker? We'd love to hear about it.


At 6:28 PM, Blogger Full Soul Ahead! said...

Beautiful quote. I've been on a campaign to get rid of our TV but a certain sports addict in the house won't allow it.

At 8:03 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

This noble sentiment notwithstanding, I'm afraid I vote with Todd on that. But not so much for sports (this is by far the most boring part of the sports viewing season to me) as for old movies. I could give up everything but TCM and AMC.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I got a few questions about my shorthand. AMC is American Movie Classics, an all-movie channel (though with commercials). TCM is Turner Classic Movies, which just may be Ted Turner's most lasting legacy (it just turned 15 years old) now that his beloved CNN has mostly been ruined by Time Warner. It runs great classic movies in endless loops from the Warner Brothers endless vault, without any commercials. In short, a miraculous invention, and a great antidote to the yawning mediocrity and lack of ambition of most contemporary films.


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