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day permlink Friday, 27 June 2003

permlink Assorted stuff

Assorted stuff:
  • The results of the poll are fascinating; particularly the percentages in the second question they asked ("enthusiastic support"). Howard Dean won both categories by significant margins, though he didn't get the 50% necessary to earn the organization's endorsement.

  • Slate's Breakfast Table discussion this week digs into the Supreme Court decisions with Walter Dellinger and Dahlia Lithwick. Lots of interesting observations.

  • Doctor Fun: "If we held free elections they'd just elect a cat."

  • This is excellent: Conan O'Brien's Commencement Speech to Harvard's Class of 2000 []
    When I was here, they sold diapers at the Coop that said "Harvard Class of 2000." At the time, it was kind of a joke, but now I realize you wore those diapers. How embarrassing for you. A lot has happened in fifteen years. When you think about it, we come from completely different worlds. When I graduated, we watched movies starring Tom Cruise and listened to music by Madonna... In 1985 we drove cars with driver's side airbags, but if you told us that one day there'd be passenger side airbags, we'd have burned you for witchcraft.

    ...let me assure you that you never really leave Harvard. The Harvard Fundraising Committee will be on your ass until the day you die. ... Here's how it works. Your phone rings, usually after a big meal when you're tired and most vulnerable. A voice asks you for money. Knowing they just raised 2.5 billion dollars you ask, "What do you need it for?" Then there's a long pause and the voice on the other end of the line says, "We don't need it, we just want it." It's chilling.

    ...I've dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve. Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you're desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way.

    I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous. And yet, every failure was freeing, and today I'm as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good.

    So, that's what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good.

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