April 14, 2011

Cracked-Out Convocation

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In Tuesday’s editorial, we told you how bored we were with convocation speakers. Every year, the Cornell Convocation Committee tries to bring the most “recognizable” name to campus that it can find (a politician, far more often than not), without much consideration for what the speaker will actually say, leaving thousands of soon-to-be graduates and their family members and friends playing Angry Birds on their Smartphones until it ends.

Well, today, we’re looking a year ahead and telling Cornell’s 2012 Convocation Committee to grow some balls. You don’t need to select the speaker who most people have heard of, but select the speaker who will blow people’s minds –– the one who has the most interesting stories to tell, the most important message to bring, the most unique view of the world. That is what will keep people talking about graduation for years to come. Well, we know that the members of the Convocation Committee, unadventurous souls that they are, will invariably take the safe route and fall back on another well-known politician to speak at graduation. All we ask is that they at least make him entertaining. To give the 2012 Convocation Committee a push in the right direction, we sent a crack team of Berry Patch reporters to scout out the early political crowd favorites.

The Front-Runner: Muammar al-Gadaffi

Muammar al-Gadaffi’s oppressive political policies are well known, but what Gadaffi could really bring to a convocation speech are his outrageous antics. Gadaffi has been known to travel to important state functions with dozens of highly trained and beautiful female bodyguards. The Libyan dictator handpicks each one and sends them to a special facility to be schooled in martial arts and shooting accuracy. It is said that Gadaffi exclusively selects virgins and then forces them to give him sexual favors. (Now imagine all of them accompanying him on stage as he delivers his speech.) Another Gadaffi oddity has been his insistence on sleeping in Bedouin tents on many official state visits rather than staying at diplomatic hotels. This self-proclaimed “king of kings of Africa” could give Thursday night’s Cover Africa sleep-out on the Arts Quad a run for its money.

The Back-Up: Dick Cheney

Cheney, the puppet master behind George W. Bush’s presidency, is clearly one of the greatest and most notorious political masterminds ever to hold U.S. office. He’s already shot a guy, convinced Congress to invade a country that did not attack us in search of “weapons of mass destruction” that did not exist, and successfully perpetuated extensive military action in a “War on Terror” against the “Axis of Evil.” What does he have to say to graduating seniors? If you don’t agree with what someone says, you can always resort to the tried-and-true rebuttal: “Go fuck yourself,” complete with hand gestures.

The Honorable Mention: Osama bin Laden

Osama will instantly surpass Dick Cheney and Muammar al-Gaddafi … if the U.S. military can track him down somewhere in the hills of Pakistan. Until then, he will need to remain our honorable mention. His knowledge of how to move from cave to cave will certainly be an asset to graduating seniors, as they hop around from couch to couch during their first few years of unemployment.