Saturday, September 29, 2007

Burma and The Darjeeling Limited

The situation in Burma is pretty terrible right now. More accurately, the situation has been terrible in Burma, but perhaps it has reached its tipping point. The last major protest they had in 1988 resulted in the killing of 3,000 protesters. The government has already reacted violently, throwing citizens in jail (including monks) and shooting a Japanese photographer for the world to see. Yesterday, I went to a presentation on the situation in Burma. Scott Carrier, a freelance journalists who has appeared on This American Life and NPR numerous times, was the presenter. He played YouTube clips for us, and discussed how YouTube has acted as a catalyst to broadcast the atrocities of a country that does not give out journalist visas. I'm sure the government will discover a way to suppress these postings, but hopefully this "glimpse" will spark some kind of reaction from the international community. Of course, Rwanda was broadcast over network television and motivated little assistance. Yesterday, as I was reading The New York Times, my attention was split between the front page article about Burma and the A.O. Scott review of The Darjeeling Limited. That feels so wrong.

Sometimes I believe this. Sometimes I couldn't believe it less.

Those Who Have Taken Authority As The Truth

I stumbled across this quote today. Word.

click to enlarge

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jon Stewart's ('84) Commencement Address

Thank you Mr. President, I had forgotten how crushingly dull these ceremonies are. Thank you.

My best to the choir. I have to say, that song never grows old for me. Whenever I hear that song, it reminds me of nothing.

I am honored to be here, I do have a confession to make before we get going that I should explain very quickly. When I am not on television, this is actually how I dress. I apologize, but there’s something very freeing about it. I congratulate the students for being able to walk even a half a mile in this non-breathable fabric in the Williamsburg heat. I am sure the environment that now exists under your robes, are the same conditions that primordial life began on this earth.

I know there were some parents that were concerned about my speech here tonight, and I want to assure you that you will not hear any language that is not common at, say, a dock workers union meeting, or Tourrett’s convention, or profanity seminar. Rest assured.

I am honored to be here and to receive this honorary doctorate. When I think back to the people that have been in this position before me from Benjamin Franklin to Queen Noor of Jordan, I can’t help but wonder what has happened to this place. Seriously, it saddens me. As a person, I am honored to get it; as an alumnus, I have to say I believe we can do better. And I believe we should. But it has always been a dream of mine to receive a doctorate and to know that today, without putting in any effort, I will. It’s incredibly gratifying. Thank you. That’s very nice of you, I appreciate it.

I’m sure my fellow doctoral graduates—who have spent so long toiling in academia, sinking into debt, sacrificing God knows how many years of what, in truth, is a piece of parchment that in truth has been so devalued by our instant gratification culture as to have been rendered meaningless—will join in congratulating me. Thank you.