Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Graduation Speaker

I know this is old news, but enrolling in classes today made me think again about my impending graduation. Why is James Franco the commencement speaker?

I'm not really a fan of graduation ceremonies. They just don't do much for me. One of the only reasons I'm not greatly opposed to graduations is that sometimes there is a cool speaker. For example, last year Bill Clinton was supposed to speak. If it was my own ceremony, I would have looked forward to it (and since I went last year anyways, I was in fact looking forward to it). 
Of course, the unions destroyed graduation for everyone last year and Clinton (along with many other departmental commencement speakers) refused to cross the picket lines. Luckily I've heard Bill Clinton speak on campus before and I met Hillary Clinton when she was getting the
 Mayor's endorsement, but I still won't forgive the unions for what they did to my friends' graduation ceremony.

Getting back on track: This year I was excited to see who the commencement speaker would be. If last year they were ambitious enough to get a former President, I hoped they would be equally ambitious this year. Someone inspiring, accomplished, brilliant, and with lots of experience and insight to impart to us. When someone mentioned awhile back that James Franco was going to be our speaker, I thought it was a joke. After a little investigation, I found out that it was true.

Now, I am a fan of James Franco's work. From Freaks and Geeks to Milk, he's done some fine acting. It was cool that he returned to UCLA and that he graduated last year. But I'm still a little disappointed that the school didn't aim a little higher when it came to finding a commencement speaker. One less reason to look forward to graduation I guess. 

2 comments:

Leanne said...

He does have one thing going for him: he will definitally be better than Gabe Rose.

Andrey said...

lol to the previous comment. I expect Franco to be high for the commencement speech... so you should have some laughs if you go. But you're right; a good commencement speaker puts youth into perspective by pointing to their experience. Alison's commencement speaker at Chapman was Judea Pearl (Daniel Pearl's father, UCLA professor, and now a human rights activist who works to bring Palestinians and Israelis together). I'm surprised UCLA hasn't asked him to speak... It would be nice to have someone say "I was you not too long ago, and these were the values I held onto and the lessons I learned that helped me get to where I am now." Franco can't deliver that.