Mighty Red Pen

May 24, 2008

Happy, like, graduation, you know

Filed under: Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 1:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

Commencement speeches — MRP could take them or leave them. But occasionally one drops a pearl of wisdom, for example, David McCullough’s speech at the recent Boston College commencement:

And please, please, do what you can to cure the verbal virus that seems increasingly rampant among your generation. I’m talking about the relentless, wearisome use of the words, “like,” and “you know,” and “awesome,” and “actually.” Listen to yourselves as you speak.

Just imagine if in his inaugural address John F. Kennedy had said, “Ask not what your country can, you know, do for you, but what you can, like, do for your country actually.”

Read McCullough’s entire speech. It’s a little fusty in parts (and I could take or leave his advice about not using the word awesome), but he does have some interesting things to say about the importance of reading great books.

In the meantime, memo to the Obama campaign: To reach the young people, recommend changing tagline to “Change you can, like, believe in, actually, you know.”

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