Sunday, June 14, 2009

Commencement Rehash

Back from the college commencement. Grounds for a successful and richly deserved celebration for the grad his family, and we feel privileged to have shared in the occasion. The ceremony itself was good-natured fun, although I must say it was about the worst commencement speech I've ever heard in long career of commencement-going. Or, not a speech--the putative speaker apparently emptied his chapbook of quotations into a hat and then read out a dozen so in random order with all their gaps and inconsistencies in place. Then again, I suppose any speech that begins with a quote from Gary Snyder is bound to disappoint. Student speaker turned in a creditable performance--remarkably so, considering he majored in "legal studies."

Which prompts a more general thought. Remember how Calvin Trillin used to say that you eat Italian in the U.S. only in a city that had major league baseball before expansion--where the waiters are named "Sal" and "Vinney" (if the waiter is named "Darrell," you know you are in trouble).

I wonder if the same ought to apply to college majors: nobody should be permitted to graduate in any major that was not recognized before Dwight D. Eisenhower left the White House. Might be a good marketing ploy for the back-to-basics niche.

1 comment:

ivan said...

in sept 52 a couple of days after we got married in iuka, mississippi,a day before i reported for duty as a brand new infantry second lt at fort jackson, we arrived in columbia, sc, rented a furnidhed garage apartment, and went out looking for a place to eat. we saw a sign for an italian restaurant, went in, there was an old italian woman by the cah register and an old italian man walking around the tables. (maybe they werent that old -- we were in our twenties. great, i said, real italians so the food has to be real italian. we sat down, ordered. got a beer (pabst) and i went to the men's room. you had to go through the kitchen. in it was a huge woman, african american, standing at a stove with a big pot of boiling water on it. she had a handful of spaghetti and she slowly broke it into small chunks and dropped the chunks in the water. spagheyyi, columbia SC style.