^Speech done by David McCullough Jr. telling high school graduates from Wellesley High School that they are not special. What do you think about his views and overall take on life? Do you think this is cruel or offensive? Here’s my critique:
This is exactly what every graduating high school student needs to hear. The people from Wellesley were truly lucky to hear this at their graduation ceremony because no one else would have been able to express the truth so eloquently yet so bluntly, which was very well constructed on McCullough’s part because the truths expressed, in and of themselves, are blunt and unpadded, as is life and the outside world. I personally found the speech inspiring because not only was he “tearing down” any feelings of individuality created as a product of a preservative innocence and coddling left over from childhood, but he instructed them on how to rebuild that sense of individualism through a life lived selflessly and freely both for the world and for themselves in a manner that could only build a strong, genuinely worldly personality.
If anyone was offended by this speech that day they were not listening. Every point McCullough made was, although rather cynically, expressed to enlighten the graduates with raw knowledge of life, the world and what they were and should undoubtably leave behind with the shells of their high school careers: childhood, adolescence, and every misconception, romantic standpoint, and padded prediction of the true nature of life. Nothing comes easy, nothing is free and no one is special. In fact, the very word has lost all meaning with the lavish dispensing of that specific adjective. And the sad thing is, this generation was raised to believe that we were special simply because we existed. Granted, the birth of a human being is a beautiful phenomenon when one considers the process of evolution from a single-celled organism to a receptive, multi-cellular being capable of conscious thought and ideas. However, due to the fact that there are 6.8 billion of these occurrences it is not too hard to understand the idea that it is impossible to truly be unique. It is, however, more difficult to become conscious of the idea than to understand it because one would have to think outside of a falsity they were always told and believed. McCullough did the job for them. No one is unique, and that is the blunt and unbridled truth that none of those graduates would have even conceived of until the day they discovered it through experience— that they were never the center of the world like they subconsciously thought they were; that they were never truly special. And that in itself is a gift exceedingly greater than any other material object those graduates received that day for each earning their own pieces of paper with their names printed on it in ink. McCullough’s speech was effective only to those who listened. And unfortunately I didn’t see more than two faces behind him that gave a damn about the lies they were fed since they first saw the light of day. Everyone just wanted to get out of the sun and slip back into the very spotlight they would waste their lives searching for in vain when all they had to do was step outside and see the world anew as equal components; as something not special but entirely capable of being important without the unnecessary glorification that we have all tasted and craved since childhood. We are not special.