Saturday, June 09, 2012

English teacher in MA tells commencement students, "You are not special". Neither is Clark Kent


An English teacher , David McCullough, told a graduating high school class at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts, “You are not special”.


He gave mathematical analysis to show just how many people one competes with for fame and attention.  The desire in the current generations for “fame”, enabled by the methodology of and legal protections for user-generated content on the Internet, has indeed generated some moral criticism, in the “amateurism” debate. “Everyone is just a different version of you.”

He said something like, if you think you are special, then everyone is special.   He made a metaphor of the “level playing field” on which they had their commencement.  (Major league baseball deliberately avoids a level playing field!)

On the CWTV series “Smallville”, Clark Kent (Tom Welling) used to say, “I’m different. But I’m not special.”  Remember, Clark becomes a journalist.  He has to remain objective and report the truth. 

The link for the MSNBC story, by Sevil Omer, is here.   And, by the way, I think Anderson Cooper paid his dues when he was younger.  So did Sebastian Junger.

There was a story Saturday on CNN about a teenage boy (13) whose father implored him to run through flames to warn neighbors about a wildfire in a western state.  He sustained serious, possibly disfiguring burns.  I was never willing to deal with that.  I always felt, if something happens, I'm gone.  Sacrifice and heroism couldn't prevent shame.  Somehow, that ties to the speech. 

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