Each year around this time, universities across the country announce their commencement speakers. I have mixed feelings about commencement speakers. Some can be hilarious and poignant (see Conan O’Brien’s 2011 Dartmouth Address). Others can crash and burn in hilarious fashion. When researching bad commencement speakers, I came across The Today Show anchor Ann Curry’s 2010 Address to Wheaton College. First, I had to look up where Wheaton College was (answer: Norton, Massachusetts). But what made Curry’s speech to go up in flames? She started off innocently enough: naming famous Wheaton College alumni. But instead of naming famous alumni from Wheaton College of Norton, Mass., Curry named famous alumni of Wheaton College of Wheaton, Ill. It was a mistake that thorough research on Wikipedia could correct, and whichever intern gave Curry that information has been branded “Permanent Coffee Bitch.”
That got me thinking, if I could decide the 2012 GW Commencement Speaker, who would it be? I don’t want this to be an article promoting Charlie Sheen for commencement speaker because odds are he will be dead by May 2012. That’s not me being cynical; that’s reality. At the same time, I couldn’t pick just one, so I compiled a short list of notable people who, I think, could share words of wisdom to our graduating seniors.
1. Mike Tyson
I feel like defending this selection would be fruitless. You love him, or you adore him; there is no in-between.
2. Jimmy McMillan
McMillan aka “The-Rent-is-Too-Damn-High” guy has relevance to GW. I’m surprised we haven’t had a student group complaining about the high cost of living in dorms. McMillan is a defender of lower living costs, a theme we can all relate to. Consider this: if we paid what McMillan proposed we ought to be paying for living on campus, we’d only be able to afford storage closets in Mitchell. This would cause celebration from those who were lucky enough to get an actual room in Mitchell, rather than the storage closets everyone else would live in. And just like that, Jimmy McMillan made Mitchell relevant. Anyone else who can do that should receive a Nobel Prize. McMillan would settle for a 90-second commencement speech.
3. The 1%
Look, they’ve been vilified for weeks now. Give them a chance to respond. Do you know how hard it is to trade things that don’t physically exist when you have protesters outside your corner office? I’m not defending either side in the Occupy Wall Street protests. I’m still waiting for the protesters to break into the Wall Street firms and look for actual money. That being said, the 1% could use some good press, and an inspirational speech to graduates on why being rich is awesome and how to get favorable tax cuts would do just that.
4. Herman Cain
Before you post a long rant about why Herman Cain would ruin our country if he were president, let me say that I put Cain on the list for reasons other than his policies. I’m not putting him on the Wish List because he’s running for president. When Herman Cain speaks, regardless of the topic, I see a potential comedian. Just the way he talks makes you think he once did stand-up. Prediction: Herman Cain and Bill Cosby will get a sitcom on NBC in 2013 as two mismatched roommates living in New York City. Jimmy McMillan would play their no-nonsense, sassy landlord who is always asking about the rent. That’s comedy gold!!
Yeah, Cain could talk about hard work and dedication, but he could also talk about anything else and still be funny. Bear this in mind: Herman Cain turned around Godfather’s Pizza. If the image of a successful Godfather’s Pizza isn’t inspiring enough for you, I don’t know what is. At least he won’t use up our time naming famous alumni of the similarly-sounding Washington College of Chestertown, Maryland. If Ann Curry confused two identical colleges, it’s only inevitable that Herman Cain does the same.
Honorable Mentions: The Winklevoss Twins on how they’ve managed to stay semi-relevant, the sick pervert who came up with the idea for The Human Centipede, and Kiefer Sutherland on why we should watch him in anything that doesn’t involve him interrogating terrorists or asking people where the bomb is.