It has, with great fanfare, been announced: yes, that’s correct, the 2010 Emerson College Undergraduate Commencement Speaker is…
NOT Blair Underwood
NOT Martin Scorsese
NOT even “The Fonz” (Emerson alum and inventor of the thumbs-up)
BUT Bernard Cornwell.
Yes, I said Bernard Cornwell.
At this point, you may be thinking, “Who is Bernard Cornwell?”
SO AM I.
Because, as far as I’m concerned, nobody has ever heard of this prestigious gentleman.
According to the extensive biography provided on the Emerson website, Mr. Cornwell is a seasoned author of historical novels and former employee of the BBC. He was born in 1944 and has had numerous works of his adapted to the prominent Masterpiece Theatre. Kudos, Mr. Cornwell.
But he was born in 1944. Do you know how old that is? Neither do I. But according to my calculator, 66. If you round up, that’s 70, a.k.a. three times as old as me and then some. That means that “in his day,” I was not alive. Nor were my parents; at least for the first decade of his life.
A point: When a speaker requires extensive biographical information as introduction, he is not as big as you say he is.
Another point: Guess who is speaking at NYU’s Undergraduate Commencement this year?
Insert necessary biographical information here:
Knowing that my New York friends will be listening to Jack Donaghey explain the finer points of synergy only makes me wish for a world in which Masterpiece Theatre and historical novels didn’t exist. Or at least one where they didn’t carry so much street cred.
I suppose the grass is always greener on the other side of the college, but really, with all the thousands of tuition dollars Emerson has sucked up from bank accounts across the world, you would think they might be able to find someone remotely notable to welcome us into the post-graduate world. We even have a number of high-profile alums they could have guilted into giving back: Denis Leary, Henry Winkler, Big Chin Leno, the inventor of the Furby, Bobbi Brown (the white, female one), even Stifler’s Mom. But no; we get the guy who writes book series for Napoleonic War enthusiasts.
And if I weren’t already lamenting this fact, I recently discovered who this year’s commencement speaker was at the University of Michigan, where a number of my former high school classmates attend:
I feel slightly cheated.
New Year’s Resolution #12: Be happy with what you have, even if it is a sexagenarian medieval times author with a book series entitled The Starbuck Chronicles (NOT about coffee).
(P.S. Check Mr. Obama’s pose in that photo: that’s the stance of a man who means BUSINESS.)