Whackity schmackity doo, kids!
July 10, 2008 4:44 AM   Subscribe

All of you have been given a harsh gift. It’s the same gift the graduating class of 1917, and 1938, and 1968 and now you guys got – the chance to enter adulthood when the world teeters on the rim of the sphincter of oblivion. You’re jumping into the deep end. You have no choice but to be exceptional. Patton Oswalt addresses the class of 2008 at his old high school.

A few of the many high points from Patton's highly literate and pointed career: KFC famous bowls, "clean filth","Physics for Poets" (part 1, part 2) (language likely NSFW). He was also great as this little guy (and here's a characteristically R-rated interview with him about the experience of voicing a G-rated movie). Previously
posted by jbickers (104 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oswald did the address at a high school. That should tell you something about the level of discourse.

Conan O'Brien did the address at his old alma mater too, except his was at Harvard.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:00 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did you actually read Oswalt's address, Pollomacho? I'd really like to know.
posted by Optamystic at 5:11 AM on July 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


When did the trend (if there is one) of having celebrity speakers at high school graduations, even if he was an alum?

Although I graduated high school in 1971, I would have loved Oswalt's comments, though his mic would've been slammed shut within nanoseconds as soon as he said "marijuana."

Not sure I understand the comparison to Conan O'Brien. Is O'Brien's track record free of juvenile humor? No, I didn't think so.
posted by beelzbubba at 5:18 AM on July 10, 2008


Not sure I understand the comparison to Conan O'Brien.

I believe they're both young whippersnappers that need to get off Pollo's lawn.
posted by jbickers at 5:21 AM on July 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


That should tell you something about the level of discourse.

Right about high school level, I'd imagine. Which seems fitting since he was addressing...high school students.
posted by elfgirl at 5:24 AM on July 10, 2008


Conan O'Brien did the address at his old alma mater too, except his was at Harvard.

I like Conan, I do, but the rhetorical question "And you went to Harvard?" fits him like a masturbating bear suit.
posted by stavrogin at 5:25 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Harvard College? Oh, those little creeps are sooo much more wordly and mature than...eh, they probably are.
posted by jsavimbi at 5:27 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I, for one, think Conan would look much more dignified in a masturbating bear suit.
posted by TrinaSelwyn at 5:28 AM on July 10, 2008


Oswald did the address at a high school. That should tell you something about the level of discourse.

And do you know where all their teachers work? At a high school. That should tell you something about the level of education this poor kids receive.
posted by DU at 5:29 AM on July 10, 2008


I was hooked as he probably made the entire administration feel uncomfortable as soon as possible.
posted by danep at 5:30 AM on July 10, 2008


This was awesome. Patton Oswalt never ceases to exceed my expectations.
posted by ColdChef at 5:35 AM on July 10, 2008


Meh. I can't remember a word of my high school graduation, to be honest. I'm not sure having a comedian would have helped.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:36 AM on July 10, 2008


That was an excellent, clever, insightful speech. I wish someone had said that to me when I was 18. Thank for this.
posted by farishta at 5:37 AM on July 10, 2008


Also...he's eaten an ortolan? Dude....

For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds—captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac—were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God.
posted by ColdChef at 5:39 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't remember any words from my high school graduation either, but that is because they got a state senator to speak. This is not exciting to most 18 year olds. Now, if they had gotten a comedian who had graduated from my HS to speak, I might have cared more.
posted by josher71 at 5:46 AM on July 10, 2008


josher71, I was referring to the fact that I was as stoned as a monkey at the time.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:48 AM on July 10, 2008


That was brilliant. Bit of a rough start, sure, but once he hits his stride and follows his own advice -- the whole being "open and present" thing -- it is one of the best graduation speeches I've ever read.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:51 AM on July 10, 2008


Also...he's eaten an ortolan?

The most fun thing about Patton Oswalt is that he is a connoisseur of pretty much everything in the world. I mean comic books and 30-year-old scotch and dick jokes and literature and four-star cuisine and fast food and everything. Dude really seems to live aggressively and savor everything that comes across his path. Eating l'ortolan is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for most people, so I can see the rarity of that opportunity overriding even animal rights concerns for a guy like him. Honestly, I think if he were given a chance to eat the last of a species cooked by a four-star chef, he'd have to think about it.

Also, fun speech.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:02 AM on July 10, 2008


1917..1938..1968..

I'd say 2009 is a more important arbitrary marker. Typically generations run at about 20 years and every 2 generations there is a major crisis of sort representing a shift of zeitgeist.

1989 = ? (Cold War ends)
1969 = Peace, love and rock and roll - consciousness revolution
1949 = ? (Cold War starts - USSR first a-bomb, NATO formed)
1929 = Start of great depression
1910 = "On or about December 1910 human character changed" (Virgina Woolf). End of the Victorian era and 19th century, start of Modernism and 20th century.

WWI doesn't fit very well, but then neither does WWII, Vietnam, Korea etc.. they may be more symptoms of an era than markers of change.
posted by stbalbach at 6:02 AM on July 10, 2008


Try going by 40s instead of 20s:

pre-1929 (back to 1889? I don't know): Conservative Era (robber barons)
1929: Progressive Era begins
1969: Conservative Era Begins
2009:
posted by DU at 6:08 AM on July 10, 2008


And lastly, and I guarantee this. It’s the one thing I know ‘cause I’ve experienced it:

There Is No Them.
Nice speech, even if he does handwave away the menace of the giant ants.
posted by Drastic at 6:13 AM on July 10, 2008 [13 favorites]


Terrific little speech. I'll be smiling all day.
posted by Epenthesis at 6:17 AM on July 10, 2008


1917..1938..1968..

I'd say 2009 is a more important arbitrary marker. Typically generations run at about 20 years and every 2 generations there is a major crisis of sort representing a shift of zeitgeist.


Back when the military draft existed, a major war was a scary time to graduate high school (at least for dudes). I doubt kids graduating today have the same kind of overhanging dread about the future of their generation that their counterparts during the Vietnam era did.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:21 AM on July 10, 2008


I really liked the speech, but I thin k my favorite part is actually his Bob Hope quote, which I had never heard before.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:30 AM on July 10, 2008


Harvard College? Oh, those little creeps are sooo much more wordly and mature than...eh, they probably are.

Hang around Harvard Square for a couple hours and then come back and say that with a straight face.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:33 AM on July 10, 2008


To be accurate Conan O'Brien gave a Harvard Class Day speech (very different from the Baccalaureate or the Commencement Day speeches) in 2002.

Other previous Class Day speakers have included Will Ferrell (2003), Ali G (2004) and Seth MacFarlane (2006).* Class Day is often a light-hearted and casual affair.
posted by ericb at 6:53 AM on July 10, 2008


Even "keep bleach in your trunk" is more valuable than anything I ever got. At high school or college graduation. Lucky kids.

Some places you’ll go to and you’ll feel yourself wither. Your brain will fog up, your body won’t respond to your thoughts and desires, and you’ll feel sad and angry.

That place is called Los Angeles, by the way.
posted by giraffe at 6:53 AM on July 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


I don't even like Oswalt, but that's a real nice speech. Yay for this.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:58 AM on July 10, 2008


I have no idea what this guy is like -- I'd never heard of him until just now and I've never seen anything he's been in -- but his speech was pretty good.
posted by pracowity at 7:03 AM on July 10, 2008


I particulalry like the distinction between advice and lesson. A few years back I had an interview over lunch with a CEO for a global group. We had not met before. First thing he asked me was where I would choose to live if I was given carte blanche to do so. I've thought about my answer and ultimately why I didn't follow through on it ever since. Smart man that CEO - Oswalt's banker seems to have understood that lesson as well.

Thanks jbickers. Good post.
posted by troutmask at 7:06 AM on July 10, 2008


To be honest, I really didn't follow the whole Lesson vs. Advice bit. However, I appreciated him throwing in the poo and dope jokes so that the mechanical arts kids (and I) could have some kind of takeway too.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:21 AM on July 10, 2008


I don't get the "where you choose to live" advice/lesson. Can someone explain it to me? I've always found the people I interact with on a daily basis to be a much more powerful indicator of my happiness. I've always felt that I'd rather work in a slaughterhouse with intelligent, funny people than work in some million dollar profession surrounded by ignorant fools. But then again, I don't look to CEO's and bankers for advice...
posted by any major dude at 7:22 AM on July 10, 2008


1929: Progressive Era begins
1969: Conservative Era Begins
2009:


Please be Intergalactic Space Trade Age, please, please, please
posted by poppo at 7:25 AM on July 10, 2008 [18 favorites]


ahhh forget it, I reread it and see he actually explains it. fucking multitasking...
posted by any major dude at 7:30 AM on July 10, 2008


The graduating class of 2008 enters adulthood facing the greatest global crisis since WWII (at least). They have an uphill battle, and the prospect of a major war looms large in their young lives, considering how there is one going on right now. That war is but a symptom of the underlying energy/economic crisis, a crisis that has the potential to cause the deaths of hundreds of millions of people, and a crisis that will continue to profoundly change our way of life in the "developed" western countries and just about everywhere else. The way of life to which we have grown accustomed in the US is disappearing–I think there is a chance for it to be replaced by something better, but I fear it will be replaced by something much worse. The US government has done a predictably poor job of even engaging with this topic–the President should have made a prime-time speech on the oil crisis and laid out a plan to at least study the situation and figure out what the hell is going on, but I suppose that would mean acknowledging that their is, indeed, a crisis. That would be an acknowledgment that we have gone past a point of no return, and that things are changing irrevocably. That is the world that these kids are entering into, and it is as precarious a time as any you care to name. Good luck, class of 2008!
posted by Mister_A at 7:42 AM on July 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Some places you’ll go to and you’ll feel yourself wither. Your brain will fog up, your body won’t respond to your thoughts and desires, and you’ll feel sad and angry."

That place is called Los Angeles, by the way.


Well, it IS, but what's funny is that I was thinking it was Northern Virginia (talk about a move that fucked ME right up), which -- reading down through the speech -- I found is where he's originally from, and where he was when he gave the speech. Talk about frying pan -> fire.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:48 AM on July 10, 2008


I really enjoyed the speech. Thanks for posting it.

The only thing that could have made it better was if he did it wearing medieval garb.
posted by drezdn at 8:02 AM on July 10, 2008


All that stuff about the five environments is crap. You can't choose where you live, where you live chooses you. Everyone should stay exactly where they are. Rootlessness is the cause of like 40% of all of our problems as a society. People need to have a real connection to the place they live so that they can be invested in it and want to improve it. If you can just move away and try again then there is no incentive to make where you live a good place. You should live surrounded by your aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and whatnot, so that you have an incentive not to act the fool, because then your family will be there to tell you that you are being an idiot. Also if everyone that moved away to the cities stayed where they were then there would be no more Republicans, because all the people that would have voted Democrat were they still in their small towns and rural areas would outnumber the left behinds. It would be a utopia if moving more than 50 miles from the place of your birth was outlawed. We should all get one more move before the no moving law is enacted. Everybody go back to where their people are from (that will get all the Yankees out of the South) and then everybody just stay put. It probably seems to you like this would be bad, but you are just not as smart as me.
posted by ND¢ at 8:04 AM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh and by "where their people are from" I suppose where your ancestors lived at the time of the Civil War would be a good measure. Those whose families have moved to America since then will just have to base where they move back to on where their earliest immigrant ancestor lived.
posted by ND¢ at 8:09 AM on July 10, 2008


I definitely buy into the idea that geography can mismatch your temperament. Having grown up in the expansive, geographically featureless flats of the mid-Atlantic where cities (hint: Green Countrie Townes) are laid out in grids, I still find the Massachusetts Bay area twisted, baffling, and claustrophobic.
posted by whuppy at 8:13 AM on July 10, 2008


I am going to move to Portland to annoy cortex and #1 in person.
posted by Mister_A at 8:19 AM on July 10, 2008


My favorite part was when he said:

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain."

I wasn't expecting him to throw himself off the roof at the end of the speech. You have to admit, Patton Oswald has style.
posted by Telf at 8:35 AM on July 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Great speech. The lesson vs. advice part was confusing, though. Can anyone explain what he meant? Is he saying that a lesson is when someone does something that makes you reflective?
posted by milestogo at 8:36 AM on July 10, 2008


Everyone should stay exactly where they are.

No, no, they should all come to Amsterdam.

Everybody go back to where their people are from...

Ah, sorry, just a temporary misunderstanding then - so all the white people are coming back to Europe, right?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:38 AM on July 10, 2008


See my second comment Rev. Bomb.

People who move are putting themselves before their environment. "I'm not happy in Podunk, WI. I want to move to Chicago where the cool kids live!" Well suck it up buddy. Podunk, WI was there long before you came along and it will be there long after you are dead, so what makes you think that your needs should come before Podunk's?
posted by ND¢ at 8:45 AM on July 10, 2008


Bullshit. I was raised in the suburbs, but I prefer the city. Don't tell me to remain in the suburbs.

Patton was right. I'm moving!
posted by grubi at 8:45 AM on July 10, 2008



Ah, sorry, just a temporary misunderstanding then - so all the white people are coming back to Europe, right?

Not good enough. Everyone needs to move back to Olduvai Gorge.
posted by Drastic at 8:50 AM on July 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Everybody go back to where their people are from

My people are from two different places, very far away from each other.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:52 AM on July 10, 2008


Wow, he had a cool Mom:


And how my mom came down to the kitchen when I was studying for my trig final, at 2 o’clock in the morning, and said, “Haven’t you already been accepted to college?” And I said, “Yeah, but this test is really going to be hard.” And she asked, “What’s the test for again?” And I said, “Calculus” and she closed my notebook and said, “You’ll never use this. Ever. Go to bed or watch a movie.”

posted by lattiboy at 8:54 AM on July 10, 2008


ND¢: It would be a utopia if moving more than 50 miles from the place of your birth was outlawed.

Humanity tried something like that once. That period was called the Dark Ages. Maybe you're fine with being a serf bound to the land, but I'll pass.
posted by PsychoKick at 8:58 AM on July 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


Podunk, WI is a nice place. Why would anyone want to leave?

Make sure to visit their sausage festival.
posted by drezdn at 9:00 AM on July 10, 2008


OK, but how does he feel about sunscreen?

Great speech for a high school commencement. I could have really benefitted from this when I was seventeen, assuming my ears had been open enough to actually listen.

Also, ND¢: Everyone should stay exactly where they are... It would be a utopia if moving more than 50 miles from the place of your birth was outlawed -- If you seriously believe this, you're out of your friggin' mind.
posted by newmoistness at 9:03 AM on July 10, 2008


does anyone have an rss feed for Patton's blog? I can't find one on his site. Or should I just assume all the good posts will be linked from Mefi?
posted by jrishel at 9:04 AM on July 10, 2008


ND¢: With industrial farming, we're much better off if people migrate to high-density cities because the provision of services is then much more efficient. Poor peasants in marginal farming areas are an environmental disaster.

Besides, people form connections quickly. The problem isn't that people move, it's that when they get there they just sit inside on the Internet or watching TV. Like we're doing now, in fact: how is my talking to you helping my local community to cohere?
posted by alasdair at 9:20 AM on July 10, 2008


I love Patton. His sense of humor perfectly matches my idea of what's funny. In his speech he makes two jokes about killing people, one endorsement of pot, and another of whiskey. He also very subtly suggests that he could have had sex with all the students moms.

That is the kind of commencement speech that all kids deserve to be given.
posted by quin at 9:26 AM on July 10, 2008


ND¢:You should live surrounded by your aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and whatnot, so that you have an incentive not to act the fool, because then your family will be there to tell you that you are being an idiot.

Shit, I don't even know you and I'm here to tell you that you're being an idiot.
posted by Optamystic at 9:26 AM on July 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


Patton Oswalt is a homophobic asshole who doesn't deserve my time.

Flagged. Pointlessly, but there's my vote.
posted by disclaimer at 9:28 AM on July 10, 2008


ND¢:You should live surrounded by your aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and whatnot, so that you have an incentive not to act the fool, because then your family will be there to tell you that you are being an idiot. That's a pretty big assumption that your aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and whatnot, are not idiots themselves. The very fact that a lot of them ARE idiots is why some people move away.
posted by HappyHippo at 9:39 AM on July 10, 2008


Wow, he had a cool Mom:


And how my mom came down to the kitchen when I was studying for my trig final, at 2 o’clock in the morning, and said, “Haven’t you already been accepted to college?” And I said, “Yeah, but this test is really going to be hard.” And she asked, “What’s the test for again?” And I said, “Calculus” and she closed my notebook and said, “You’ll never use this. Ever. Go to bed or watch a movie.”


Ugh, I hope either you or he is joking.
posted by DU at 9:39 AM on July 10, 2008


Hey disclaimer, can you back that up? Because I just googled "oswalt homophobia" and all I found are a bunch of gay people's blogs saying how much they like Patton Oswalt....
posted by lumpenprole at 9:43 AM on July 10, 2008


ND¢: With industrial farming, we're much better off if people migrate to high-density cities because the provision of services is then much more efficient. Poor peasants in marginal farming areas are an environmental disaster.

....ergh? You're saying that industrial farming is environmentally BETTER than people with connections to the land faming "marginal" areas? I suggest you pick up Wendell Berry's The Gift of Good Land, for a really fantastic and well-measured series of essays on how marginal land farming is more sustainable than agrobusiness.
I think telling people where they should or shouldn't live is bullshit, but I can't say that I'm discouraged by the trend of young people moving to second tier cities or starting organic farms in the country.
posted by 235w103 at 9:47 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, does every thread now end in some kind of pedantic flameout with a bunch of ninny assholes?


PS asshole-flameout has just been trademarked
posted by lattiboy at 9:49 AM on July 10, 2008


...late at night, during a blizzard, you can stand outside and hear the collective, thumping murmur of a million snowflakes hitting the earth, like you’re inside a sleeping god’s thoughts.

I love this.
posted by deCadmus at 9:50 AM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Patton Oswalt is a homophobic asshole who doesn't deserve my time.

Can you please link to some examples? I've heard all of his standup releases and don't recall any homophobia.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:50 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Patton Oswalt is a homophobic asshole who doesn't deserve my time.

Weird. His latest stand-up has a routine about Cirque du Soleil that is about 19531.4 miles away from homophobia.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:00 AM on July 10, 2008


He's got Patton Oswalt confused with Norman Osborn, who is indeed quite homophobic and gives terrible commencement speeches.

Also everyone who has argued against my plan for prohibiting moving more than 50 miles from their place of birth has been incredibly wrong in different ways, but I am too full of barbecue to shatter you with my brilliant refutations at this point.
posted by ND¢ at 10:07 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice speech. There was no speaker at my high school graduation ceremony, aside from the valedictorian, but at my university ceremony we were lectured at by some stuffy English poet who included the parable of the ant and the grasshopper in his speech.

It was torture, although to be fair to the boring poet, this was partly because I was monstrously hung over and the ceremony was in a hockey arena. Ever been in a hockey arena during the summer months? Air-conditioned and well-ventilated they are not.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:08 AM on July 10, 2008


He's got Patton Oswalt confused with Norman Osborn, who is indeed quite homophobic and gives terrible commencement speeches.

He keeps pumpkin bombing the kids, for one thing. Hey, school admins: Stop inviting Norman Osborn to give commencement speeches already. He's gonna hurt somebody one day.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:21 AM on July 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oswald's speech was definitely at a high school level. My problem with the speech is that he tells the kids to go experience life and the world for themselves and discover their path, but the examples he gives are not in themselves experiences they are observations of experiences. The speech seems to be the antithesis of Emerson's Self-Reliance. I tend to agree with Emerson:

Travelling is a fool's paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.

Oswald, speaks of the opposite. He tells of becoming intoxicated in Naples (rather than by Naples) in order to discover his place in the world. Another thing I find troubling is that his "message" is that, "Reputation, Posterity and Cool are traps" right after telling high school kids about how great it is that he gets to stroke Hendrix's charred guitar, appear in Zombie flicks, and smoke pot all day. Why tell such types of stories to kids unless you are trying to stoke your own reputation, posterity and cool?

The Conan comment I made above was cheap and a throwaway and really shouldn't have been included.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:33 AM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think you missed the point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


He's got Patton Oswalt confused with Norman Osborn...

Or George Patton.
posted by DU at 10:37 AM on July 10, 2008


People told me, "You'll never use Calculus. Trust me. Don't worry about it." So I didn't. Now I use it all the goddamn time. Thanks a lot, people.
posted by naju at 10:40 AM on July 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think you missed the point.

I think I must have. I think I'm too wound up on the poop joke stuff that I missed Oswald telling the kids exactly what Emerson was saying. Though, in my defense, I've had to read it 4 times before I caught it.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:48 AM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think I'm too wound up

Maybe. I think it's worth you giving it another read, perhaps.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:50 AM on July 10, 2008


Class of 2008, I was born the son of industrialist Ambrose Osborn in Hartford, Connecticut. Although I was a brilliant student in the fields of science, my alcoholic father lost control of his company, and turned on his family. Traumatized, I killed the family dog, considering it another mouth to feed.

In college, I studied chemistry and electrical engineering, and met my sweetheart Emily, got married, and eventually had a son, Harry. I co-founded a major firm with Dr. Mendel Stromm, Osborn Industries, of which I am owner and president. At some point Emily became ill and died. This tragedy pushed me to work harder, and I barely had time for Harry. Hoping to gain more control of my company, I accused Stromm of embezzling (Stromm claimed he was merely borrowing) from the company and had him arrested. I then searched his possessions, and discovered an experimental strength/intelligence enhancement formula. When I attempted to create the serum, it turned green and exploded in my face. The accident greatly increased my intelligence and strength, but also drove me insane.

I adopted the bizarre identity of the Green Goblin, based on a monster I feared in my childhood, with the goal of becoming the boss of the city's organized crime. I intended to cement my position in the city by defeating Spider-Man in order to enhance my reputation. To this end, I created a personal flying device, which started in a broomstick-like shape and evolved into my Goblin Glider. I also developed hand grenade-like explosive weapons resembling pumpkins, sharp shuriken-like Razor-Bats, and gloves which fire energy blasts from the finger tips. Thus equipped, I set out to achieve my twin goals. I hired the Enforcers to kill Spider-Man at a bogus New Mexico movie set. The Enforcers failed, but I defeated Spider-Man in battle. I then fought Spider-Man and the Human Torch to a standstill.

I continued to try to carry out my goals, only to be thwarted at every turn by Spider-Man. Frustrated, I decided to lie low until I was sure my enemy's guard was down. When I was ready, I arranged to have Spider-Man exposed to a special gas designed to suppress his spider sense. With that done, I shadowed him until I learned he is really Peter Parker, a classmate of my son Harry. After capturing him, I in turn revealed my own identity to Peter and ranted about my origin and my intentions of killing my greatest enemy, before releasing Peter to do battle. Peter defeated me, I lost my memory and had my costume destroyed by Spider-Man to eliminate this menace.

For a long while, the Goblin personality periodically re-emerged in me to bedevil Spider-Man, only to be forced down in turn when I was defeated. Finally, the Goblin took control one final time and threatened the love of Spider-Man's life, Gwen Stacy, by kidnapping her and taking her to the top of the George Washington Bridge in New York City. During the resulting battle, I committed one of my most brutal crimes: pushing Gwen from the bridge. Spider-Man's attempt to save her failed, and Gwen was killed. With blood in his eyes, Spider-Man pursued me for revenge, but managed to control himself after defeating me in battle. In a final attempt to kill him, I tried to spear Spider-Man with my remote control glider, only to be myself impaled by the jet-glider's sharp points when Spider-Man avoided the attack. I was presumed dead and Harry later became owner and president of Osborn Industries.

So that just goes to show kids, follow your dreams and always believe in yourself, unless you're gay. Thank you and Spider-Man sucks!
posted by ND¢ at 10:53 AM on July 10, 2008 [27 favorites]


This is the best part:

At some point Emily became ill and died.
posted by Mister_A at 11:24 AM on July 10, 2008


Maybe his mother meant Patton specifically would never use calculus.
posted by spec80 at 11:27 AM on July 10, 2008


When did the trend (if there is one) of having celebrity speakers at high school graduations, even if he was an alum?

The speaker at my HS graduation was Jorge Luis Borges. In 1968.

Patton Oswalt is a homophobic asshole who doesn't deserve my time.

If you can't back that up, it's not Oswalt who's the asshole.
posted by languagehat at 11:51 AM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do you remember the speech at all, languagehat? Did you know who he was then? A little more on this, please!
posted by Mister_A at 12:08 PM on July 10, 2008


I clamor for it also, languagehat; where on earth did you go to high school? Did you live on some parallel continent of air that overlays reality like a mythical laminate? Were you a fantastical creature in a fictional zoo?
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 12:16 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Observations:

Languagehat is really, really old.
Languagehat is really, really cool.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:34 PM on July 10, 2008


Dang to your freshness, Alvy; I guess that languagehat is just about as old as God wants him to be! And by "God" I mean "Jorge Luis Borges."
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 12:50 PM on July 10, 2008


Languagehat is really, really old.

Languagehat, what dinosaur did you ride to graduation on? Inquiring whippersnappers need to know!
posted by ntartifex at 12:53 PM on July 10, 2008


Do you remember the speech at all, languagehat?

Shit no! It was forty years ago, I was a high-school student, and I was nervous about the speech I had to give (a very righteous "America's all fucked up because of racism and the war!" speech, I'll have you know). I do remember he was frail and impressive and you could hardly hear him. And blind, of course.

Did you know who he was then?

Motherfucker, what kind of a question is that? Borges had been world famous for a long time already. You kids, you think JLo invented fame.

where on earth did you go to high school?


Here, although we had a rickety old building and a graduating class of 50.

Did you live on some parallel continent of air that overlays reality like a mythical laminate? Were you a fantastical creature in a fictional zoo?

Well, that goes without saying.
posted by languagehat at 1:03 PM on July 10, 2008 [6 favorites]


Oh, now that makes some sense. Argentina seems like a good place to meet Borges, and he'd certainly be well known there.

At my HS graduation, all we got was the bishop. I guess in catholic school, you just can't beat the bishop.
posted by Mister_A at 1:09 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


I do remember he was frail and impressive and you could hardly hear him. And blind, of course.

1968, you said? I wonder if he still had his yellow.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 1:28 PM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Anybody who tells people to get off their asses and see the world is right on, in my book. I know way too many people who love to talk about foreign countries in disparaging tones who have never travel; people who say they've been to Italy because they were at "that casino in Vegas."
posted by papercake at 1:46 PM on July 10, 2008


I don't believe my high school graduation had a guest speaker, though I do consider myself quite lucky that my college graduation guest-speaker's speech was FPP quality.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:55 PM on July 10, 2008


Fuck you LH, you have no business coming at me like that.

I've seen Patton Oswalt live, and I walked out after the third time he said the word "fag".

Can I back it up online? No. Do I have personal experience with it? Yes. Now deal with it.
posted by disclaimer at 3:51 PM on July 10, 2008


Actually Conan O'Brian has done a high school graduation. Stuyvesant class of '06 had that honor. Google video
posted by Megafly at 4:00 PM on July 10, 2008


Nigger please, saying fag doesn't make you homophobic.
posted by found missing at 5:57 PM on July 10, 2008


you just can't beat the bishop.

must...restrain...joke...impluse....

I liked this part the best: "Reputation, Posterity, Cool = Fear." That was the takeaway lesson for me.

The best advice I took for college from High School was from the principal, Sister Maria: "Don't take any pills, mija".

Now I realize she might have been talking about The Pill, but I thought it was any and all drugs. I just didn't take anything that wasn't indicated or prescribed. Seems to have worked.
posted by lysdexic at 8:41 PM on July 10, 2008


disclaimer writes "Fuck you LH, you have no business coming at me like that. I've seen Patton Oswalt live, and I walked out after the third time he said the word 'fag'."

So you were short-tempered, rude, and jumped to conclusions then, and you're short-tempered, rude, jump to conclusions now.

Well, something to be said for consistency, I guess.

So, uh, if we say "fag" three times, you're leaving Metafiler? 'Cause I'm, you know, tempted.
posted by orthogonality at 9:18 PM on July 10, 2008


Hey SpiffyRob, that is my favorite graduation speech ever! I re-read it a couple times a year and regularly make other people read it too. Incidentally, I must have been in the class below yours - I transferred out, but the school that's not near Uganda still gives me warm fuzzies.
posted by naoko at 11:36 PM on July 10, 2008


Wow, you people take this shit (and me) way, way too seriously. I think your favorite entertainer sucks because he insulted the audience, and I'm an asshole, rude, short tempered and jumping to conclusions. Y'all need a skin.
posted by disclaimer at 2:56 AM on July 11, 2008


This one time Patton Oswalt played a secondal triad from F on a harpsichord and I was all "I see what you're up to mister!" and then I torched the place.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:40 AM on July 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


disclaimer: We just don't take too kindly to trolls around here. (Exceptin' cuddly bridge trolls like Patton Oswalt.) If Patton Oswalt is not, as you say, worth your time, then why did you bother to take the time to shit in this thread with slanderous accusations?

I, too, have heard Patton Oswalt use the word fag many times. But the context in which it was used did not betray any latent homophobia on Oswalt's part; rather, it was used to skewer homophobia. To deflate it.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:24 AM on July 11, 2008


I wasn't trying to thread shit and I am no troll, check my history. I made a throwaway comment about the guy and I stand by it, everyone disagrees, okay, enough said. This is so not worth energy or time to discuss. It happened a while ago, maybe he's changed his tune, maybe he was drunk, whatever. It's totally irrelevant in any case.
posted by disclaimer at 8:45 AM on July 11, 2008


Wow, you people take this shit (and me) way, way too seriously. ... Y'all need a skin.

Fuck you LH, you have no business coming at me like that.


Noted without comment.
posted by languagehat at 11:07 AM on July 11, 2008


Well, I guess that's it, then. I lose the internet game. You win! Yay! Should I flame out now, or wait a while?
posted by disclaimer at 3:35 PM on July 11, 2008


dude, you said flame, you goddamn biggot
posted by found missing at 3:46 PM on July 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fuck you LH, you have no business having Borges at your graduation.

Please tell me he got in a knife fight at the nexus of the universe (which happened to be in the third stall of the smoking bathroom) or some shit. Even if it's not true.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:37 PM on July 12, 2008


He did, and I still proudly carry the scar just below my heart. Man, I thought it would be easy to take an old blind guy, especially after I blew smoke in his face. Motherfucker was fast.
posted by languagehat at 6:40 PM on July 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


wow, he voiced remy!? for some reason i always thought he was paul giamatti :P
posted by kliuless at 4:19 PM on July 15, 2008


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