The bridge to nowhere

Yesterday I went to my brother’s graduation ceremony at UPenn. I recognized the stadium from that movie Unbreakable, and M. Night Shayamalan was a fitting patron saint for those three hours of action-packed rhetoric. Bridges were built, paths were blazed, the walls of Plato’s cave were flickered upon, marathons were planned, then abandoned, and above all, differences were made (or at least promised). Since a professor of classics was presiding over the second half, I was hoping for some application of the principles of Demosthenian oratory, or at least the recycling of a bit of rancorous invective against the Macedonians, but it was not to be.

I guess it doesn’t matter, the auditory element can’t be preserved in picture form, and most parents were there to create a photographic record of the specialness of their children by watching them dress up in identical formless robes and collect in a swarm of 10,000 to sit in rows and be harangued mass rally-style. I admire the principle of making the world’s most highly educated put on silly hats and get-up before they can receive their diplomas, but I find it interesting that girls go out and buy the most luxurious, colorful dresses, just to bury them under a big black burqa. They should just buy the ones whose two inches of hem will look the best peeking out from underneath some billowing pancho- or mumu-like contraption.

I’ve decided graduation ceremonies are a lot like funerals: people dress in black, drink slightly too much and listen to someone behind a pulpit tell lies about the departed or soon-to-be departed. Given the dogmas and clichés nesting them in our culture, every funeral should be happy and every graduation sad, but of course the opposite is generally the case. I guess if the dogmas came naturally to be believed, they wouldn’t need to be constantly repeated.

4 Responses to “The bridge to nowhere”

  1. Helen Says:

    Hello, how are you doing ? Time flies ! I will also graduate soon this June ~ I agree that graduation ceremony is a boring but still feel sad about all the things will be over. Best Wishes !

  2. Curt Says:

    Hi, I’m doing well. What are you going to do after you graduate? Graduate school? Work?

  3. Tom Says:

    For better or for worse I avoided mine and had my university post the degree to me almost three years after finishing my exams (just in case the institution perished and I was left without proof of my grand achievement).

  4. Helen Says:

    I decide to work, and i have got an offer from Shanghai where needs a English and Japanese speaker, oh, i forgot to tell you i have taken Japanese language for two and a half years and did a little progress in it. But i am seesawing wheather to go or not, anyway i think i need to take a leap and not always stay in Tianjin~ Could you give me your Email-Address agian or just send me Hello-message to mine: I can not figure out a little problem in my Graduation Essay, and hope get a little suggestion from you, my dear friend. Best wishes all the time.

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