Make Trouble, John Waters 2017

When John Waters, the producer of such weird movies as Pink Flamingos and Hairspray, was invited to give the commencement speech at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2015, it should have come as no surprise that he would be outrageous and over the top.  What was surprising is that his speech should have become a viral hit with hundreds of thousands of views on You Tube and a book wonderfully illustrated by Eric Hanson.  Waters introduces himself to the RISD graduates, their parents, and the faculty by stating: “I should say right off that I am really qualified to be a commencement speaker. I was suspended from high school then kicked out of college in the first marijuana scandal ever on a university campus.  I’ve been arrested several times.”  He goes on to issue ironic trigger warnings, urge the parents to accept their kids, urge the graduates to ‘fuck over the system and be creative’ and in advice that warmed my heart “Read, read, read”.  This address ranks up there with David Foster Wallace’s and George Saunders’.  Read it, laugh, and then think seriously about it, and if you want to invest 12 minutes and 20 seconds, view it in its entirety here:

I think you’ll laugh and learn.

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