Brilliant Author's Brilliant Graduation Speech Turned into Brilliant Short Sean Morrow

David Foster Wallace was one of the greatest–if not the greatest–writers mostly active in the past 20 years. I wouldn’t not recommend him to anyone. He wrote the 90s’ great American novel Infinite Jest and some of the best creative non-fiction I’ve ever read (specific recommendations: ”Authority and American Usage,” “”Some Remarks on Kafka’s Funniness from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed,” “Big Red Son,” “Consider the Lobster,” “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.”) If you’re a big John Green but you’re older than 19 you should be reading David Foster Wallace. Trust me.

In 2005 Wallace delivered a commencement speech at Kenyon College that blew every usual miserable commencement speech off of the lectern: This is Water, as it was dubbed retroactively so as to be published in a needless but cute little book, is the most inspirational 15 minutes in the history of mankind. I’ve probably watched it a jillion times, and that’s not even a real number.

The Glossary, ‘purveyors of stimulating videograms,’ have given a breath of newness to a speech I once considered ultra-familiar with their videographic adaptation, taking an abridged version of the speech and adding great visuals. Give it a watch, it is to thinking well what a cup of coffee is to energy.

(full disclosure: my friend and occasional collaborator Cameron Miller is the ‘sick guy’ at 7:44. He, coincidentally, helped introduce me to Wallace in 2010)

 

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  1. So radical! “Life is about the real value of a real education which has (almost) nothing to do with knowledge and everything to do with simple awareness.”

  2. I so wish David Foster Wallace was alive to give my commencement speech! He taught like, 40 minutes away from my college.

    Gina Vaynshteyn | 5/08/2013 11:05 am
    • Yeah, my speaker was some boring activist…. I recommend DFW’s syllabus from the English class he taught! It’s online somewhere.

      Sean Morrow | 5/08/2013 01:05 pm