by Ryan McMaken
Thanks to the COVID-19 panic this year, graduates at America’s institutions of higher education missed the “opportunity” to be lectured by some celebrity or politician about the importance of wanting a better world, or how racism is bad, or about how one should celebrate life.
Indeed, those who have no friends and nothing else to do could tune in to watch commencement speeches on these topics from academic and intellectual giants like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga.
The speeches made by politicians — who use the speeches to push their own political agendas — are slightly more substantive, although no less opportunistic. Last year, for example — when graduation ceremonies were still conducted live — Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde used their commencement speeches at American universities to burnish their own careers, albeit their talks were punctuated with discussions of topics like the transatlantic partnership .