PITTSBURGH - Judge Rufus Peckham, founder and editor of The Carbolic Smoke Ball, was both widely praised and widely criticized for his controversial commencement address at Carnegie Mellon University yesterday, sometimes by the same person. Following his two minute address, the audience sat in stunned silence. The Judge took umbrage at the suggestion that his address was intended as a gag. Here is the verbatim transcript of the address:
Allow me to break with tradition and tell you that I am not happy, I am not honored to be here today. I say this fully cognizant that, one, it may make you uncomfortable, and two, your entire existence revolves around your comfort.
You see, I stand before a generation of nitwits, and I am ashamed of you.
You know less, and you care less, about current events and history than any generation of the past century.
You have a firm belief that you must share every inane thought with an equally dim-witted friend on your cell phones, spilling your essence upon one another like a schoolboy's first encounter with the village trollop.
You have no ability to think critically, and you desecrate the language of Shakespeare and Dickens with your foul language and inappropriate and repetitious use of the word "like." You have such difficulty expressing yourself in writing that you resort to "emoticons," which have less sophistication than caveman drawings.
Your "music" has more in common with the primitive beat of the tribal tom-tom than with the Germanic symphonic tradition that cultured people of Western civilization have long held as the standard.
Your taste in art, literature and motion pictures is non-existent.
You have abandoned religion because it does not add to you immediate gratification, and because religion disapproves of conduct you freely engage in that does add to your immediate gratification.
You turn your bodies into grotesque pin cushions with vile piercings and profane tattoos. The young women dress as hookers, yet insist they be treated with dignity. The young men primp and preen and smell like girls, and have morphed themselves into video game-playing drag queens by pruning their torsos and nether-regions to resemble hairless rats.
In short, you have disgraced our nation and defiled our culture. I, for one, am very sorry indeed that this institution has seen fit to let you loose on polite society.
In any event, congratulations.