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No Mental Muscle on Graduation Day

June 02, 2002

Re "Graduation Speakers Opting for Safe, Unoffensive Topics," May 29: The trend toward feel-good fluff and away from controversy in commencement addresses is disturbing but not surprising. The same trend can be seen on TV, in news magazines and in politics.

Most Americans do not want to be bothered with the burdens of knowledge and responsibility; we would much rather enjoy our blissful ignorance and the indulgences of conspicuous consumption, leaving the problems of the world to supposed experts who periodically regale us with patriotic rhetoric or lull us to sleep with bland humor and all forms of pap.

Universities are among the last bastions of true intellectual discourse; hopefully, the dumbing down begins and ends on graduation day and does not find its way into the classrooms.

John Daniel Tecumseh

Hancock Park

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