Combat Zone

Commencement Speech sneak-peek exclusive

Below are excerpts from the speech to be given by the 2012 student Commencment speaker, James Godot. Be sure to catch all of it May 13 at Baker Memorial Stadium:


My fellow Loggers and families, Happy Commencement Day. It looks like the bad weather went away for the weekend to attend its own child’s graduation, probably at Reed.

Weather jokes aside, this speech was originally titled, “Puget Sound is the Super Best and Stuff.” However, last night I drank a bottle of bourbon alone and considered driving into the Sound. Instead, I decided to change the topic of my speech. My new speech is titled, “F*** It: What a Liberal Arts Education Has Taught Me.”

Fellow students, today we enter a world that does not give a s*** about us. Nope, not one s***. Not a single s***.

When I think on what I’ve learned here, I’ll think back to what my politics professor always told me: “Even if you don’t die in an environmental disaster or famine within the next 20 years, you’ll wish you had when the United States turns more authoritarian and each individual becomes easier to monitor, watch and manipulate for the end of supporting a capitalist  system that requires infinite growth. It will be an America of endless hedonism, survelliance and celebrity spectacles, orchestrated to distract the masses from demanding the democracy that was quietly sold up the creek decades ago”. You keep lessons like that for a lifetime.

Some of you—business majors in particular—might be thinking, “James, why the pessimism? That’s just Marxist conspiracy theory, and unless you’re some fancy liberal academic, it’s only worth discussing between sessions of masturbating and reading Nietzsche.” To that I respond with a question: Where have you been the past four years?

Let’s revisit my first day of class as a  freshman. There I was, an innocent Catholic boy who believed in Eternal, Love, World Peace, and God’s Grace…


…[L]earning that the Christian God doesn’t exist was a rough start to freshman year. But I continued to grow. In CSOC103, I learned that there is no such thing as an ‘objective reality’: each one of us make up our own subjective reality and a universal truth is impossible.

Later I wrote a paper on how the effects of alcohol are only created by societal expectations, and if I drank a non-alcoholic beer but thought it had alcohol I would still act tipsy even though my BAC is 0.00, because that’s what I’ve been taught. Oh yeah, and I learned in PSYCH218 that patterns of behavior are so ingrained by now in our heads that we basically don’t have free will at all. As you can imagine, these topics made me an awkward freshman at parties.


[…] and then [religion] Prof. Blithers taught us that this late-capitalist system is self-perpetuating, and we all feed into it. Memories of him telling us that college exists to divert our subversion and our demands for change so that we can become obedient members of a repressive society the day after we stop paying tuition will be cherished until I am old and can’t afford health care.

Our Liberal Arts education has given us the opportunity that few people have: a chance to realize our own helplessness against the crushing forces of society, the universe, and late capitalist economics.


In short, I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made—even if my memories of them will fade, just as their memories of me will fade; for the brilliant professors who taught me about the false consciousness in which I have lived my life until now. They showed me reality, whatever that’s worth. The universe is meaningless; and absurdity, isolation, and death are the fates of every human who tries to scratch the surface.Thank you professors.

Finally, I would like to thank Career & Employment Services for teaching me invaluable interview skills and for helping me land an entry-level job at Hartburne Marketing & Design. I just can’t wait to spend 8 hours a day doing something I don’t actually believe has any purpose!


All right, Loggers, one more for the road: All my life I want to be a Logger!

[Audience: Hack, Hack! Chop, Chop!]

You all reacted just as I thought you would. Now you know how dictatorships come into existence.