You are here

Free Speech of the Week Signup NowFree Speech of the Week Signup Now

Were this year's commencement speeches more boring than usual?

Were commencement speeches extra banal this year? A number of ex-White House speechwriters quoted in a Politico story this week make that case.

“Work together. And do what you want to do. It’s your life. As I always say, you only live once,” Terry McAuliffe told Virginia Tech grads.

That whiffed McAuliffe riff notwithstanding:

Having just put to bed the 2018 Commencement Edition of Vital Speeches, I think I found as many interesting speeches as usual—among as many boring ones as always.

I side with former Hillary Clinton speechwriter Ben Krauss, who concludes that commencement speeches have “never been particularly riveting. Speeches in general are sort of an artificial moment where you have one person in front of everyone who may or may not have to be there, and then the commencement version of that artificial setting is even more exaggerated in how boring it can be.” —DM