Viral text purports to be a commencement address delivered to graduating students at Texas A&M University by radio talk show host Neal Boortz.
Description: Viral text
Circulating since: June 2008
Status: Misrepresented (see details below)
Email text submitted by Yolanda A., June 26, 2008:
Texas A & M 2008 Commencement Address
Take a few minutes and read this advice to graduates. This Texas lawyer, himself recipient of an Honorary Degree, is obviously opinionated, but to say what he does, in a commencement address a couple of weeks ago, in front of a class of Texas A & M graduates, and especially the faculty, is amazing. I would have loved to have been there just to see the faculty reaction.
It is extremely rare that anyone speaks the truth like this at any College or High School Commencement Address.
Neal Boortz is a Texan, a lawyer, a Texas AGGIE (Texas A&M), and now a nationally syndicated talk show host from Atlanta . His commencement address to the graduates of this years A&M class is far different from what either the students or the faculty expected. His views are thought provoking:
"I am honored by the invitation to address you on this august occasion. It's about time. Be warned, however, that I am not here to impress you; you'll have enough smoke blown up your bloomers today. And you can bet your tassels I'm not here to impress the faculty and administration. You may not like much of what I have to say, and that's fine. You will remember it though. Especially after about 10 years out there in the real world. This, it goes without saying, does not apply to those of you who will seek your careers and your fortunes as government employees.
"This gowned gaggle behind me is your faculty. You've heard the old saying that those who can - do. Those who can't - teach. That sounds deliciously insensitive. But there is often raw truth in insensitivity, just as you often find feel-good falsehoods and lies in compassion. Say good-bye to your faculty because now you are getting ready to go out there and do. These folks behind me are going to stay right here and teach.
Analysis: This ostensible commencement speech is correctly attributed to radio talk show host Neal Boortz in the sense that he did write it but it was never actually delivered as a commencement speech, nor was it intended to be. As Boortz tells it:
Many years ago I’m guessing around 1995 I started to get really pissed off about the fact that I had never been invited to deliver a commencement speech. That particular year Kermit the Frog was actually invited to deliver a speech .. and I felt slighted. So, I sat down and in about 30 minutes pounded out my own commencement speech. This, I said, is the speech that I would deliver if anyone ever invited me; but since nobody was about to invite me here it is and you can read it for yourself.
He says has no idea how the rumor came to be that he gave the speech at his alma mater, Texas A&M University. In 2009 he was given a chance to deliver it for real, though the occasion wasn't a graduation ceremony. It was a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.
More 'speeches' that never were:
Larry Ellison's Speech to Yale Class of 2000
Commencement speech allegedly delivered by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison
The Kurt Vonnegut Sunscreen Speech
Actually a newspaper column by Chicago Tribune writer Mary Schmich
Bill Gates' 11 Rules of Life
Actually an op-ed piece by educator Charles J. Sykes
Sources and further reading:
The Neal Boortz Commencement Speech
Boortz.com, 29 August 2003
My Commencement Speech
Boortz.com, 29 May 2012
Video: Neal Boortz Faux Commencement Speech
Boortz.com (as delivered during a benefit at Kennesaw State University, 20 May 2009)
Last updated 05/31/12