Well, I had no plans to write about the commencement controversy at St. Thomas, but since it's been all over the blogosphere (here and here, for starters, and bravo to Fr. Fox for taking the case right to the head of St. Thomas - read the combox for his letter) I figured I had an obligation to at least mention it. (I spoke with a St. Thomas grad yesterday, who summed up the whole thing: "I mean, what the hell did these people expect? It's supposed to be a Catholic university, after all.")
It's not just the rabble in the audience at St. Thomas, of course, and that's not really what this is all about. This is one of those ho-hum things that comes up every year. A bunch of snot-nosed brats who think, now that they've been through four (or five or six) years of higher education, that they know everything there is to know, and they're going to let everyone know about it. And why not? They're college graduates! (You'd think they were bloggers!) As Rich Lowry points out in his NRO piece, all it really does is serve to give these ripened adolescents the one thing they crave more than anything else (except, perhaps, for money, sex and drugs): attention. It also serves to make decent people like you and me angry, and we hardly have the time or energy to waste on clowns like them.
So I've got an idea. Why not get rid of the commencement speaker altogether? They've become nothing but a lightning rod for controversy, from either the left or the right (the commencement speaker at my graduation was practically an out-and-out Communist. I didn't walk out or shout during the speech, but I didn't applaud at the end, either.) And anyway, it's obvious that these self-absorbed punks don't want to hear anyone yakking away up there - it's just keeping them from getting their diplomas and getting out of there.
But, hey, why stop there? Let's just eliminate the commencement ceremony completely! Mail the diplomas out. Or better yet, send them to the students as a .pdf file. Then they can print out a new copy whenever they need one.
After all, from today's colleges they're just about worth the paper they're printed on anyway.