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1. Читая текст, вы улучшаете навыки чтения.
2. Слушая речь, вы улучшаете восприятие языка на слух.
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4. Может и вы будете великим, учитесь, как говорить речь.
I know many of you were convinced last night at about six o’clock local time the world was going to come to an end. Just because it hasn’t doesn’t mean that it’s not nearby because my appearing today at Yale University is surely one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Today is your day. Please, do not turn off your electronic devices. Leave your iPhone, your iPad, your Sidekicks, your Droids, your blackberries powered up, recording, photographing, texting out all that emerges from this stage over the next few minutes.
Later on today you can compare your tweets and your Facebook comments with those of others to figure out if anything memorable went down. You know what, tweet that last sentence I just said. Take this speech and set it to music and maybe insert some crazy kooky graphics. Starin’ that video yourself and post on the web and if it becomes a viral sensation you’ll be equal to any cat playing with a paper bag or any set of twin toddlers talking gibberish to each other, as popular as that cute girl that sings about Fridays.
Just one of the possibilities in our brave new world, the world you now inherit whether you’d like it or not. The jig is up.
The clock has run out and the future with a capital ‘F’ now rests with all of you all because you went to Yale. You are now the anointed, the charge holders, the best and brightest. Each of you is a shining hope for our nation in the world. You are the new wizards who can finally make sense of all the delta vectors and square roots and divided by’s out there that we call the human race. The generations before you came of age took on the job and now it’s your turn.
I once had a friend, who had a rich uncle, who promised to pay for his college as long as my friend wished to stay in school. “You should stay in school as long as you can”the rich uncle said “because when you get out of college you’ve got to work every day for the rest of your life.” You all will come to understand what that rich uncle meant, just as surely as you will someday wonder where the hell you put your reading glasses and yell at your own kids to turn the damn music down.
On spring days like today, it’s traditional for us to ponder the state of the world and implore you all to help make it a better place which implies that things are somehow worse today than they were when we were sitting where you are right now.I’m not so sure the planet earth is in worse shape than it was 30, no 18, no four years ago.
That’s not to say it’s in better shape either. Refraining from waxing nostalgic and comparing our then to your now and avoiding any talk of “You kids these days with your rap and your ‘hip-hopin’ and your ‘snoopy dogg daddies with the diddy pops’, with your “fiddy” cents and your quarter cents…”
That sober look shows that just as world has gotten to be a better place after all, and has also grown a bit worse at the exact same rate. A one step up and one step back, sort of cosmic balance between forward progress and cultural retreat that puts mankind on the bell curve of existence. That shows a small segment in joy, ease and comfort while an equal portion struggle on with little hope in the fortunes of the remainder, either on the rise or on the wane in this confounding tide of so many damn things that we grow oblivious to the shifts in the quality of our lives.
Graduation Day is the proper occasion to put a toe in the global waters and I think the mercury shows that things are much as they always have been. Ten years ago we busied ourselves with trivial stuff imbued with importance and then came 9/11.
In 1991 riches were created in new businesses that had never existed. Then that economic balloon burst.In ’81 I had a great job on T.V. and in ’82 Bosom Buddies was cancelled. In ‘71 color T.V. in more living rooms than ever showed young Americans still fighting in combat in Vietnam and in ‘61 satellites beamed live images around the world for the very first time but those images were of the building of the Berlin Wall.
This ten-year grid shows the same yin yang thing; I’m trying to copyright that. It shows the same yin yang thing.
We all have these devices that can make a permanent record of revolutionary change on the other side of the globe as well as hate filled diatribes from across town. Fewer and fewer in our country go to bed hungry but do you see how obesity now affects half of our population?
No matter how many bargains we find at the local You-Mart many of us still struggle to pay the rent and the utilities. Our country is no longer in physical or even ideological war with our enemies, for most of the last century, but in the 11 and half years of the third millennium our armed forces have been fighting in the field for nine of them. Purchasing intellectual property and the work of artists we admire is a simple as clicking a mouse and paying less than a few bucks. Which means you may find that there is no guarantee in making a living at your chosen discipline.
Now some advantages particular to this age are not to be denied. Boredom seems to have been vanquished. There is always something to do, but hasn’t this translated into a perpetual distraction in our lives, in the bathroom, at the dinner table, in the back seat, at a wedding, at a graduation day? There’s always something to check, something to tweet, something to watch, something to download, something to share, something to buy, someone on a voice mail, something to yank at our attention span and it’s all in the palm of our hand for a small monthly service fee.
That same technology has allowed for a surplus of celebrities and that is nothing to cheer about. Anyone can enjoy the perks of notoriety now and the duration of fame has been lengthened from Andy Warhol’s brief 15 minutes to a good 15 months if you’re willing to do certain things on camera.
Though Orwellian language is often the vocabulary of official new speak his boogie man that was the all-seeing big brother has never emerged unless you live in North Korea or run a red light in Beverly Hills or shop online or have done something stupid in the wrong place at the wrong time in front of someone with a camera and their cell phone and that is everybody. Pardon my junior college Latin, the vulgus populi has become the all-seeing state and if you cross it, Google search will forever display your screw-up. So actually there is a big brother but he’s not a malevolent fiction; he’s actually all of us, who lives in our search engines.
So no matter how many times I do the calculations I come up with the social draw. The positives balance the negatives. The x’s equal the y’s and our hopes weigh as much as our fears but I hesitate on that last one because fear, good lord, fear is a powerful physiological force of 2011.
We here up in stands and surrounding you graduating class look to you as we do every year, hoping you will now somehow through your labors free us from what we have come to fear and we have come to fear many things. Fear has become the commodity that sells as certainly as sex.
Fear is cheap. Fear is easy. Fear gets attention. Fear is spread as fast as gossip and is just as glamorous, juicy and profitable.Fear twist facts into fictions that become indistinguishable from ignorance. Fear is a profit-churning goto with the whole market being your whole family.
I was sitting at the house one day, watching the game on T.V.not long ago and along came this promo for the local nightly news. “Are our schools poisoning our children!? That story and summer’s hottest bikinis tonight at 11:00.” In that I had school-age kids at the time I feared that they were in fact being poisoned at school and summer was still a few weeks away. So I tuned in to get the scoop and the actual news story of that news broadcast was this. A certain supply of hamburger was found to have a bit too much of a particular bacteria in it and for safety’s sake was being taken off the market. That same hamburger was slated for sale to an out of state school system for its cafeterias but it was recalled in time. So answering that news program’s own question, no our schools were not poisoning our children but yes that summer there would be some very hot bikinis at the beach.
The early American naval commander John Paul Jones said “If fear is cultivated it will become stronger. If faith is cultivated it will achieve mastery.” and this is why I’m a big fan of history because observations in the American colonies over 200 years ago by Nathan Hale, who lived in that building right over there, translate word for word of the United States in 2011, “For I take that fear to be fear in large-scale. Fear itself intimidating and constant and I take faith to be what we hold in ourselves, our American ideal of self-determination.”
Fear is whispered in our ears and shouted in our faces. Faith must be fostered by the man or woman you see every day in the mirror. The former forever snaps at our heels and delays our course. The latter can spur our boot heels to be wandering, stimulate our creativity and drive us forward. Fear or faith, which will be our master?
Three men found that they could no longer sleep because of their deep seeded fears. This is a story I’m telling. Their lives were in a state of stasis because of their constant worries. So they set out on a pilgrimage to find a wiseman who lived high in the mountain, so high up above the tree line that no vegetation grew, no animals lived, not even insects could be found so high up in the mountains in that thin air. When they reached his cave the first of the three said “Help me Wiseman for my fear has crippled me.” “What is your fear?” asked the Wiseman. “I fear death.” said the pilgrim. “I wonder when it is going to come for me.” “Death” said the wise men “let me take away this fear my friend. Death will not come to call until you are ready for its embrace. Know that and your fear will go away.” This calmed that pilgrim’s mind and he feared death no longer.