Quit telling us we’re not special.
Believe us, we bloody well know.
Earlier this month, Wellesley high school teacher David McCullough, Jr., delivered what was perhaps the world’s first commencement dirge to a crowd of teenagers on the first day of distinction many of them have ever experienced. Graduation from high school, he informed them, is a shiny induction to the hordes of mediocrity. McCullough even took it upon himself to remind the youth of their eventual funerals. (You know it’s a problematic speech when Rush Limbaugh loves it.) What parting words did the teacher have for those who survived his twelve-minute lesson on nihilism? The paradoxical exhortation to go forth and live extraordinary lives! Because, apparently, we can?
Here’s the rub: this speech is misplaced. It doesn’t belong in an address to the generation graduating into an economy that wipes its rear end with their high school diplomas. It doesn’t belong in an address to the generation who began running the rat race at age 4. It doesn’t apply to the generation that knows hard work guarantees nothing, that can’t hope to own a home before we have our own children, that pours coffee for other people’s parents for free in the name of gaining “work experience” through “internship.” David McCullough ought to have given that speech not to the graduates, but to their parents. We have not yet begun to shape the world: we are living in the one you created. And it’s killing us.
At the state level, when politicians aren’t busy trying to bust up unions, they’re passing legislation aimed at incentivizing growth: Wisconsin offers a 25% tax credit to local angel investors who sink funds into young, emerging startups. Earlier this year, the legislation was amended so that the credit does not have to be paid back within the first three years, even if the business fails or is acquired. This has made investing locally extremely attractive to big companies–which keeps their money in Madison, says Weaver.
Another major effort is helmed by local educational powerhouse the University of Wisconsin, which not only feeds graduates into the local market, it also provides a continuing education of sorts for the tech leadership of Madison’s larger corporations — big names like American Family Insurance and Sub-Zero. The UW E-Business Consortium is a peer network for the CTOs and CMOs of local corporations addressing issues ranging from digital marketing to supply chain management. ”We do foster diversity in the industries we serve as the cross-pollination of ideas is extremely powerful and not found in other venues,” says Sandra Bradley, practice director of the consortium.
- Andrew Sullivan posts an excellent documentary that follows around a street level drug dealer. Spoiler alert: the drug dealer is making bank.
- Drew Magary, one of my favorite writers, applies to be a contestant on the Food Network show Chopped.
Bacon, egg, and cheese at Gotham Bagels
Smokin’ Turkey sandwich @ Nohea Cafe