Saturday, June 7, 2008

Re: World’s Best-Educated Harry Potter Convention

Question: A story on NPR reported that some graduating seniors at Harvard were grousing that Rowling wasn't worthy of the honor of speaking at their Commencement.

Reply: I noticed that one of the grousers quoted as saying that Rowling lacked gravitas was a Computer Science major. Back in our day there was no Computer Science major at Harvard, as that subject itself was thought to lack sufficient gravitas to be worthy for recognition as a separate academic discipline.

Maybe some of these grousers were reacting to this part of Rowling's speech:

"What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure … The fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown academically."

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