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Commencement speaker not controversial enough — walkout scheduled

| Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Peggy Noonan is universally admired for the stirring prose, keen insight and the moral perspective of her commentary on America and the world,” University President Fr. John I. Jenkins. One might say too universally admired. Anger and Resentment, the twin pets of the public, have been on the rise these last few days, as seniors stir in a tumultuous tizzy over their chosen commencement speaker. Enraged that the University failed to choose someone controversial for them to gripe about, many seniors have now been organizing a walkout in protest.

“Noonan is a very respectable individual, obviously enough,” senior Frederick Evertson, beloved Stanford RA and leader of this movement, had to tell our reporters. “The problem isn’t with her qualifications or character — her talents and accomplishments, quite frankly, speak for themselves. She’s a New York Times best-seller, a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and we could have a multitude of presidents and politicians compliment her oratory capacity. It’ll be great to have someone so renowned for speech-writing actually giving our commencement speech …

“My bone to pick is with how these incredible advantages of choosing her aren’t balanced by any sort of reason to hate her. No political radicalities, no divisive racial or prejudicial elements attached — what, are we supposed to actually enjoy ourselves on that special day? Bring Pence or Obama back!” Evertson’s face welled up to a scarlet intensity with these last words.

Clearly, these seniors really need something to rise up against.

“Fr. Jenkins, have a spine! Stand up for what you believe in!” Evertson’s main contention seems to reside with the administration’s inconsistency, as he related our president to an “oily fish, flip-flopping willy-nilly.” If Notre Dame makes it a practice to consistently bring controversial speakers to campus, he argued, then why flip that precedent on its head? Evertson and his dozens of supporters want to defend the traditions of the Fighting Irish, and are sad to see how the University is advancing toward a future grossly different from its past.

Rumors have already been spreading that Noonan is a far better individual than the accolades even show. On West Quad, word has gotten out that the author and columnist once saw a dove with a broken wing, brought this animal into her home and nursed it back to health, before eventually returning it to the wild. In another instance, she once sang “Jumper” for a young man on the edge of a bridge, convincing him to come down and then even helping him find meaning in existence — he’s now a loving father of four. With a Chuck Norris-esque mythos building around her, the rumors continue to permeate in every ludicrous permutation of her extensive compassion and intellect. Stories abound regarding that one time she solved the unsolvable equation, or that other time she stopped the unstoppable object. A certain Siegfried sophomore has even claimed he’s heard of her once returning sight to a blind man … Not a single reference to homophobic clinics or pro-choice agendas.

The seniors seethe quietly, but Evertson’s initiative says no more. “So what, we’re just supposed to enjoy our graduation?! What would that even look like?” And it’s true — without a target for their ire, seniors will have to, for the first time in a long time, truly acknowledge that their time at Notre Dame has come to end, and that the real world awaits. That’ll bring with it not only the crushing reality of responsibility — that they can’t just procrastinate a paper and hide out with a pitcher at Finnies anymore — but also the depression of losing close friends, the realization that the people they’ve come to know, love and live with won’t be surrounding them any longer. It’s a real shame that, without the distraction of an obnoxious speaker, the seniors will be just as miserable and cantankerous — if not more so — than normal.

News about the walkout will undoubtedly surface as senior week approaches, but feel free to contact Mr. Evertson if you’re interested in protesting our oncoming plunge into adult-life.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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