David McCullough Urges BC Graduates To Speak Properly: Cut The “Like!”

Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough has a suggestion for what young people can do for their country.

“Please, please do what you can to cure the verbal virus that seems increasingly rampant among your generation,” McCullough implored Boston College’s class of 2008 at commencement ceremonies Monday.

He said he’s particularly troubled by the “relentless, wearisome use of words” such as like, awesome and actually.

“Just imagine if in his inaugural address John F. Kennedy had said, ‘Ask not what your country can, you know, do for you, but what you can, like, do for your country actually,” he said.

Graduates apparently thought his speech was, like, awesome. They gave him a standing ovation.

  1. McCullough says:

    J, Mustard- Must I say it?

  2. Thomas says:

    #10 (#4)
    Was it really that difficult to figure out that he called you ignorant and a fanatical contrarian? I suppose the fact that you did not understand the joke is the joke itself.

  3. bobbo says:

    #30–J==you got me. Maybe my nickname should be what I think: “There are exceptions to most rules.” Still–its rather silly to argue the lack of absolutes. YOU should have taken my intent instead of my words unless you want every post to be boringly footnoted. Still–you win.

    McCullough==jesus christ==they’re already singing opera together. They should at least get a sound proof booth!!

  4. J says:

    # 33 bobbo

    “YOU should have taken my intent instead of my words unless you want every post to be boringly footnoted.”

    If you were standing in front of me maybe I could get YOUR intent. Since you are not all I have are YOUR words.

    You originally claimed that it was “over/mis use” and then switched it to “overuse” so I doubt your original intent was anything but black or white.

    “Still–you win.”

    See that is the problem with you. It isn’t win or lose. Again an either/or black and white issue.

  5. bobbo says:

    #34–J==you seem to be winning all the black/white arguments today. May the schwartz remain with you.

  6. Mister Mustard says:

    Tommie, if you consider “you and all other epistemologically challenged iconoclasts have fallen apart at the seams” a humorous joke, you must be one of the creeps who look at fatal traffic accidents and chortle.

    Personally, I think he just wanted to show off that his dictionary dot com “word of the day” e-mail enlightened him to the words “epistomology” and “iconoclast”.

    Other than that (even with your Cliff Notes explanation), it makes no fucking sense at all.

  7. Mr. Gawd Almighty says:

    #21, bobbo,

    #17–Mustard==what else is an education but being told things you haven’t heard before???????

    Learning. Understanding. Comprehension of facts. Being able to utilize the information you have been given. That is what an education is all about.


    In my definition “seems” means “apparent but not certain” and a “state of being”. So I looked it up.


    intr.v. seemed, seem·ing, seems
    1. To give the impression of being; appear: The child seems healthy, but the doctor is concerned.
    2. To appear to one’s own opinion or mind: I can’t seem to get the story straight.
    3. To appear to be true, probable, or evident: It seems you object to the plan. It seems like rain. He seems to have worked in sales for several years.
    4. To appear to exist: There seems no reason to postpone it.

  8. bobbo says:

    #37–gawd==glad you seem to agree. Even happier if you do.

  9. J says:

    # 36 Mister Mustard

    “Other than that (even with your Cliff Notes explanation), it makes no fucking sense at all.”

    Today I have to agree with the Mustard and it isn’t because of your love for musical theatre either. But that’s cool too!

  10. bobbo says:

    Looks like the score is 2 to 2. 2 who use the dictionary see humor, 2 opera fans do not.

    If it weren’t for the anti-intellectual/learning leanings of this thread, I would ask which status is more likely when one person sees a thing and another person does not? Is it there, or not there?

  11. Mister Mustard says:

    >>If it weren’t for the anti-intellectual/learning
    >>leanings of this thread

    Now you’re an INTELLECTUAL? w00t!! Jesus H. Christ on a crutch, Bobbo. I’m actually feeling embarrassed for you.

    LAY OFF THE 8-BALLS! LAY OFF THE MAD DOG!! IN THE NAME OF GOD, PLEASE! Don’t let your need to be an epistemological iconoclast get in the way of maintaining your dignity.

  12. bobbo says:

    #41–Mustard, no. I never claimed such exalted status but you are self identified as anti-intellectual. The difference is not too subtle, but one I’m sure you’ll miss.

    Anyone, without exception, who claims they have nothing to learn from anyone else, without exception, is not only anti-intellectual, but a repository of many other repugnant characteristics as well.

  13. morram says:

    Well Michael you could do what I do in those meeting. Reply..

    Wow Dude, that is so groovy

    I remember back in the 60s a lot of kids used “Duh yeah” as a sarcastic of course

  14. Peter iNova says:

    According to the on-line urban dictionary, awsome is the way morans spell it.

    What a postour. Three out of four.

  15. J says:

    # 42 bobbo

    Nice way to misinterpret and redefine what Mustard said.

  16. edbauer says:

    Uhh, back on topic I guess…

    The word “like” is my #1 pet peeve. Its constant use shows a lack of intelligence and overall laziness.

    Kudos to this commencement speaker.

  17. edbauer says:

    [Duplicate comment deleted. – ed.]

  18. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #7 – Bobster, the only conclusion I can draw is that you spent your entire Economic Stimulus Package check on 8-balls and Mad Dog.

    At least those items have a greater effect on the American economy than DVD players do.

    And yes… Bobbo surely seems, like, you know, loopy actually, or whatever.

    #14 – So, yes, absent the morons, trollers, and truthers, we all have something to teach one another.

    True… except yours isn’t English.

    #19 – Mustard is right. Very few things except in the world of mathematics are absolute.

    …and to that there can be no argument (ironically enough).

    #20 – >>Are you a fan of Gilbert & Sullivan?

    You betcha, Buttercup.

    There is nothing wrong with being gay.

    #36 – you must be one of the creeps who look at fatal traffic accidents and chortle

    I am not creepy.

  19. Wretched Gnu says:

    oh john, john — You really should check your own grammar before posting a story about others’! Your cool “Who’s awesome”? poster at the front of the post says at the bottom “Your awesome”. Do we really not know the difference between “you are” (you’re) and “your”?…

  20. McCullough says:

    49. OK, new rule, you are forbidden to correct grammar in a post if you don’t even know who posted the piece in the first place. I’m poppin’ p’s all over the place!!!! Stop the madness.

    Hint: it wasnt John!

  21. Mister Mustard says:

    >>Anyone, without exception, who claims they have
    >>nothing to learn from anyone else, without
    >>exception, is not only anti-intellectual, but a
    >>repository of many other repugnant
    >>characteristics as well.

    Didn’t I already educate you about the pitfalls of using straw-man arguments, grasshopper?

    Go have a Little Debbie snack cake or something, why don’t you?

    Back on track, your comment about “seem” was beyond ridiculous. Other than your bloviating jibber japper about nothing, you failed to explain wtf you were talking about.

    Best to STFU, and stop digging when you’re in a hole like that.

  22. bobbo says:

    #51–Mustard–how can I stop digging when you keep burying treasure? In short, “seems” is a weak argumentative position. It equivocates, telegraphing the speaker may not have thought sufficiently about a subject to reach a conclusion. I prefer the clean sleek lines of a firm conclusion reached.

    Review your own pronouncements here and list how many times you “seemed” vs how many times you concluded. YOU are my best evidence. Thank you.

  23. Mister Mustard says:

    Bobbo. The digging. Stop it. NOW.

  24. bobbo says:

    #54–Mustard, no treasure there. Guess that was one straw man argument that won’t fly.

  25. Meester Mushturd says:

    Come on bobbo, you’re way too smart to roll in the mud with the mustard pig. The guys a troll, his lifes purpose is to snipe other posters and start arguments, he probably never even read the story you commented on.
    Don’t feed the trolls!

  26. Mister Mustard says:

    >>Mustard, no treasure there.

    Bobbo. The digging. Stop it. NOW.

    And you, Fucktard Number 55, eat shit and die. Thanks in advance.

  27. Imposterior says:

    #56 – I heard you had a party and invited all your friends. One of them got sick and the other wouldn’t come alone.

  28. bobbo says:

    #55–Meester Mushturd==I slap myself in the forehead and think “I coudda had a V-8!!!!!” Mustard not even reading the posted article WOULD explain a lot.

    Thanks for the head’s up. Your compliment notwithstanding, I feel so stupid.

    Mustard—no soup for you!!!

  29. MikeN says:

    Maybe this is why Obama beat Hillary.
    Seriously, take a look at her TV appearances.

  30. MikeN says:

    Mr. McCullough, I’m sorry if my English is the type up with which you will not put.


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