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Very Fine People

Not all Ephs were impressed with President Trump’s press conference.

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I also disliked parts of the press conference. (Steve Bannon is definitely a very fine person!)

What did you think?

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Beschloss ’77 on Immigration

Via Steve Sailer, this discussion about Trump immigration policy featuring Michael Beschloss ’77:

Brian Williams: “Michael, when has Truth been doubted before, the way it has been doubted under this Administration by enormous segments of society?”

Prof. Michael Bechloss: “I think never in the history of the Presidency, I think it’s pretty fair to say that. And even what we saw with Mr. Miller was an example of that. His saying that the poem doesn’t count because it was put on later, you know, it’s sort of like the Bill of Rights was ratified four years after the Constitution, so Bill of Rights isn’t very important either.”

As Sailer notes:

I guess I must have dozed through the history class when we discussed how Emma Lazarus’s poem was ratified by two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress and then by three-fourths of the states.

Me too!

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Michael Beschloss ’77 on President Obama

Eph, and Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss rates President Obama’s 1st Congressional Speech Among Best Ever.

(apologies for not being able to embed video)

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Calendar

The New York Times reports on 2007 Commencement speeches.

Then, too, a number of speakers worried aloud that they might be going on too long. The presidential historian Michael Beschloss reminded graduates at Lafayette College that former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey was known for giving speeches that lasted as long as three hours.

“Once Humphrey did this, and even he knew he was overdoing it,” Mr. Beschloss said. “He yelled at the audience, ‘Anybody here got a watch?’ and someone yelled back, ‘How about a calendar?’ ”

Beschloss is class of 1977. The secret to a good Commencement address, as with any speech, is good jokes.

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End As You Begin

Michael Beschloss ’77 remembers historian Arthur Schlesinger.

Arthur never lost his curiosity–or the essential modesty that a historian must have to be genuinely curious. I first met him as a 20-year-old student asking for help on my Williams College senior honors thesis. He was almost 60, but he always treated young people as though they were his peers. When I told him that “A Thousand Days” was the first adult book I ever read, he said, with those snapping eyes and wry grin, “Well, my father was much more distinguished than I am!”

Schlesinger made two particular contributions to the way American history is written and read in 2007. Although he was an academic, he insisted that history should not just be a social science but also page-turning literature. He was very conscious of the fact that his New England ancestor George Bancroft was one of America’s great romantic narrative historians. I can remember the chill that went down my spine at the age of 10 when I finished “A Thousand Days” — a thousand pages after the book starts, “It all began in the cold,” it ends, “It all ended, as it began, in the cold.”

Hmmm. My daughter is 10. Perhaps “A Thousand Days” should be her next book . . . or maybe just the next entry in the Warriors series. Whatever.

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Oompa-Loompish

The Berkshire Eagle has an OK article on the Williams graduation two days ago. Tough to tell how the speeches were from the snippets quoted.

Class speaker Aaron Jenkins, who noted the class’ successful completion of “four years of what I would like to call ‘academic/emotional/spiritual boot camp’ in what I would refer to as ‘an undisclosed bubblelike mountainous location,’ ” urged a full embrace of life.

“We must actively engage life, not only because it is a beautiful thing that can end at a moment’s notice, but also in that we have only one life to live — there is no going back,” he said.

That last part is, obviously, a bit trite, but it is tough to form a fair judgment without seeing the full context. Cathy Salser’s graduation speech still sticks with me 15 years later, but it might not have appeared that good in the next day’s Eagle.

The North Adams Transcript also provided graduation coverage. Again, there wasn’t a whole lot there worth quoting, but I like the way that the Transcript highlights the student speakers whereas the Eagle focussed on Eric Lander.

The college also granted honorary degrees at Commencement, as is its custom. I was pleased see Jim Burns honored, although I think that the college has his Ph.D. degree incorrect. In fact, I think that he and Paul Volcker (another honoree) were in the same prgram, albeit at different times.

On a lighter note, if I were a famous author like Michael Beschloss, I might spend the money to come up with a better publicity picture than this one:

Perhaps it is just my browser, but the coloring here looks a little Oompa-Loompish to me.

Probably I am just jealous that I don’t get invited onto PBS NewsHour . . .

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Currently browsing posts filed under "Michael Beschloss ’77"

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