[As Bill Cosby and to a lesser extent, Kermit the Frog have proven: too many institutes of higher learning hand out too many honorary degrees. While this may seem to be a uniquely American tradition, which follows our political pattern for rewarding a variety of people with distinguishment (officially now a word, thanks to my adding it to WordPress’ dictionary) and money for something they didn’t do, it appears that our friends across the pond have caught the “Bullshit BS” bug.
Dublin’s Trinity College is the latest to bestow a means-nothing title on a do-nothing person of dubious fame. Jack White, late of the White Stripes, Raconteurs and various Jack White-related solo endeavors has been awarded Honorary Patronage, joining such luminaries as John McCain, Bob Geldof, Newt Gingrich, the Edge, Oscar Wilde and OH FUCK YES, Pete Doherty.
Presented here is the transcript of his impromptu lecture/commencement speech, which was not presented during commencement or in a lecture hall, much to the confusion of Dubliners and John McCain, who was spotted slipping a couple of $20s to a redundantly pasty “Pistol” Pete Doherty.]
First of all, I want to thank Trinity College for the enormous honor. As the only graduate of the Detroit public school system, I have to say this vindicates their committment to adequacy. As I take my place beside McCain, Wilde, Geldof and others while wondering exactly who the hell they are, I realize that this is first and foremost an opportunity to grow a new fan base.
As I gaze out into this crowd of privileged faces, I am reminded that I have not worked a day in my life. As a child, my parents recognized my blossoming musical talent. When I was five they gave me a drum set, which I soon passed on to my sister Meg, whom I later married.
While I am well-respected as the founding member of Detroit’s only rock and roll group, the White Stripes [wild applause], I have kept my ear to the cultural ground. As the White Stripes [slightly milder wild applause] grind their way to eventual irrelevance, I have never stopped seeking outlets for my outsized ego.
I have continued to lay the groundwork for a new millenium of rock with my side projects the Raconteurs [scattered polite applause], the Dead Weather [tepid polite applause, somewhat forced] and my latest venture, a series of DJ gigs. [Jack White attempts to fill sudden sucking noise by applauding himself wildly.]
When I look out at the future of this uncertain country, I see the promise of new and better things. New thoughts that are suspiciously like the old thoughts, but with young, naive faces attached to them.
If anyone is living proof that dreams can become reality, I am. I spent many long hours planning my revenge on the Von Bondies, who have ired me constantly with their attempts to perform rock and roll in my home city. That plan finally culminated in a series of poorly lit sucker punches, which served notice to the old guard that there was a new mustachioed sheriff in town and that he would not be given “the business.”
So to all of you I say: Stand up for your beliefs, no matter how obsessional or delusional. Nothing should stand between you and your feverish dreams: not reason, not logic, not even the Detroit legal system.
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