Just call it the Snubben Lecture Series
First of all: Thank you, Lindi Conover, for your article last week. You added some rigor and insight to a work of mine that, while well-intentioned, was also under-informed. More importantly, you kept an important discussion alive. Stay classy and don't ever go silent.Speaking of silence, I want to spend some time considering choices - choices that have been made for the selection of Ubben Lecturers in recent years. Don't get me wrong, we've had some real winners, but just think of all the people who have been left out. This time is for them. The snubbed. The Snubben Lecturers.
Phil Silvers: Though it remains a matter of debate, this dude supposedly invented the high five. The high five! I don't even know how celebrations occurred before Mr. Silvers' Copernican innovation, but they probably involved grunting, wooden clubs, fire and simple machines. The fact that Phil himself is dead is irrelevant; the high five never dies.
Don Cheadle: His humanitarian efforts in Rwanda should not be forgotten.
Lance Armstrong: He can teach us all a thing or two about perseverance. The guy goes from nearly fatal testicular cancer to having a cameo role in the movie Dodgeball. What a turn-around.
Nikki Sixx: Finally, someone who has a serious claim to say, "Sorry for partyin'."
Mikhail Gorbachev's translator: As the guy who actually delivered Gorbachev's lecture in English to the audience, he's basically been an Ubben Lecturer already. His nomination truly speaks for itself - at least, as much as anything relating to a translator can.
Marion Jones: I don't see what could possibly go wrong.
Howard Zinn: Regardless of how you feel about him as a historian or a thinker, the man would definitely be compelling. You may not be down with mobilization to social action or uncompromisingly revisionist history, but you should enjoy, as Good Will Hunting puts it, someone who "blows your hair back."
Steve Bartman's wife: I can imagine how this question-and-answer session would go: "So, about that whole for better or for worse thing ... how's that been?"
Mark Zuckerberg: Seriously. You can groan if you want, but I sincerely feel that the inventor of Facebook has had a greater impact on the world of college-aged students than many higher-profile figures. He has completely altered how we communicate, how we befriend, how we stay in touch and even how we classify our relationships with significant others ("Are you Facebook official?"). Furthermore, he's young, financially successful and demonstrates how students at schools like DePauw can use personal initiative to creatively apply the vast resources that we're given.
Jenna Jameson: Wait, is he serious? Did he just write that down? No and no.
Steve Perry: If the lead singer of Journey can still wear those wetsuit-tight jeans the way he used to, I don't care what he says.
So maybe these aren't "world leaders." So maybe they're not "politicians" or "Nobel Laureates" or "alive." So maybe the Ubben isn't made for pop icons. So what? We've had some outstanding speakers over the past few years, but that should not keep us from continually raising our standards for the surprising and provocative guests who are generously brought to our campus. Joey Chestnut anybody?
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