Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs
Big Bird — that is, the actor who portrays Big Bird — will be Villanova’s commencement speaker. A committee made the choice. Some students are not pleased.
Big Bird was my least favorite Sesame Street character. I hated that voice.
Carrol Spinney is the ACTOR who portrays Big Bird.
Generally when a college makes a more obscure choice for its graduation speaker, it is because the college thought it was going to get someone much more interesting. Unfortunatly, the unnamed speaker had to cancel, and since by that point everyone else of any prominence has been snapped up, the college needs to make do with someone already scheduled to receive an honorary degree.
It could be worse. Last year (or year before last?) GWU was aiming for a cabinet-level speaker, couldn’t get him, and wound up with a commencement address given by the president of Brown University. At least people have heard of Big Bird!
Sorry, but after Romper Room and Sherrie and Lambchop, I stopped watching my kid’s programs.
We had Kofi Annan. I would rather have had Big Bird.
If Elmo shows up, there wouldn’t just be bomb threats. There’d be bombs.
You’re right. Spinney is a male. I’ve fixed the reference. Blame Kimberly Swygert for leading me astray.
I think it could be fascinating to hear a speech by an actor who’s been a major presence in children’s educational television since a decade before the graduates were born. Assuming he’s not in character–didn’t Long Island University have Kermit the Frog as its commencement speaker about ten years ago? Not the-actor-who-plays, but Kermie in the felt-covered flesh. That I would feel insulted by.
I don’t know, Kermit would probably have been more interesting than the guy who did mine. Can’t even remember his name, but he spent a long time going on about Bush.
I guess each college in my university having its own graduation tends to lower the quality of the speakers a bit. Still, even the people who agreed with him were bored to death.
It is my understanding that “Big Bird” will not be in costume. As much as we adults like to make fun of shows like Sesame Street, we must acknowledge that if we watched a television as a young child, they were influential in forming who we are as people. I think that this would be a very interesting person to have speak about their life experiences and their experiences in mass-media education and how it has changed with technology.
I’d love to hear Mr. Spinney speak. I read his recent memoir, and he’s a creative man with a certain entrepreneurial grit… not to mention physical stamina.
Don’t judge the bird by his feathers.
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