Writer/Director John Waters has gone by many names: the Prince of Puke, the Pope of Trash, The King of Sleeze, and now he can add another title to his list — that of commencement speaker for the graduating class of 2015 of the Rhode Island School of Design. Who would have ever thought the controversial director would be asked to be the elder to which tomorrow’s leaders should aspire? Certainly not Waters himself when one considers Waters — along with his #1 star, the “notorious beauty” Divine — outraged conservative society and highbrow critics alike with in-your-face comedy classics like Pink Flamingos and Polyester decades ago.
Waters gave a brilliant and hilarious speech that should not only be required viewing for every person graduating this year — be it high school or college — but every young person out there trying to make their mark in the world, be they in school or not. Among the many wise things Waters said in his speech, the most resonant may be this:
“In this day and age, it isn’t enough to fight for the end of racism, sexism, ageism or any other kind of prejudice. Isn’t being an outsider soooo 2014? Maybe it’s time to throw caution to the wind, really shake things up and reinvent yourself as a new version of your dreaded enemy: the insider, like I am, the final irony. Horrify us with new ideas. Outrage outdated critics. Use technology for transgression, not lazy social living. Make me nervous.”
Hear that, all you youngin’s out there? Time for you piss off the older generation, and not by creating music and art that would have been tame two or even three decades ago, but by pushing the envelope in ways we’ve yet to see. It’s not going to happen by just taking lots of selfies you know. Just sayin’.
Watch John Water’s entire speech in the video below, and let us know what you think in the comments below: