Thursday, June 08, 2006

Pomp and Circumstance

Why do some cultural traditons survive and others die?

I went to my little brother's high school graduation Sunday, ten years after my own. It was incredibly similiar to mine, with the major differences being a change from a weeknight to a weekend day and NHS members having a pin rather than a special tassel. Otherwise it was the same boring two hour ceremony, with the high school band playing "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" at both events. To be fair, not all ceremonies may be as bad as Beaver Dam (WI)'s, since BDHS makes a point of presenting a gaggle of scholarships and departmental awards. I went through my program and put a check mark next to each one as it was awarded so I could get some visible representation to how close to the end I was.

There was easily over a thousand people stuffed into a hot gym. I really doubt that many of them enjoyed the process, and many may have complained about some of the more unnecessary elements in private, but there seems to be a conspiracy of silence regarding the public discourse of the event itself. Graduation is a sacred cow and no one would dare challenge the traditions. But I would like to ask a few questions about some of the more absurd aspects.

I feel like "Here Comes the Bride" is being phased out as an automatic wedding song, so why is "Pomp and Circumstance" an untouchable for graduations? An entire generation no doubt thought of Macho Man Randy Savage at their graduations, and it is hard to believe that the song actually outlasted the wrestler. And what's up with the caps and gowns? Whose idea was it that a mortarboard hat that sits lopsided with a goofy tassel hanging down represents a culmination of academic achievement? And gowns? If someone wore a gown like that and walked down the street they would be mercilessly mocked. What makes it any less ridiculous in a formal ceremony, when it should be more ridiculous? And if high school graduation is such an achievenment, why does our culture judge so harshly those who don't attain it?

I whethered my high school graduation, but gave my parents several years warning not to expect me to participate in my college graduation. One time with the cap and gown was enough for me. Now if only I could find a guilt-free way to guarantee that I won't have to sit through a two-hour graduation ever again.

Also, in case you missed it I added an edit to the post below.

4 Comments:

Blogger Heidi said...

My older sister didn't go to her grad (and ironically won the attendance award), I'm just glad that I didn't have to go. It was a couple weeks ago, and it was a huge (kind of) "scandal" in our little town of Foam Lake.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Azor said...

Awesome job by your sister Heidi (and who knew you had an older sister?). Will you going to your graduation?

10:51 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

hey, i said that you were a stubborn cow. it was supposed to be a joke. i know. it's not very funny and I am deeply ashamed.

*hangs her head in deep shame and thought and ponders her lifes existance*

anyways. rachel doesn't really have any friends in her class, so she wasn't exactly missed. sadly, i have people like Robin to be mad at me if i don't go. that's in two years though, plenty of time to piss off my friends.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Azor said...

Heidi, I am a stubborn cow.

11:36 PM  

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