Sunday, May 23, 2004

Filmmaker Ken Burns Picks His Spot Wisely

As the commencement speaker at Yale University, Ken Burns knew the President's daughter was graduating. And that he would have an audience that would be tuned in to whatever he said. So what did he do? Without naming the President, he criticized Bush's policies:

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- With presidential security helicopters circling over the Yale University campus, filmmaker Ken Burns denounced the war in Iraq on Sunday and told graduating seniors to remember history as they work to repair divides in American culture.


'Steel yourselves. Your generation must repair this damage, and it will not be easy,' Burns told the seniors.

Burns quoted famed jurist Learned Hand as saying, 'Liberty is never being too sure you're right.'

'Somehow recently, though, we have replaced our usual and healthy doubt with an arrogance and belligerence that resembles more the ancient and now fallen empires of our history books than a modern compassionate democracy,' Burns said, to applause from the 1,300 graduates and their families and friends.


Students also poked fun at Bush, who spoke at Yale's 300th commencement in 2001.

The president earned a history degree from Yale in 1968, earning what was politely called "gentlemen's C's."

Bush told the class of 2001: "To the C-students, I say, you too can be president of the United States".

In seniors' spoof of the class of 2004's history Sunday, they recalled the quote as: "To all the C-students out there, I'd like to say, you too can be president , if your dad was president."...


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