Tim Minchin’s Uni Address

Tim Minchin delivered a great address for the graduation ceremony at The University of Western Australia:

Minchin has 9 lessons, and I think I like number 7 the best:

7. Define Yourself By What You Love
I’ve found myself doing this thing a bit recently, where, if someone asks me what sort of music I like, I say “well I don’t listen to the radio because pop lyrics annoy me”. Or if someone asks me what food I like, I say “I think truffle oil is overused and slightly obnoxious”. And I see it all the time online, people whose idea of being part of a subculture is to hate Coldplay or football or feminists or the Liberal Party. We have tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff; as a comedian, I make a living out of it. But try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank-you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.

Talking about what we dislike is so much easier than talking about what we like, or what brings us joy. I am guilty of this, of course, but not as much as I used to be. I could probably be accused of being less discerning than I was in the past. When someone tells me they like something, I now have a tendency to say “I get that,” and not “What nonsense!” And I also have a tendency to get annoyed when someone decides they’re going to make it their business to cripple my enthusiasm. Do you really have to shit on what I like? Since I used to do that to others, and probably still do to an extent, I expect the answer is in the affirmative. But, it still saddens me that the voices saying “No, this is crap!” are so much louder than the ones murmuring that this or that was clever or comforting or just plain fun.