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A Controversial Expression of Speech - Heaphy and the Guests and Families of Csu Sacramento

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A Controversial Expression of Speech

The conflict between Heaphy and the guests and families of CSU Sacramento graduates in December of 2001 was tremendously contentious. An appalled crowed began to boo and holler when she was halfway through her speech about the racial profiling involving 9-11. Heaphy believed it was perfectly appropriate to freely speak her mind with a lack of self-censorship. The crowd was in utter shock and became infuriated quickly. They believed that a graduation speech should reflect on the graduates' life and education and provide them with inspiration as they embark on the next chapter in their lives. However, they were subjected to a speech on reality. Their expectation was a graduation speech that would give hope, courage and triumph; not bring dreams down to a minimum.

The author, Lustig, sides with Heaphy because he believes that she has the freedom to speak without limits. He also condones that the crowd's actions were disrespectful. Lustig's personal opinion could agree with the crowd, but regardless their exploits were atrocious. The crowd plainly yearned for a speech containing nothing but positive thoughts. They'd rather exclude the harsh truths of our country from their minds, rather than listen, absorb and analyze it. Longing for only satisfying words leaves us empty; for the world does not only consist of happiness.

The thoughts of the crowd were entirely understandable, though the way they portrayed their thoughts and opinions was unethical. Heaphy had the entitlement to make her bold statements and bring forth her theories because she had not been censored by the administration. Heaphy neglected to reflect on the anxious and successful students that were close to receiving the diplomas and beginning their adult lives. She did not express thoughts that could provoke positive futures; but dwelt only on the negative occurrences going on in America at the time. From my standpoint, I can easily agree with the thoughts of the crowd and the speaker; though both expressed their feelings in the wrong way. The hope for pure happiness is not always possible when dealing with the real world.

The audience of the graduation can be compared to Fahrenheit 451 in that they both crave happiness to the extent that all negative feelings should be eliminated. They both refuse to hear of, or deal with news that is less than satisfying. The audience expected to hear only the best words for the graduates, and not the harsh reality of 9/11. They were ignorant and the way they approached their issues was obscene. In Fahrenheit 451 they are attempting to generate a world limited to just happiness. But, what is happiness if you cannot experience sadness? Or anger? Or strife? It is a world numbed to a contradicting viewpoint on life. Happiness cannot be felt unless the feeler has experienced lesser feelings as well.



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