“This is Water is the best commencement speech of all time not because it has transcended the…”

“This is Water is the best commencement speech of all time not because it has transcended the formula, flattery, and platitudes that a graduation speech trades in, but precisely because it has mastered them. Wallace does not conceal this. He tells you what he’s giving you upfront. “Stated as an English sentence,” says Wallace, the moral of his fish-parable “is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance.”
[…]
I’m tired of the high cultural premium on sincerity, which has sky rocketed this election cycle. If sincerity is a virtue, its one I’ve never had or wanted, and one that would do me little good anyway. Praising a person for their sincerity too often means praising a person for having feelings, and feelings, for some reason, seem to count less when women have them.”

- How the Best Commencement Speech of All Time Was Bad for Literature” by Emily Harnett—an excellent essay on sincerity and David Foster Wallace (h/t Rhetsy)
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