John Waters’ rollicking commencement speech at The Rhode Island School of Design offered up some good one-liners and a few pearls of wisdom, though phrased, quite naturally, in an irreverent way. Ready for some sage advice on what really counts as wealth? And what career choices will make you truly wealthy? Mr. Waters has this to say:
Uh, don’t hate all rich people. They’re not all awful. Believe me, I know some evil poor people, too. We need some rich people: Who else is going to back our movies or buy our art? I’m rich! I don’t mean money-wise. I mean that I have figured out how to never be around assholes at any time in my personal and professional life. That’s rich. And not being around assholes should be the goal of every graduate here today.
It’s OK to hate the poor, too, but only the poor of spirit, not wealth. A poor person to me can have a big bank balance but is stupid by choice – uncurious, judgemental, isolated and unavailable to change.
I’m also sorry to report there’s no such thing as karma. So many of my talented great friends are dead and so many of the fools I’ve met and loathed are still alive. It’s not fair, and it never will be.
Like I said, irreverently phrased. But when stripped down to their basics, some very good principles to live by.
Watch the speech above; read the complete transcript here.