Speaking to graduates at the University of Virginia on Saturday, Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert quipped that the university’s founder and signatory to the U.S. Constitution Thomas Jefferson was known for “embracing diversity,” joking that historians “did the DNA tests” to ensure he’s right.
“You know what?” he rhetorically asked. “I’m not going to say anymore about that. You’ve heard enough about that already.”
Holding aloft a recent issue of Time magazine, Colbert added that the Virginia graduates have been labeled “lazy, entitled narcissists” who are “part of the ‘Me-Me-Me’ generation.”
“Your generation needs everything to be about you and that’s very upsetting to us baby boomers because self-absorbtion is kind of our thing,” he joked. “We’re the original me generation. We made the last 50 years all about us. We took all the money. We soaked up all the government services. And we’ve deep-fried nearly everything in the ocean.”
Colbert went on to insist that nothing the prior generation has done will influence how civilization is reshaped in the coming decades. “Ultimately, it has only your brains to think with,” he said. “Every generation must define itself and so make the world that suits itself. So, if you must find your own path, and we have left you no easy path, then decide now to choose the hard path that leads to the life and the world you want.”
“And don’t worry if we don’t approve of your choices In our benign self absorption, I believe we have given you a gift,” Colbert added. “A particular form of independence because you do not owe the previous generation anything. Thanks to us, you owe it to the Chinese.”
This video was published to YouTube on May 18, 2013.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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