Hi Mr. Cornwell,
I'm contacting you in response to your commencement speech on Sunday, May 19th--or rather, in response to the response I've seen since. One professor in particular, Teresa Stores, took offense to the way you addressed females as "girls," but males as "men" or "guys." I've seen claims that, in your speech, women were over-sexualized, under-appreciated, and otherwise degraded.
Personally, I thought the speech was grabbing and entertaining. Some who are now offended did as well. Others were uncomfortable, but too intimidated by the positive crowd response to react or even think negatively to your speech. They argue that humor is not an excuse to espouse sexist rhetoric, and I agree. The question is whether or not your speech falls into that category.
I'm extremely interested to see how you would respond to these claims. Professors have called for the administration to apologize for allowing your speech, which they say is, at the very least, inappropriate for the setting. It was seen by some as discouraging to young women who worked hard for four years to earn a spot at that ceremony. I'm not sure if you have received any notice of these claims, but if you have I imagine my query comes from a different perspective.
What interests me most is how to dissect the layers of your humor. How seriously were we supposed to take "girls: be better than dogs" or any other potentially offensive parts of your speech? If nothing else, the whole affair has made from some very enlightening facebook discourse, and I would love to have your thoughts in the mix. I look forward to your response.
PS. I've been attempting to counter claims that you are a sexist. If you in fact are a sexist, please let me know in a timely manner so I can stop aligning myself with you on social media.
Oh gawd! Well, if I offended some professors, then I’m delighted. Whoopee. More of the same please. I called the ‘boys’ guys and the girls ‘girls’. I’m 69 (which sucks) and 21 year olds are ‘girls’. And if you don’t find Charles Darwin’s ‘companionship, better than a dog’ funny, then there’s no hope. To be honest? I’m not sexist, but I really don’t care if the academy accuses me of it. I’m delighted to get your message!