when i was giving my speech this weekend to the future journalists of america,
i told them that one reason the Daily Nexus was able to beat all the other california colleges back in the day was because of our brand of peer pressure.
our oddly drunken commitment to excellence was clearly more effective than professional advisors and teachers with their list of rules.
if one of your friends told you your review of the new Janes Addiction record sucked it rang truer
than if some gray haired grandpa told you it was horrible.
at the Nexus we were loving but ruthless. we would make out with each other on Saturday night but on Sunday night we literally cut the crap out of our copy for Monday’s paper.
today i had to write the truest critical email ever to someone that i care about but i dont know if it will ring true because for some reason i feel life is different today than it was back in the days of Isla Vista
i have the feeling that today people dont push their friends to be better. i think it’s more acceptable to just let our closest amigos float down the river of mediocrity.
of course on one level friends should be the warm cuddly pillow that we can rest our head on. friends should feel safe with each other. the world is cold and cruel and hard and harsh, friends should be the shelter.
but if a friend doesnt say bro you’re off track. or baby youre selling out. or psssst you are so much better than this – then who will?
and would we listen to those people who say those biting, critical things if they arent our actual peers?
i begged the future of america to be courageous as they asked questions and spoke truth to power.
and afterwards i realized the old truism: we teach what we most need to learn.