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Star Wars Prequels Media Movies Education It's funny.  Laugh.

Star Wars Takes Over Harvard Commencement 138

Posted by Zonk
from the my-brother-made-people-flap-like-a-chicken dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Harvard University celebrated its 356th Commencement on Thursday. It is tradition at Harvard is to have an undergraduate deliver a Latin Salutatory address. This year's speaker, Charles Joseph McNamara, delivered an address all about Star Wars in Latin! TheForce.net has a write-up of the event, and the speaker was really hilarious. He apparently doesn't like Star Wars that much, but it's still awesome. The video is available online, and you too can see him do a Yoda voice and make light-saber motions ... in front of over 30,000 people. The speech is under "Morning Exercises" on the Harvard site. The Latin Oration begins at about 1:09:30."
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Star Wars Takes Over Harvard Commencement

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Getting a lot of coverage today, Harvard, aren't ya?
  • by nanosquid (1074949)

    With a foresighted vision of the immense future potential of desktop computing, Gates left Harvard during his junior year to devote himself to building Microsoft, the company he and Allen founded in 1975.


    Another example of how a lot of wealth can get you a lot of rewriting of history.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Torodung (31985)
      Seems 100% accurate to me, just a little short on the details and context. Plenty of folks know some juicy tales of paper tape and Aiken labs.

      But what can you do? He was dead on right about the future of the home computer, and he made that future, or broke it, depending on who you ask. He is a brilliant businessman.

      --
      Toro
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Biographies of Gates, including critical ones, all make it pretty clear that he dropped out of Harvard precisely because of his vision of the future of computing -- in the form of the Altair -- having arrived and of there being no time to lose.

      If you have a different version of history why not share it?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    now i know why my submissions get turned down...

    to be fair, this is getting old...I'm a huge SW fan, a fan of anyone who can lecture in latin, and I can't find anything about this submission remotely interesting, insightful, or of news value to nerds.

    In fact a lot of stuff on Firehose that gets shot down just due to too much input and a filtering system that is possibly becoming obsolete could have replaced this article.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      to be fair, this is getting old...I'm a huge SW fan, a fan of anyone who can lecture in latin, and I can't find anything about this submission remotely interesting, insightful, or of news value to nerds.

      In fact a lot of stuff on Firehose that gets shot down just due to too much input and a filtering system that is possibly becoming obsolete could have replaced this article.

      apologies for the redundant, I meant to post non-AC but clicked the damn PA checkbox in advertantly when aiming for Submit. I think my name should be on this so you can do to my karma whattever you wish to.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Asmandeus (640419)
        Now that this is cleared up, will you marry me?

        Wait, don't run away!
        • ~blows you a kiss~ you just made me smile and laugh IRL. You don't know how much thats worth these days. ~still smiling~ mod that man up 4 for humor! ~WBGG
      • by thesandtiger (819476) on Sunday June 10, 2007 @06:38AM (#19457143)
        I'll go ahead and non-anonymously disagree and see what it does to my karma, too :)

        This is at least as interesting to me, a nerd, as, say, yet another article about Final Fantasy n+1 being maybe exclusive maybe not exclusive maybe coming out this year maybe not coming out this year. Or another article in which someone who was very influential at one point in time but is now completely irrelevant babbles about how they think Apple/Unix/Windows/Whatever is alive/dead/goingup/goingdown/slamdancing. Or another askslashdot in which someone comes up with a completely fabricated question about "which distro of Linux should I run on my new fridge." Or dupe of a dupe. Or... well, you get the point.

        It appeals to me because, like many nerds out there, I've been shut down when discussing something I found neat because non-nerds don't seem to enjoy conversations that involve thinking too hard. But this guy - he said fuck it, and basically co-opted the Harvard Commencement just to do it. Rock on, Harvard nerd, rock on.

        From a different angle, has this story making the front page in any way taken anything away from more "deserving" stories? Anything that's really super-duper relevant is gonna hit the front page eventually, even if there are fluff pieces like this one up there.

        So I guess I just don't see that it would even be worth posting a comment asking why it was put up in the first place - on several levels it has at least as much, if not more, merit than much of the other content on /.
        • by aichpvee (631243)
          You forgot to mention that it's fucking hilarious to watch.
        • This is at least as interesting to me, a nerd...

          It appeals to me because, like many nerds out there, I've been shut down when discussing something I found neat because non-nerds don't seem to enjoy conversations that involve thinking too hard.

          Hey, I never challenged the nerdiness of this article, just the newsiness of it. No one is a bigger nerd than I am, check out the profile if you doubt me.

          I'm glad you enjoyed it. When I posted what I posted the general feel was: why has this made the cut? Perhaps things have changed now. But I can still agree to disagree with you about its newsworthiness. To each their own?

          I don't necessarily agree that:

          Anything that's really super-duper relevant is gonna hit the front page eventually, even if there are fluff pieces like this one up there.
          So I guess I just don't see that it would even be worth posting a comment asking why it was put up in the first place - on several levels it has at least as much, if not more, merit than much of the other content on /.

          based on the fact that not all /.'er agree on what is "super-duper relevant".

          You

        • Might just be who I hang out with, and it's just cause my school is really accepting and open (which it is really...), but I'm finding the key is confidence. You go up to make a speech looking like a nerd, loser and are really shy, then talk about something weird and nerdy - you'll be booed off the stage.

          But go up on the stage with a confident, funny, lighthearted "I don't give a shit" attitude, and say something, people get into it - which is what this guy did. Oh sure, you still need to make sure the joke
    • theres lots of crap on the internet and on slashdot. some of that crap is funny and amusing. some of them are just plain weird. a few are quite interesting and informative. this one is funny IMO. i read slashdot coz im too lazy to go stumbling blindly around the internet looking for a few good articles to read everyday. instead i just look at some, like slashdot, to pick a them out for me. newsworthy? of course it's not newsworthy. that much any intelligent person can find out from the title or the first fe
  • by zCyl (14362) on Sunday June 10, 2007 @02:35AM (#19456277)
    An address in a dead language available only in a dead video format. I suppose that should be expected...
    • by gringer (252588)
      Seems to work on my computer under linux using the MPlayer plugin for Mozilla/Firefox. I guess there's other codecs behind that, but I do know that I'm don't have realplayer installed on this thing.
    • by Ash Vince (602485) on Sunday June 10, 2007 @04:31AM (#19456639) Journal
      I think I am going to start a new religion.

      It will be called The Church of the AntiReal. We will be dedicated to driving a certain dead video format even further into the ground, not for any logical reason mind you, then it wouldn't be a proper religious crusade.
    • by maaskaas (1103983)
      Dead language?

      Most legal terms and medical terminology are 100% latin.
      • A dead language isn't one which isn't spoken, it's one which stopped evolving. And Latin hasn't evolved for a long time.
        • Then explain why "automobile" is translated in my text-book. Oh, and sex. Especially sex. Everyone knows sex wasn't inven...err...discovered until the 1960s.
    • An address in a dead language available only in a dead video format.
      ...about a dead movie series.
    • It's up on YouTube now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47u6IJ2GVdM [youtube.com]
  • I have but one thing to say to you, sir:

    Romani ite domum! [youtube.com]

    --
    Toro
  • by qbwiz (87077) * <john.baumanfamily@com> on Sunday June 10, 2007 @02:59AM (#19456373) Homepage
    Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.
    • Its ingrained in western culture which relied on Latin as lingua franca for much of its history.
    • by Bemopolis (698691)
      Han sagitti antecedo!
    • by dpilot (134227)
      Sabbatum by Rondellus

      "Can You imagine what Black Sabbath would have sounded like if Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward would have formed the band in the 14th century? Would "War Pigs" or "The Wizard" have been as powerful if played on medieval instruments like lute, fiddle and harp?"

      http://cdbaby.com/cd/rondellus [cdbaby.com]

      It's actually pretty decent stuff. I took the CD in for Yoga class one evening, if you can imagine a Yoga class to music by Black Sabbath. (It worked well.)
  • by Bastard of Subhumani (827601) on Sunday June 10, 2007 @03:05AM (#19456405) Journal
    I think it lost something in the translation from Klingon.
  • It's true! (Score:2, Funny)

    by dbIII (701233)
    This silly playacting saying things in latin pretending to be the heirs to Rome when the campus is really turning out barbarians. If you want to look at it another way, in the past barbarians were the clueless management that thought everything could be solved by threats and the farmers were the the technical staff.
  • yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djupedal (584558) on Sunday June 10, 2007 @04:03AM (#19456561)
    And here I am, thinking I was missing something by not attending Harvard...
    • by Repran (560270)
      My sister graduated from that class and it was awsome!
    • Don't worry. They wouldn't want you anyway.

      Our current president is a pretty good indication that an Ivy League education has become absolutely meaningless. Save some cash, and go to a state school.
  • A bilingual post in the spirit of the thread.

    Lingua latina tamen vivit, etiam in mondo computatri. Opus Ubuntu unam sectionem habet pro translatione in latinam. Ecce hic! [launchpad.net] Ea non est mortua. Multi in mundo linguam latinam discunt, e.g. in plurimis universitatibus, aut in schola secunda (AP Latin?). Etiam, quisque studentus in Italia discere linguam latinam debes. Ea lingua universalis est, quidem hodie, et paene ubique ab aliquo locuta est.

    The Latin language yet lives, even in the computer world. The Ubuntu
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      It is a universal language, even today, and is spoken, by someone, almost everywhere.
      That someone must have a lot of frequent flyer miles by now...
    • Oblig. (Score:2, Interesting)

      "English motherf***er, do you speak it?"

      Latin hasn't been a "home language" anywhere for hundreds of years - no one speaks it as their first language. It is used only as a formality out of tradition and the reading of old texts; English is the international business language now.
      • by dsanfte (443781)

        English is the international business language now.

        Nobody is denying that. I'm a first-language English speaker myself. But there are still very valid reasons to learn Latin today, and it is still used in spheres besides legal slang and "reading old books". I mean, really. The leg-up it gives you on every Romance language is worth a year of language classes, at least.

        And before you'd raise the Union Jack once more, not everyone, everywhere, speaks English.

        • The leg-up it gives you on every Romance language is worth a year of language classes, at least.
          I feel we're getting fairly offtopic here, but I'll continue: you could get the same basis with Spanish, or French, or any other *current* language, plus you get the benefit of learning the native language of a number of real, present-day countries. I stand by my point that Latin has no practical (non-historical) use.
          • by dsanfte (443781)
            You're further restricting your argument, a sign that you're hardening your position against dispute, but also a sign that you recognize its being hopelessly weak.

            The study of Latin, especially Vulgar Latin (as you would read in the Vulgate), paints the picture behind all the current Romance languages. Learning French to learn Spanish is slightly helpful; learning Italian moreso; but learning Latin gives you the full picture of the common vocabularic and grammatical language structure behind all of them, no
      • Latin hasn't been a "home language" anywhere for hundreds of years

        Well, Latin is still the "home language" of the Vatican. However, it's not the native language of the inhabitants, because the birth rate there should be fairly low. :-)
    • I learnt latin for a year at secondary scool. It is the most logical but hard to remeber language there is. there are like 6 cases, three declensions. It is NOT easy. on the other hand I obviously learnt it well enough to be able to follow most of your post.
      • I counted at least 5 declensions of nouns - but the first three were the most commmon. And yes, the nouns could (as in english) be singular or plural in number, and could have one of six cases (there was also the locative, but I never got the hang of that).

        Then there were the verbs, which came in four regular conjugations, and were subjunctive, indicative or imperative in mood; active or passive in voice; and varied in tense.

        Lookup tables to gladden the heart of any programmer (many of them orthogona

    • I'm an italian student. For sake of precision, is not correct that EACH student in Italy must learn latin...
      In fact latin is mandatory only in "licei", the non-technical secondary schools (maybe the most popoulos, i don't known).
      Note that the vast majority of students in scientific (math, physics, chemistry, etc) and technical (engineering, architecture,...) faculties in Italy come from licei, so in fact most of "scientist" and engineers in Italy known latin.
      • by dsanfte (443781)
        Bene, io sono stato corretto! Grazie.

        Ho preso i corsi d'italiano introduttivi, ma ho saputo che gli studenti devono prendere latino in licei, e non ho saputo che licei non era obbligatorio per tutti gli studenti. Ho pensato che il sistema era come gli sistemi qui in l'America del Nord. Un errore grande, io so...
    • The W3C advises [w3.org] against using "ecce hic" as link text.

      -Peter
  • C3PO anyone (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 2ainman (700247)
    Anybody else reminded of C3PO's narration of the characters' story thus far to the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi? It was probably his intention to mimic C3PO. This made me smile :)
  • Somewhere at the end he says (translated): "Harvard University is giving us The Force, one even stronger than the Death Star in New Haven." A clear swipe at Yale [wikipedia.org] :-)
  • Classical Latin is a dead language. Latin evolved, as languages do, into French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. Even the Teutonic dialect that became English absorbed an awful lot of Latin.

    It is proper to postulate that the Latin Language survives in the dialect of those of the English whose scholastic studies were at a superior or elevated level and whose aspirations were to achieve professional competence and status. Indeed Latin usage survives even among plumbers and electricians. Need I go o

  • So is there a screen there displaying what is being said, or do they just leave all the non latin speakers in the dust? Also, is latin required at Harvard?
    • There is no captioning provided, although copies of the translation are distributed the day before commencement. The student radio station broadcasts the English translation in real time. For most of the attendees it's a weird, archaic diversion.

      While there is a typical foreign language requirement, Latin is not required. Even the degree certificates are now in English.

  • by slickwillie (34689) on Sunday June 10, 2007 @01:39PM (#19459381)
    Shouldn't that be I:IX:XXX?
    • there was no constant rate time measurement and certainly not to the resolution of minutes. As I recall, hours were of variable length depending on the seasons, and would be measured by at best sundials and at worst things like water clocks or candles. The Romans really weren't that interested in accurate time measurement, since the applications for it did not exist. So (and better scholars will I am sure correct me) I guess the time would be "about the VIIth hour"
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Sunday June 10, 2007 @02:43PM (#19459753) Journal
    In Russia consiliae, Lingua Latina TE loquitur!
  • ...they encode their videos with Real.
  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
  • Let's not go to Harvard. It is a silly place.
  • What a stupid commencement on a big day. Mediocre pop culture incorporated into a scholarly event at THE top educational institution in the nation
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rkent (73434)
      That was all part of the joke - in the program distributed to family & guests, it didn't SAY "John Harvard, Jedi Knight," it said "Latin Salutatory: Iohannes Harvard, Eques Iediensis." And then all the student programs had an insert with the transcript and an English translation. So we (the graduates) got to read along and laugh at all the dumb jokes (he called Yale the death star, yuk yuk), thus appearing to understand Latin like the good little Hahvahd sophisticates we're presumed to be. It wasn't
  • ...Bill Gates finally got his bachelor's degree and also spoke at the commencement.

    But since he didn't talk about Star Wars, I guess it's not news?

    For all the issues many /.ers may have about the guy, he is a significant figure in the tech industry. His completion of a degree should be an inspiration to all of us dropouts like myself :)

    After all, if the richest computer nerd in the world got there without a degree, then maybe there's hope for me too.
  • I find it amusing that the ALT text for the Star Wars tag used here reads "Star Wars Prequels." e.
  • Two minutes into the video, and the subtitles are messed up. He didn't say "crowded bathrooms" he said "frequent trips to the bathroom".

    I hate it when the translators mess up the subtitles.
  • ...I wonder how you say "would you like fries with that?" in Latin?
  • If you really liked Charlie's great speech, you can download it now as an MP3 from the LATINUM podcast. http://latinum.mypodcast.com/ [mypodcast.com] If you've ever had an itch to learn to speak (yes, speak) Classical Latin, then the Latinum podcast might be just the ticket. Latinum has one of the largest online collections of Latin audio that is available to users at no cost. Latinum has grammar, audio textbooks, songs in Latin, Vergil, Catullus, Caesar et cetera...the usual culprits,(and some not so usual), all read

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