The Tribune’s 2017 Commencement Address

[Note From the Editors: Each year it is our custom to publish a transcript of the Tribune of Medium’s commencement address, despite frequent requests by our readers not to do so. This year his honor, Tribune Gutbloom, spoke to the graduates of the Medium Academy for Military Science and Mineral Extraction. His remarks were as follow.]

“Commandant, Commandantess, Field Marshals, Roughnecks, CFO’s, Generals, and squids; allow me to begin my comments today by saying Dulce et decorum est pro blogosphere mori. I send you forth secure in the knowledge that our military curriculum has prepared you well for the challenges that lie ahead. You may have your doubts, but I assure you that your understanding of Caesar’s defense of the tactical donut at Alesia will help you administer the payroll of a pipeline project in North Korea if you remember that when a true leader’s work is done the people will say “we did it ourselves”.

My advice is to let people do things themselves. Then they are sure to say “we did it ourselves”. Just remind them every now and again that you are the leader, by saying things like “I’m the leader” and “remember, I’m the leader here.”

Things have changed since I was in your place. For one thing, there were no female cadets in my class. When we played “sharkbite” and other “games” of grabass there was no chance of a sexual harassment suit, or pregnancy. There was some chance of venereal disease, but back then one trip to sick call and a handful of goofy pills cleared everything up.

They sent me to DaNang in the summer of ’68 in an olive green pickle suit carrying an M-16 that didn’t have a forward assist. In my day we didn’t have all these “precision” weapons. We had to create collateral damage the old fashioned way… by burning huts, spreading defoliant, and unleashing artillery salvos of phosphorous. It was a simpler time than what you face. I remember clearly all the things I carried. I carried a toothbrush, two fuck books, four grams of opium, and a front row seat on puff the magic dragon…” [At this point one of the mayor’s aides approached the lectern and spoke to his honor for a prolonged period — Eds]

“I apologize. I’ve been asked to keep my remarks brief because many of you have a troop ship to catch. Let me close by saying that nobody every won at war by dying for his country. You win at war by selling things to the government.

I’ll leave you with my collected words of wisdom about war. As always, I pass on these remarks with the hope that someone might have a relative in publishing or the greeting card business. I think a “war quote” calendar might also work.

Since a quick internet search revealed that the title “The Art of War” is already taken, I provide these thoughts to you under the working title:

Gutbloom’s Guide to Warfare and Mineral Extraction

  • When you send a strike force of ships, or a carrier battle group, you should avoid the word “armada.” It’s a Spanish and Portuguese word, and if you know anything about Spanish and Portuguese armadas, you will avoid it.
  • Before you go once more into the breach you should send the pilotless drone.
  • The Pope doesn’t like it when you call bombs “mothers”, as in “Mother of All Bombs”, and neither do I. When it comes to dropping bombs, the word “Father” is more appropriate. We have developed the “Father of All Bombs.” It’s a stink bomb that we can’t use because it is considered chemical warfare. It will make everyone vomit and it will take the paint off the walls. We have to hope that Assad never gets hold of it.
  • If an officer asks you if you want to learn Pashtun, the answer should be “no”.
  • Don’t idle a tank to keep the air conditioning on.
  • Elephants have trouble in the Alps.
  • If a lot of civilians come out from the city to watch the battle, one side is going to lose big.
  • If it moves salute it, if it doesn’t paint it.
  • If the enemy is stretched out before you along a wooded ridgeline, a good idea is to repeatedly charge the center of that line.
  • The best way to find insurgents is to shoot the first guy who tells you that there are no insurgents in the village.
  • Make sure you point the side of the claymore that says ”point this side toward enemy” toward the enemy.

I hope this helps.

I guess I should say at this point that when I talked about my military experience earlier, I embellished my record a little bit. Like the part about ever actually serving in the armed forces. I wish there was a joke here, but there is nothing funny about lying about military service.

Soon you will be granted both your diplomas and commissions. It’s traditional that you throw your hats in the air. If anyone wants to throw the card that lets them into the PX into the air, I would appreciate that. I am low on cigarettes and Mountain Dew.

May the flying spaghetti monster bless you. May the Flying Spaghetti monster bless our fair blogosphere, and may you stay safe, and bored, and frustrated by being told what to do by people who are dumber than you, for if you are frustrated, it means you’re alive.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.