Make Trouble From the Inside

It’s time to get busy. It’s your turn to cause trouble – but this time in the real world, and this time from the inside (John Waters).

Wow! I just watched John Waters’ awesome commencement speech (via Open Culture).

(check out the transcript)

What great advice for kids! Here are few ideas that I found particularly compelling:

1. Maturity = honing your skills as a troublemaker, not stopping troublemaking

Today may be the end of your juvenile delinquency, but it should also be the first day of your new adult disobedience.

2. Resist/disobey through sneak attacks.

You need to prepare sneak attacks on society. Hairspray is the only really devious movie I ever made. The musical based on it is now being performed in practically every high school in America – and nobody seems to notice it’s a show with two men singing a love song to each other that also encourages white teen girls to date black guys. Pink Flamingos was preaching to the converted. But Hairspray is a Trojan horse: It snuck into Middle America and never got caught. You can do the same thing.

3. Success/fulfillment = avoiding assholes.

I have figured out how to never be around assholes at any time in my personal and professional life. That’s rich. And not being around assholes should be the goal of every graduate here today.

4. Create in ways that challenge, outrage, terrify and beautifully fuck up the world.

I love how he elaborates in this section:

  • Design clothes so hideous that they can’t be worn ironically.
  • Horrify us with new ideas.
  • Outrage outdated critics. Use technology for transgression, not lazy social living.
  • Make me nervous!