John Waters Commencement Speech


There’s a lot I could quote from this video, but it’s ALL worth watching/reading (and being John Waters, you bet your ass it’s delightfully NSFW). This is the most relevant – I feel – to what I partially hope to accomplish with Giraffe Party…

“And, parents, vice-versa: You don’t get to order up your kids, either. Maybe your daughter did tattoo her entire face. Well, work with that you got! Think positively: Maybe she’ll open a fancy tattoo parlour in Paris.

I’m touched to sometimes see distraught parents bringing their angry and defiant teenage children with them to see my spoken-word show in a last-ditch effort to bond. At least both sides are trying. The truce of maturity will come to families if every member is patient. I often look back in wonder at how understanding my parents were. Dr. Spock didn’t have a chapter in his child-rearing book on how to handle you son if all he wanted to do as a child was play Car Accident. Yet my mom took me to junkyards as a toddler and let me wander around fantasizing ghoulishly.

My dad even lent me the money to make Pink Flamingos, and I paid him back in full – with interest. But, looking back, did I really expect him to be thrilled that I had made one of the ‘most stupid, vile, repulsive films ever made,’ as Variety called it?

My parents made me feel safe, and that’s why I’m up here today. That’s what you should try to do to your children too – no matter where you get your children these days.”

You can read the full transcript here.