Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg traveled back to his Massachusetts roots and gave the commencement speech at Tufts University. Bloomberg, who grew up in Medford, name checked various haunts in the hood, tried to seem with it by mentioning Busta Rhymes, Ali G, and Salma Hayek, and reminded kids to call their mother. He also discussed free speech, in what the Sun called a nod to the Minutemen incident at Columbia:
The fourth lesson is, in the words of Ali G, 'Respect.' Don't worry, I'm not going to start quoting Borat. Respect is so important - especially in times of conflict. You all know what I'm talking about. In December, The Primary Source printed some things that much of this community ardently disagreed with - that many considered quite offensive. But instead of suppressing the publication - and despite the emotion of the moment - you respected their right to express themselves.
"You discussed the piece, you debated it, you picked it apart. It was a classic example of free speech versus free speech. And in that battle, everyone wins. This country - and other college campuses around the nation - need more of that. I often wonder if people who block each other from expressing their opinions do so because they have so little confidence in their own.
"To me, encountering an opposing view is a chance to gain a deeper understanding of the issues at stake and develop your own point of view. But first you've got to listen. In my generation, the one word of advice you gave to graduates was 'plastics.' Remember that, parents? But today, I think it should be 'respect.'
Bloomberg also brought up sports when mentioning 98-year-old Charlotte Bloomberg: "You should know [my mother] dislikes the Yankees almost as much as most of you. She's never forgiven them for stealing Babe Ruth away -- when she was 10 years old." The Boston Globe pointed out, though, that Mayor Mike didn't pledge allegiance to either NYC team.
You can read the speech here. The Mayor also mentioned his book, Bloomberg by Bloomberg, his life in public service, and how City Comptroller William Thompson got him involved in the commencement activities. Overall, it's less interesting than his speech last year at Johns Hopkins, where he emphasized how politics was becoming too involved with science.
Photograph of Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Tufts Trustees City Comptroller William Thompson, left, and Jonathan Tisch, right, by Chitose Suzuki/AP