Theophanes is a New-England-based blogger, traveler, writer, photographer, sculptor, and lover of cats.
Introduction and Background
I wrote this speech when I was a freshman in high school, a full fourteen years of age. Normally my school assignments would be relegated to the abyss that engulfs all pointless writing, but this particular piece seems to have touched the minds and hearts of a great silent minority. I've posted it on different sites and because of the responses I've gotten I've decided to put it back up on the Internet, to encourage the intelligent youths I know may be reading.
As for the background. This speech was to be a five minute long oral presentation on whatever pet peeve I felt like discussing. It had to have three main points. Rather then fight the system I decided at this age that it's better to break the system from within. No corrections or touch ups have been made since I passed it in. Do enjoy.
Good evening dear audience. As you all know I am here to discuss one of the most irksome aspects of the society in which I live in. I have come to talk to this adoring audience about a light-hearted and sometime humorous topic of the typical teen-age stereo-type as the announcer has already told you.
Now I'd like to start out my little speech by telling you all that I am a people watcher. All my life from the time I was barely able to talk until now I have always preferred to watch the people around me rather then actually participating in any of their activities. It is because of this that I am so bold in pointing out all that bothers me about my teen-age peers.
One of the most prominent issues brought up by this people watching is the fact that teen-agers like for some reason to sound unintelligent and unsophisticated. Whatever they say does the opposite of command respect. For instance if I hear one more person use the catch phrase "whazzup" or use the word "like" 30 times in one sentence I just may be tempted to do or say something terribly rash.
I admit I was never the typical teen or the typical girl for that matter. And there are a few reasons for this but mainly I just see the life of a teen-age girl pointless, utterly exhausting and quite frankly lame. Back to the topic of how teen-agers talk though there is one thing you'll never find me doing and that is talking on the phone for 2 or 4 hours to one of my friends explaining some useless teen-age drivel and frivolous banter. I have no idea how girls can get on the phone and yap away for hours on end to some one they've already spent the entire day with. Perhaps it's just me.
One thing that's even more bothersome then the phone talk however is the lack of any intelligent vocabulary. I find myself constantly dumbing down my speech and explaining vocabulary they should already know like "banter", "haughty", "enthralled", "caviar", "albeit", and "lewd." It's quite sad to think that these, my friends, are the smarter of the general masses. It's quite pathetic indeed.
However you have to hand it to them, whatever teen-age girls lack in vocabulary they make up by adding drama to everything. I don't know about any one else but I'm quite sick of the drama queen acts myself. You all know the girl that just exclaims "oh but Johnny doesn't love me! I could just die!" or "Today was the absolute worst day of my life. I'm never going back for as long as I live!" Personally I am quite annoyed by the over use of exclamations and the absurd over exaggerations.
However it's no small wonder why they talk the way they do. I blame the media, their music and their literature of which I'll be only talking about the latter since the media would take another half an hour to critique.
All the girls I know of listen to pop music. This wouldn't be so bad if they actually all enjoyed it and there was actually something worthwhile to listen to but it's not. Pop music is the death of anything good in the music industry. The bands don't even write their own music or play their own instruments. Worse still they don't even sound good. I think they sound like either a dying goat or a cat caught in the fan belt of a car. The only reason these girls listen to such fluff is that they are supposedly cute. Now I'm not a genius or anything nor do I claim to be but when I listen to music it's my ears doing the listening not my eyes. So where does this whole cute factor fit in anyway?
I'm also ostracized by my own peers and called abnormal for my own individualistic view on life. Just because I'd rather watch some old band on the Ed Sullivan Show that actually writes their own music and plays their own instruments and not the queen of pop Miss Britney Spears flaunt her bare skin and lip sinc on MTV does not mean I'm abnormal. On the contrary I think it leads one to believe I'm just smarter then the masses. And don't get me wrong, this isn't some slanderous anti-social statement, it's just my blunt black and white view of my own peers.
Popular reading materials aren't much better then the music industry. Their woeful lack of vocabulary and absolutely pathetic plotlines make even the best of these only worth fire starters. I tried reading some of these books once. I got through 3 pages before I got so irked at the complete and absolute simplicity that I threw it across the room in frustration. I think I would have learned more from reading "See Spot Run" than from those books. Quite simply put I am aggravated with the dull meaningless platitudes, not to mention the four for a dollar romances that fill the shelves. I have always been a true believer that quantity is NOT quality. I like conviction in my reading materials, even if I don't agree with that is being stated I admire the writer for having the guts to say it.
However the total lack of meaning in a teen-agers life is what bothers me above all else. For most teen-agers it is their only goal in life to fit in. I myself rather like not fitting in, because to fit in means to conform. Let me demonstrate my point.
All of the "typical teen-agers" I know have a whole set of unwritten rules and ethics that rule their piddley little lives. One of them is to never say anything that may even be remotely offensive to anyone in your presence with the exception of profuse profanity, which in my personal opinion makes you look like you should be on the Jerry Springer Show. Now, courtesy can be a good thing but not when it rules your life. There are certain situations in which it is most appropriate to stand for what you believe in, state what you really feel and not worry about what others think of such a bold move. I myself do this every day and perhaps this is why I have so few friends, because no one can put up with me. I'm all the happier for it though because the few friends I do have know who I am and not who they think I am.
I am also a bit of a loner. I don't conform to any clique. To me teen-agers cluster together in groups and try to fit themselves into a perfect mold. It is however like jamming a square nail in a round slot. I would never stoop so low as to alter all my opinions, what music reading and hobbies I enjoy just to fit in. I think it's horrible myself that anyone would do this.
My peers shudder at my words. They see individuality, at least in the sense I see it as a threat to the way they live. Just merely telling them about individuality is most akin to teaching the dog quantum physics. They care way too much of what people think about them to be themselves and that's why they are always paranoid and overly concerned about everything. For instance what cuts me from the herd is I don't care diddley-squat if Johnny loves me or the most popular girl in town approves of me. On the contrary I find myself very approving of the fact the populars shun me. To me this means I am doing my job, and doing it well.
An End Note
I got a 99% on this project with a point taken off, not for grammatical error, but for "lacking enthusiasm." I didn't change my normal speech patterns (absolute monotone) to deliver this speech, and I wouldn't today either.
If you are one of those precious few intellectual teenagers please don't ever let the system crush your spirit or tell you who you need to be. When you can't break the rules just find ways to bend them. Eventually it'll have the same effect - collapse of the system. Be who you are to be, and never let anyone stand in your way to being an individual.
A Note to my Readers
I had no idea so many people had commented on this article so I'd like to take the time to thank all of you and say that I am absolutely delighted to see this speech has caused such a diverse set of reactions! I also would like to respond and answer a few questions. For all you who loved my speech and who would like to use it in a presentation I will give you express permission (so long as you give proper credits, no plagiarizing please.) If you need my full name for this send me an e-mail. I don't like having it posted publicly online. Also thank you, I know most of you are younger, and I would like to say once you get older finding people who suit your own intellectual needs will become much easier. There will still be a world full of sheep but at least you'll be able to raise above the heard to find the black ones. ;) And finally someone asked if you could be bad at certain things (like spelling) and still be intelligent. Of course! When I wrote this speech I could scarcely spell anything and due to my dyscalculia I couldn't even do the most basic of math. That didn't mean I couldn't hold my own in a debate about world news, politics, psychology, science, religion, or whatever else! We're all different, celebrate what you're good at and be thankful for it.
Now for all you who had criticisms... Yes, I fully admit as a 14 year old I was quite hostile towards my dumb peers. Maybe I was angry they kept slamming me into lockers and teasing the shit out of me for having a personality. Maybe it just pissed me off the teachers always gave me a hard time while passing them up a grade because they didn't want to see them back next year. I don't recall anymore but I can tell you what I've evolved into today. I must say that people who seem to be *purposely* stupid still annoy me like no one's business. I have grown social skills that help me be cordial and friendly to everyone I meet, however I fully admit I am not going to go out of my way to befriend anyone on my own unless I feel I can have a decent conversation or debate with them. I don't really see the point of keeping someone around otherwise. Is that elitist? I don't really think so, I think it's more catering towards finding a compatible personality. All humans do that. They bond over hobbies, sports, jobs, music, support groups, whatever. My common element just happens to be verbosity. So be it. And if you still hate me for this that's fine too. I learned a long time ago I couldn't (and didn't want to) please everyone anyway.
Thanks for reading everyone, I'm off for now, but feel free to keep adding comments. I'll check in every now and then.
More from this Author:
Catching Marbles - A New England based travel blog
Tales from the Birdello - For all homesteading and farming matters
Deranged Thoughts from a Cluttered Mind - For funny personal anecdotes
anle on July 28, 2020:
it is my last year in middle school.and i relate to this so much
Gerry Kramer from New Jersey on January 31, 2019:
I'm a freshman in high school myself and based on what I've read in this speech, I can tell you that I feel the exact same way. You did an extremely well job writing this speech and as a pop-culture hater myself, I cannot agree more to everything that you said. I agree with you that we should all feel free to do and like whatever we want without having peer influence. I do it, and my life can never be better. This speech should be published in newspapers and magazine.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on November 05, 2017:
Ah Person, that is the joy of being a teenager! You are entitled to being pretentious and harsh, especially while pointing out these traits in others! (Thank you for the chuckle by the way, your enthusiasm is wonderful.)
Not to fear time usually softens these rough edges. I am a far more amiable personality now but I don't see any reason why I should deny these little growing pains. We are who we are to become who we become and there's nothing wrong in that. Embrace your opinions and your passions.
Thank you for stopping by to comment. I'm quite flattered anyone is reading this much less a whole class. It's an old piece. I'm probably old enough to be your mother by now. SIGH.
Person on October 29, 2017:
The whole grade had to do a test around your speech. We though you were quite harsh and pretentious in your tone.
Pooja K on February 22, 2017:
I'm a junior at Hoover High School in Alabama
I was wondering if it would be ok if I can use this speech for my public speaking class and if you had a audio of this speech?
McKenna Meyers on May 25, 2015:
So much fun to read! It makes me think of my 2 teenage boys. As their brains develop and become more streamlined, they have quite a bit of difficulty articulating their thoughts. They start a sentence, become frustrated, and abandon it midway. Believe me, they're highly intelligent kids , but the teenage brain is tricky!
P.S. I hope others won't copy your speech but find their own unique voice like you found yours.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on January 11, 2015:
You are always welcome to talk to me, though I am an old fart now so you should be warned. ;) purplecow @ inbox . com Glad you enjoyed this speech. It's always nice to see there are others out there like you. See you around, thanks for commenting!
anonymous. on January 08, 2015:
This is amazing.classic piece of work. I felt like you Gave words to my thoughts I was soo into that thing!
Great work. I'll be more than happy to talk to you :)
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on January 07, 2015:
Thank you Aisha. Sometimes the blunt truth is what it takes. ;)
Aisha on January 06, 2015:
This was the blunt truth. I loved the style :)
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on September 10, 2014:
I am glad to hear you don't suffer from the social isolation that many kids who agree with this speech do. I confess I was far from popular - making friends was something that only came to me after getting out of "the system" as you call it. Your parents should be proud you are being true to yourself. There needs to be more of you out there with such courage (and there are! Just waiting.)
Best wishes to you and thank you for commenting.
Daniel on September 10, 2014:
Love your speech, it shows me a whole new perspective. Being a freshman 14 year old I understand exactly where you were coming from. I've always been able to make and keep friends very easily and I've always been very good at sports, whether it was soccer, track, fencing or football. Similar to you though, I've never let myself fall into a group. I will never and have never changed anything about me so that I could fit into a social group. All my friends being obsessed with the "system" I've always felt like I was the only one that didn't care. Your writin gives me hope, haha.
charity on July 07, 2014:
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on July 03, 2014:
Thank you Sunitha.
sunitha on July 01, 2014:
Such a wonderful speech. Well done!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on June 03, 2014:
How wonderful. Thanks for sharing. :)
HennaTjie on June 01, 2014:
urmmm... its like a whole lot of personal experiences all put together... with examples from some of my fellow classmates etc...
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 29, 2014:
Oh, that's wonderful. Care to share what story you chose? :)
hennaTjie on May 29, 2014:
OMG!!! THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUUCCCHHH!!!! :D
and about the case study..... its all good... I've got one...
(but since I kinda confused you... a case study as in a story that can relate to the speech :)...)
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :):) :) :)
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 27, 2014:
A case study? Uh, well, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that. Would love to help, and I certainly don't mind if you use my speech (as you've politely asked) I just am a bit confused as to the second part! :)
hennTjie on May 24, 2014:
hello!!! this is the best speech ever!!!!
I really want to use it for my assignment.... but I need to add a case study to it.... any suggestions???
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on January 17, 2014:
It'll get there either way. :) (And I see it has!)
Olivia on January 15, 2014:
Thank you so much (: I just have one more question. Are the letters capital? Haha
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on January 15, 2014:
Oh Rats Rattery @ Hotmail . com (delete all the spaces - don't want the spam bots finding me.) :)
Olivia on January 15, 2014:
I have been trying to find your email so I can use your speech. So I was wondering if you could give me your email. I really would like to do this speech. It is honestly my favorite speech I have ever read. So if you could just respond to my comment on this that would be great (: thank you!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on December 28, 2013:
Damon - I hope you come back to read this reply, although I apologize if it somewhat scrambled. My computer us down and I am typing on my phone. Anyway... your points are valid. I wrote this in the late 90's and I do feel as if we, as a society, are marching forward in a movement to dumb down society further. Our schools are abysmal, our media is a narcissistic joke, and our society at large is suspicious and jealous of people with intelligence and expertise while praising the idiotic things stupid people do (think "reality tv", celebrity gossip, Jackass...)
There is a silver lining. If you are lucky enough to find kindred spirits then you realize just how worth it life is. I know... after writing this I was flung into a health crisis and got to feel the burning sting of intense isolation. It turned my life-long cynicism into an art form. My savior, like yours, was the only romantic interest I ever bothered with. He keeps me on my feet, optimistic, and engages my mind. It is wonderful. I think having other intellectuals in your life is vital if you don't want to go stark raving mad. Besides this a meeting of minds can create great things in art, science, and society.
You are right though - I too do worry about the declining ability to genuinely connect with another human being. Today we are all too busy staring at our cell phones to verbally talk to who is in front of us. It is a problem... as is access to so much information - it is far too easy to google something than actually learn it.
You sound like you were a gifted child. Isolation, frustration, unwanted social obstacles, come as part and parcel to the territory. I wish you and those in your life the best. So sorry to hear about your friend... there's a fine line between brilliance and madness and sometimes I think we are all dancing on a knife's edge.
Thank you for commenting.
Damon on December 27, 2013:
I completely agree with you. Our society has become increasingly degraded by ever improving technology and the reach of social media, particularly "Reality Shows". Example, teacher asks an 8th grader to write "be right back" on the chalkboard, and said 8th grader proceeds to write "brb". My god I about died when I heard that story, and I don't say frivolous things like that, but I can't describe the feeling I had any other way. But beyond that, it's reached into adulthood in a profound way. More and more I am coming across those who are barely able to spell, let alone carry on a meaningful conversation beyond what's happened in the past 3 days.
Don't get me wrong, my own wife has a learning disability and is constantly asking me how to spell even the simplest of words, such as "word", yet she can read on a "college level" according to those ridiculous tests universities put you through. Here's the difference between her and these other so called "educated people": She isn't afraid to admit her faults, and won't hesitate to ask for help when she's stumped. Most people won't admit when they're wrong, and will do almost anything to hide their own inadequacies, which is beyond stupid. Also, she has some common sense, you know, that thing where you can put two and two together without googling it. It's something I have found to be lacking in just about everyone I meet.
Back to my point. I have very few friends today. When I was in high school, almost everyone was my "friend". Why? Because I preferred to listen to them rather than speak, learning all I could use against them if they tried to stab me in the back, as had been done before in elementary and middle school. I really didn't care for them, and usually found amusement in their idiocies. I'd been bullied relentlessly all the way from Pre-School to Junior High. No, I wasn't just called "four eyes", I was generally picked on, abused, beaten up and had my lunch money stolen, and I do mean forcefully taken, numerous times. Every year there was a new bully, sometimes up to 5, and every year, I had to beat the hell out of him/them individually to get them to stop. This was before they put the zero tolerance policies in place, which aren't worth jack anyways. I was always the one to get in trouble though, getting detentions and suspensions. Of course the kid who bullied me never got in trouble, despite the fact many times I'd had my parents go to the teachers and/or the principle to get it to stop, to no avail. The last Principle I had before we moved actually had the audacity to ask my mother why she would condone me beating another kid half to death, and she said and I quote, "Well you sure as hell weren't going to do anything about it, you fucking asshole!", with me standing right there of course, and I'll never forget it. Needless to say, but I will anyways, my parents felt forced to move to a small town in order to get away from society at large.
When I read Ender's Game for the first time my Senior year, the first book I'd every actually read the entire way through (books used to bore me immensely, I couldn't sit still long enough to enjoy them), it had me completely enthralled, and I read it over and over again, because I identified with him in a way I can't fully explain, but I'll try. I'd never felt like a kid, I'd never felt like a teenager, as a 7 year old I was out-arguing my teachers and proving I could do Algebra without ever being taught, something that astonished them. I'd become ruthless and jaded at a very young age, I looked for weaknesses, found them, exploited them, and damn near killed the last bully I ever confronted, because I'd resolved that they would never stop until they were permanently put down, years before I'd ever laid eyes on that book. I still practice learning all I can about people in order to use it against them if the situation calls for it, and I've on occasion had to use that information.
People are my "friend" because I'm a nice person who wouldn't hurt a fly, little do they know that I'm actually very cold and calculating, a direct result of our society's failings, and think very little of them and their mindless dribble. Me and my wife often laugh about the things they talk about after the fact, because it's completely nonsense/hypocrisy at it's finest. Sometimes though, it infuriates us just how ignorant people can be. I'm truly glad to have found her, as otherwise I'd be as bad off as my REAL friends, before meeting her, I'd decided to be a recluse, choosing to go to work and go home, nothing more. It was by sheer dumb luck that 9 months after having chosen that path, that my currently "incommunicado" friend pleaded and somehow convinced me to go out for a drink on St. Patrick's Day. She happened to be his friend from school, we met, hooked up, and it's been happily ever after thus far.
I can count how many actual REAL friends I have on one hand, one is my wife, the other who introduced us is currently incommunicado as a result of the fact he is unable to cope with our society as it is (crazy, and I do mean he's lost his mind because of the things he's been forced to endure, which he and I both attribute to society's flaws), and the other lives fairly secluded from society because he's tired of all the bullshit, and we realistically know neither one of us is in a position to visit the other for social calls ...
Wow, I've gone off on a rant, haven't I? My point is, the human race is inherently dumb, and it's only through sheer luck and occasional genius that we've been able to get where we are today. Unfortunately though, with ever increasing technology allowing us to become duller and more automated, geniuses won't be allowed to flourish as they once did, and our society and entire way of living will begin to falter because of it.
It's already happening, just go outside and look around, and you'll see it in your neighbors. 50 years ago people actually associated with one another on a personal basis, were generally more courteous, respectful, and actually looked out for each other instead of just #1. Nowadays, you don't know if you've got a swing coming at you at any minute. That is the direct result of ignorance plaguing society. The more ignorance there is, the more morals and decency go out the window.
I have taken many different drugs, both prescribed and illegal, to try and dumb myself down, as I can't seem to turn off my ever thinking processes, none of it has worked. It incapacitated me for a time, as a result of a traumatic even that occurred that I prefer not to share here. It's taken me much longer than that incapacity to get to a bearable state of mind. You wouldn't believe how much you can over-analyze things, down to the twitch of an eye or the quirk of the mouth, the tone and length a word is spoken, breathing patterns, posture, and mannerisms. It's truly horrific the power the mind has.
Intelligence, as I would define it, is the ability to cope with your surroundings and make the best of what you have available to you. "Being Smart" or "Being able to out-think others" does absolutely nothing for you if you can't turn a blind eye to the incongruities around you. If you can't enjoy life to some extent, there is no point in "being smart".
I apologize for my lengthy run-on sentences, but I was kind of just going with the flow of my mind for a change. I'm sure I'll never see this post again, so I bid you a very fond farewell. Thank you for the good read and the ability to share my view on the matter.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on November 14, 2013:
Awe thank you Zohey. I think someday you will find more speeches that strike a cord, until then have fun and keep on being who you are. :) (And personally I think slang went to far when people started using numbers in the middle of words. No thank you!)
zohey on November 14, 2013:
this is the first relevant speech i have ever heard or read, i'm glad others hate slang the way i do :)
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on November 10, 2013:
Thank you Post. It is a problem that starts young - our society could do well with a good deal of self-reflection. I am sorry your post seems to have gotten cut off. I would have loved to hear what else you had to say. :)
Post on November 10, 2013:
I like this article a lot. I think it's just the way that our society is made of social rankings and such that we cannot ever be free from the norm. Actually I
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on October 15, 2013:
I am sorry to hear someone would copy and paste this while giving credit to themselves. Unfortunately this is the risk we take when we publish things online. Plagiarism will remain a crime of the lazy. She'll realize someday that life isn't as easy as copying and pasting! It will be a shock when she has to stand on her own two feet. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.
dontjudgeme on October 14, 2013:
ha a girl at my school copyed and pasted this and got an exellance
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on October 01, 2013:
Wow, thank you ValisaMT. I'd b honored if your student would like to use my speech, you certainly have my permission but if you need more just e-mail me (email@example.com). I'd be happy to get back to you.
ValisaMT on September 30, 2013:
I find your observations to be quite relevant even today. I am a speech coach and would like one of my students to use your speech for a competitive speaking event at the high school level. I was unable to find you in the directory. How would I contact you for permission rights, authorship, etc? The event requires the student to provide his own research on the topic and analysis of the purpose of the speech in addition to actual content of the speech. It may not be given in its entirety due to time constraints. Thank you!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on September 26, 2013:
I am always amazed how differently people take this speech and how completely skewed it can get. Nowhere in it did I ever pick on anyone with learning disabilities, mental illnesses, or anything of the like. Even when I was 14 I appreciated the fact the world is full of unique and beautiful individuals, not to mention I suffered badly from undiagnosed dyscalculia, the math form of dyslexia, and still to this day flounder when it comes to numbers! No one is good at everything and this speech has nothing to do with any of that.
This speech was about teenagers who I knew where smart when they tried but who chose to act stupid in order to fit in with their peers. If anything I have noticed this problem has gotten worse since I have grown up and it's not even really the teenagers' fault (at least not entirely.) They have to be acting on something - we as a society must be encouraging them to be sheep rather than encouraging them to be unique individuals capable of critical thinking and having a personality of their own. It's a depressing, maddening thought and a crying shame. Intelligence and individuality do not come from school or getting A's in your classes - it's something innate to all of us when we apply ourselves (be it to academia or anything else!) This should be what is celebrated and held up as a standard to achieve. As always, follow your passions, don't ever give up the fire in your eye that made you post your comment. I love hearing from all of you.
Shelby on September 26, 2013:
Why do you think so wrongly about teenagers, i am 15, and i don't know what some of those words mean but it doesn't mean that i am stupid, like there are kids who have disabilities who can't learn but are actually smart, like a have ADHD but i am passing all of my classes, my brother has autism, ADHD and a few other disabilments but it doesn't mean that he isn't smart he is also passing his class. Also i have some REALLY smart friends and they are smarter then you think and are explaining in your speech. And you wrote this in your freshmen year? But don't get me wrong it is a good speech but teenagers are smarter then you are explaining in your article you just have to give them a chance especially because most teenagers aren't even out of school yet. Plus everyone has there troubled subject and they have a subject they are REALLY strong in.
issa on July 23, 2013:
Nice speech! It's good that you are true to yourself, not thinking of what others thinking of you. :)
Sanxuary on July 15, 2013:
I hate graduation speeches and would love to hear a real one someday. You know most of you will struggle to find work, will go in debt at college and never use your degree. If your not knocked up or knocked someone up you will be very poor and will likely battle some kind of abuse. Years from now you will learn that there is no ladder or system to succeed and will discover money is only a carrot that forever leads you to new debts. Years from now if you do not kill yourself, I will see your working for the man, taken advantage of, probably obese and in poor health butt at the next re-union. Until then lets just keep telling ourselves lies.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 02, 2013:
Of course there is something to be said for the will of the individual but I am afraid when this dumbed down media becomes too pervasive sometimes teenagers forget there is another option, or are just unaware of such a possibility. These years are so often used for fitting in and finding a social place within society that few have the gumption to challenge the status quo and risk total social isolation.
Anxiety happens to a lot of us... particularly the more intellectual among us who spend too much time thinking and worrying. I am all too guilty of this - even now - but I suppose it is a part of life just like anything else!
Have a lovely day - and don't fret too much! You're young, you've got the whole world in your hands. :)
KweenMokoena on May 01, 2013:
Thank you TOO much Theophanes. And I saw the comment from the teacher in Zimbabwe. And even if the American media was what influences the teens of today, I feel like you personally decide whether you want it to or not. I mean if you, most of the people that commented here and I don't let it disrupt who we are, then why can't the next person do the same thing? 'Cause I think as much as media influences you, a person can't forget who they are by that. So I can't defend them by saying they don't realise what's happening...as much as I want to.
Stuff like these that make me suffer from chronic anxiety! lol. Thanks again for your honesty...;)
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 01, 2013:
Well KweenMokoena, I can't tell you if this is the norm worldwide or just the gross influence of America. I had a Zimbabwean English teacher comment here somewhere who seemed to think it was American media dumbing down teenagers in her school and I am truly sorry if it is. I hope this is not the case because I know, like you, our culture doesn't appear to have always been this way... It's been a gradual decline over the past 50 or so years but prior to that if you were educated you wanted to sound it and if you were poor you were too busy working on the farm or in the factory to spend your time being shallow and trivial. There's a real concern that over the generations people are getting dumber and then who is going to keep everything running?! Terrifying thought.
I wish you the best and thank you for commenting. I hope you're right - that half your peers have the sense to understand this view point. If that's true there's till hope!
KweenMokoena on May 01, 2013:
I like the speech. Well...most of it. I'm seventeen years old this year and understand exactly what you meant when you were at that age. I'm annoyed by the smallest actions of SOME of my fellow mates. Reason for the "Some" is because, weirdly, here in South Africa, most of us aren't like that. In fact, I'm sure half of us would definitely agree with you! I'm not blowing my own country's horn here though, lol. But I do feel like we're coming to that stage hey. and I hate that I'm going to be an adult then and won't be able to have personal contact with teenagers that I can influence to look at life differently; beyond material. *sigh*...it's fine...I'm sure someone will! lol. What I am doing to those who are like teenage typicals is ignore them. Cause I know they'll grow eventually and will be better people...most of them! Anyway! Very relateable speech that's well written Theophane:) Very! Thanks for sharing!
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 29, 2013:
Kat2. I am far past my teens now - having written this many years ago and you are right, it is easy to feel scorned, isolated, and pushed aside during those fragile years. But that being said being gifted is indeed a gift.... yes, it makes our adolescent years exceedingly difficult and can make us prone to depression later in life when we realize that so much of the world is in pain and trouble but with that being said it is up to us to see and try to change the little things we can - the things we have the intelligence to see and solve, the things that others just walk by. That is a gift because for every bit of pain there is in the world there is also the potential for joy and when that is found it is truly deeply satisfying.
We're not "warts" - people are valuable, life is essentially good and does get better if you know how to go about it.
Kat on April 26, 2013:
This reminds me of myself when I was a teenager.
The way I see it, "normal" teens (and teens who pass for whatever "normal" is) are all warts.
Those of us who stand out for some reason (like neurodivergence, sexual orientation, disability, personality type...) are also warts. But we don't get treated like other teens. We're expected to be social outcasts, miniature adults, aliens, robots. Getting all the prejudice and dismissal all teens get, while getting no acknowledgement of any special needs.
People think being smart (or even clinically gifted) is some inherently good thing. It isn't! It can be used for good. But at its core, high IQ is just another form of idiocy. It's just on the other end of that Bell curve.
"Smart" kids have a hard time. They're harassed by other kids, excluded by schools, denied accommodation, ignored by their teachers, assumed to be more independent and mature than they really are, exploited. And god forbid the smart kid also has a learning disability or other handicap, because then they're screwed.
For those kids, arrogance is a form of compensation. I was an arrogant wart as a teenager. I like to think I've outgrown it. When everyone takes your accomplishments for granted and dismisses your problems, when you're completely socially isolated, then looking down on people becomes an attractive emotional option. "I'm not a freak, there's something wrong with THEM!1!"
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 12, 2013:
No problem siddarth. There are actually a lot of people like you, you just have to find them. :)
Best wishes on your journey. Remember life gets better after high school! It'll be easier to find like minds then. And then the world is yours.
siddarth on April 12, 2013:
i finnally found someone like me!!!!! I feel better knowing that there are more than one of weird people like me on th planet...thanx man
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on March 28, 2013:
When I wrote this, many years ago, I didn't believe other intellectual teenagers existed either but they do. The challenge is finding them. Sadly, for me and many others, I didn't find many like minds until I was out of my teens but that's OK too. Never give up hope. :)
Del on March 27, 2013:
Hi girl. You did a really well work. I never knew there is a fourteen years old girl that has an extremely smart brain. I am sixteen and my speech wouldn't be as wonderful as yours. Good keep it up! You have all your points and you have elaborated them smartly.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on March 11, 2013:
Awe, thank you gabymaldonado. It means a lot that this speech is still being used to open eyes and ears. I hope it treated you well and you got a good grade for its reading. Thank you so much for commenting. I love to hear from you all.
gabymaldonado on March 11, 2013:
This speech is very "spot on". Exactly what this speech talk about is true. I had an assignment for my Literature class. Everyone had to find a speech and recite it in class. At first I was just going to write my own speech but my teacher told me no. As i recite this speech my teacher's face dropped. She never thought that I would be the one to use a modern day speech. This speech was the perfect one for my class. My peers were speechless after I was finished. Which never happens.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on November 15, 2012:
Not really, Brook, not really. Some people have such thick skulls they will never understand how conflicting they are to themselves. It happens. It's best to just shrug your shoulders and accept they are who they are and they're never going to be anything else.
brook on November 15, 2012:
Nice speech. I can understand your sentiments. Being intelligent and sensitive can be quite lonely, especially in the teen years. I have a niece who is, seemingly, a selfish, air-headed, hypocrite. I now am wondering whether she has the brains to even see her hypocrisy, and whether the term hypocrite can even, justifiably, be applied to someone so dense. It brings up some interesting issues.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on November 14, 2012:
Hey there Alejandro! I get comments in response to my writing all the time but I wasn't quite expecting this! I am happy you enjoyed my speech and I think your observations are correct. Childhood seems to be shortening and this awkward teenage stage seems to be settling in at younger and younger ages. There's lots of reasons for this but that doesn't really matter. I can understand the isolation of being "gifted" and going through the American school system. Its rarely a pleasant experience. I am happy you at least have adults to carry on discussions and maybe debates with. I didn't even have that much. I lived in a very small town and am hoping you might be closer to civilization where your options will be broader and you can come into contact with a more diverse audience of people.
In my day my solace was found in something called Odyssey of the Mind. I believe it is somewhat different now and is operating under the name Imagination Destination, or something like that. It was a club for creative minds who were given two tasks, one long term and one short term. The short term task was called Spontaneous. You would be given a question with which you and your teammates had to brainstorm on the spot. Sometimes it was something like, "name as many bugs as you can" (ladybug would be worth one point being common, a horse and buggy would be given two points for being clever.) Sometimes spontaneous could be, "Name as many uses for this object as you can." or "How many things can you build with these materials?" The team would have five minutes. The long term goal was to create an eight minute play that solved some real world problem the team was given while also adding things that were in the rules - perhaps a prop you had to build with moving parts, or working in an original song, etc. It was a nice mental challenge and a wonderful way to socialize with other problem solvers and creative souls.
These days, if you are lucky enough to have a participating school, there are a lot more options. There's the debate club, the forensics club, the Latin club, the chess club, the art club, the theatrical club, and I hear there are even clubs for building robots. Sometimes you can even find things to do outside of school like obtaining a penpal that has the same interests as you or is learning English (or if you're learning their language.) There are also book clubs and discussion groups, many of which would probably welcome some young blood. And of course the internet makes finding these things so easy these days.
Good luck in your search and remember, the people who say high school was the best time of their life are the same ones who lead dreadfully boring and insipid adult lives. Life gets much better out of high school when the world opens up all its possibilities to you. I know this because I'm in my late twenties now and have intensely few positive memories of high school but I am very happy now exploring everything I can when I can. Never give up your dreams. There are lots of others out there like you - you just have to find them.
Alejandro Rocha on November 13, 2012:
Hey Theophanes, I'm a twelve year old philosopher/intellectual, and I just want to say, GREAT SPEECH! While it could be easily be seen as egocentric or offensive, that would most likely be from the point of view of people who don't really understand what you're talking about. Not to generalize these people, but that would generally arise out of a lack of distinction between stereotypical intelligence and arrogance and having a profound understanding of intelligence and society. For most people, the line is blurred.
Anyways, I just want to really make a point of what has really changed in the last thirteen years, especially with the Internet putting jocks and jerks out of fashion, but increasing the cliché aspect in teenagers. I think this has been mentioned before, but teenagers really are forming younger, I'm in eight grade now, but in sixth grade I was already seeing stuck up gossip girls running around.
I really enjoyed your speech, it must have given you hell from a social standpoint. It summarizes everything I feel about society and the stereotype aspect of teenagers pretty much perfectly. Even though I have really developed a "screw society" kind of mindset in the last two years, I still feel pretty lonely when I know no one to have a philosophical or even political discussion with besides adults. I'm still in eight grade, which would be the last year of middle school in Florida, but I wanted to ask if you could generally find more intellectual people in high school, take a philosophy club or the like?
Thanks (loved the speech) Theophanes,
Sincerely, Alejandro Rocha A.K.A. "The TeenPhilosopher"
,df on June 27, 2012:
divya on June 01, 2012:
thnx 4 giving such a gud speech it has helped me a lot in taking points for my teenage life speech thnx a lot again:)
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 15, 2012:
Jaime, I wrote this piece in my youth. I am now in my mid-twenties and sometimes I find it difficult to respond as I would have then. In any event I was the cliched gifted teenager sitting in a dark corner depressed and angry at the world. That was not my default emotion, it only became so when my social 'betters' teases me, tormented me, abandoned me, and used me. Did I feel like my intelligence made me better than them? Obviously. Did I look down at them? Yes and no. If I did I am sure it's in large part because of my negative experiences with them. Funny thing is I was always a happy, energetic, severely empathetic person but this almost always ends up with people taking advantage of my generosity, or willingness to help, or intelligence, or whatever else I happen to have that they need. I'm older now, and although I no longer have an us-vs-them mentality I still don't believe in rescuing people from themselves... all that does is stress me out and piss them off. People in the mainstream wish to stay there and that's fine too. So long as they don't question or revoke any of my rights I will not antagonize them. If they do try that then I will push back with all my might.
Jaime on May 15, 2012:
I agree with a lot of the stuff that is in here, but you might want to think about all those "dumb" kids you were addressing. It's awesome to speak your own mind and be an individualist, but for a lot of the speech I did feel as if you were looking down on others. Okay, yes, your way is definitely better! But, then, it isn't you who needs to be helped out-- you're good-- it is the people who have been sucked into conformity! And it's always important to make sure you're extending some kind of welcome to THEM, you know? Then a change might be made. Sorry if none of that made sense.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on May 02, 2012:
You are welcome to use my piece and make those small edits. I sent you my name via e-mail.
Brody on May 02, 2012:
I am looking in to doing this speech for a forensics contest piece. Would you approve of this? Could I use "A Teenage Hypocrite's Speech on Teens" as a title for it? And what is your real name so I can include it in my intro and give credit to you for writing this masterpiece. Also, as I am a 14 year old male, would you be offended or 'pissed' if I made it LESS gender specific? Could I change some of the 'girl's to 'boy's or simply making it say 'teens'?
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 24, 2012:
Don't be depressed Sarah. Right now you look around and see nothing but a sea of idiots, I know, I've been there, but as you get older you will find others like yourself. They'll eventually be your sanity because age doesn't always make people more wise - in fact it usually only makes people like you more wise. Sad but true but stick in there! There are happier roads to go down in your life. :)
Sarah on April 24, 2012:
Finally, someone like me!
Honestly, I had no idea people feel the same way I do. I am constantly teased for being too 'posh' and using words that are too 'long'. You see, where I come from, being a teenager and using words longer than 'because' is practically illegal.
It's quite sad to think that we live in a time where teenagers are completely controlled by the media and what they see on television. I am a 16 year old girl, and I'm expected to be obsessed with boybands, hair, music, make up, like my friends and fellow classmates. Quite depressing, really,
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 16, 2012:
Celestine: Yes, "teenagers" are getting younger, mostly due to the fact the media and advertising companies are targeting them as potential buyers of their products. This has been done for cereal and toys for many decades but it's only very recently that they're extending their reach to clothing, electronics, food, etc. It's a sleazy practice trying to obtain "lifelong customers." They've even gone so far as to market directly to babies. Notice how the Pampers commercials are made in pastel cartoons? This isn't a coincidence. Unfortunately children and teens are especially vulnerable to this.
Kyla: Thank you for reading my speech! I am happy it's helping you, and good luck with learning English. It's a difficult language but as you said, it can be very pretty. :)
kyla on April 15, 2012:
Hello. First of all, I'd like to introduce myself. I'm kyla, 17y/o this year in currently stay at Malaysia. Well, do you know that I keep practising your speech evryday because your typed a beautiful words and grammar(when I read it, its look like I'm really fluent in english). The point I send this is I'd like to say thank you because make me interesting in english(the another one reason why I love english). You know, the way I talk in english also change a bit. I mean, its become better than before. Thank you =D
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 14, 2012:
So I am going over all the comments today and I see some of you think my speech was too harsh, that it would never convince anyone to come over to my side. My answer to this is that I wasn't trying to convince anyone of anything I was just stating my own opinion (and in doing such apparently hit a chord with some of you.) I am also told I sound "full of yourself." I was 14 when I wrote this of course I was full of myself! :)
I would like to note that my abrasive social context has smoothed out over the years, I'm a tolerant person but I still much prefer to be in the company of intellectuals and individualists and I'm still annoyed by people who seem to have no genuine personality of their own. The older I grow the more I realize this is not an age thing but age does make it easier to find others like yourself so stick in there teenagers, life isn't always that bad.
Theophanes Avery (author) from New England on April 10, 2012:
Zimticha - Thank you so much for your comment, it left me really touched. I hope it can help your students be proud of who they are as individuals and I am sorry to hear our invasive culture is doing it's best to dumb down the rest of the world. It's infuriating, even now I am in my late 20's. If you get a chance to read this do let me know how giving this to your students went. I'd be fascinated to know! Teachers have a hard job and I very much admire the good ones!
And to all the rest of you intellectual teens... hang in there! Life does get better! As you get older and you start leaving home and exploring the world you will meet other brilliant souls on your journey. This will make the hell of our teenage years worth it, I promise. :) Thank you so much for your comments. I love to hear from you via comments or even the occasional e-mail I get. It makes me so proud of all you. Cheers.
Ruby on April 04, 2012:
This speech was fantastic, it really put into words what I would like to tell my peers.
And for those who are going on about her claiming she's an intelectual, remember that she is comparing her self to her peers and by the way she wrote the sppech I waould have to agree with her on the intelectual front
Olivia on March 21, 2012:
Wow. I completely agree with what you wrote when you were fourteen. Glad to hear a lot of people agree with me because my peers seem to reject my ideas of good music and literature. Also, the media has completely engulfed the minds of this generation, and not in the best of ways. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this so thank you for posting it :)
Amy on February 20, 2012:
WOW thats an amazing speech i agree with everthing you've said i wish i could write like that are you an author you'd be a fantsatic wrighter!!!!
Elizabeth on February 08, 2012:
Bitch, please? Why you talking crap about my fam! We talk properly, like, all the time!
No, I'm kidding. I completely understand the fury of being called a stereotypical teenager because I do not act, or speak like them. Most of the teenagers that I know are foul-mouthed bitches or indecent boys. Yet I am happy to know that I can at least be safe in the knowledge it will be me laughing in 10 years time when I have my university degree and they have a certificate for 'Employee of the month' in McDonald's. If I knew you, I think we would get along. Many of my friends share the same views, and it infuriates us that we have to be part of this generation.
ayushi vashishtha on January 27, 2012:
very good one.................
Zimticha on January 11, 2012:
I'm an English teacher in Zimbabwe with a lot of concern for Zimbabwean teens, especially young teens, who are conforming to this MTV-lifestyle you've mentioned. When I did my Masters in Boston it was such a breath of fresh air to see teens who came out to openly read classic novels, create great science projects and work hard in athletics practice. Here the rich kids all believe they can't stoop so low to be Zimbabwean, so they study American media (MTV etc) and get only the very worst of teenage American culture as a guideline to their lives. Its painful to see kids much like the way you were having to fit into the sassy, rude, air-brained image because being themselves somehow creates an impression that they are economically inferior to the rest. I'm going print your speech as a handout for my new class of 14-15-year-olds as an example of emotive language to discuss the feelings and thoughts provoked by your use of language. It will be interesting to see their reaction to an American girl who is not acting like the ones they see on TV - thanks!
ayushi vashishtha on January 06, 2012:
very nice speech
aakansha on December 16, 2011:
very good speech
Emasone on December 11, 2011:
Wonderful speech! I wrote a similar one at a similar age on the hideousness of teenage language - also delivered in a complete monotone. Isn't it fun?
Rosie on November 15, 2011:
I am a fourteen year old girl and I agree with every word.
Naomi on November 10, 2011:
Cool speech! Surprising that you wrote it so young, it sounds to good and truthful to be made by a teenager! I agree with the stuff you say.....though you probably could have said it with a little less bluntness.
Ashleigh on November 02, 2011:
i would really liike to use this speech for a declemation contest. what is your name please because i want to be sure to give you credit for writing the speech. Thank You
Liliana on October 27, 2011:
I would really like to use this speech for a competitione. Would you give me your name please? Thank you
keerthi on October 19, 2011:
ur name plz?
Jackie on October 09, 2011:
As the mother of a 14 year old, I can honestly just sit & smile. The confusion of these teenage years will pass and if your brave enough to stay onboard for the ride it will be well worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this speech, Thank you so very much.
mary on October 06, 2011:
very nice.. i can use this on my presentation
ROFLATTHISLONER on September 25, 2011:
IT SEEMS LIKE YOU"RE TRYING TO BE LIKE VALENTINE FROM ENDERS GAME.
precious rubio on August 20, 2011:
thank you for helpiing me do my project.i copied this as my examples ofpeeches.continue doing a speech .well done. good job
pweety101 on July 09, 2011:
this is so cool and very motivational. I am talking on my assembly this week and i think this is really going to help me.
littleGg6 on July 06, 2011:
wow, there is a lot of mixed critisism for this speech. I for a fact love it and authough im not the best student (and i don't claim that i am) I can still see the side of this that makes it a brilliant speech. I do have one small dissagreement though. my grammer is pritty bad and spelling atrocious but im still concidered smart by some of my peers ('hay james your smart, what do you do here' for example). What im trying to say is, do you need to be perfect to not be a sheep?
im thirteen almost forteen and still admire how you structured this speech.
(to show my point i have left all spelling mistakes in here as google chrome has a spell check)
Tang K.L. on April 13, 2011:
I find your speech useful and it also helps with daily life as well...
I'm 14 and I have similar viewpoints when you were at my age and I agree with you that everybody should be themselves instead of being in a social clique(although I might have one but my clique are being themselves than conforming to any other cliques. My clque prefers to study instead of being obsessed into something else). Do write more motivational stories like this as well. :)
Morgan on January 11, 2011:
May I use your speech for a presentation? If so that would be wonderful, I will of course need your name and a title that way I can give credits.
eveangelel on December 28, 2010:
Well then.... this was quite possibly the most delightful piece of work I've read this year! All too true and damn necessary! I'm so thrilled that this is on the web. The lives of teenagers are pointless and so narrow-minded. I can't stand it when some arrogant little twit marches up to me and says something so blatantly unoriginal as 'you're ugly' or 'you're stupid.' Insults have such potential to be so original and refreshing, it dumbfounds me how so many can just waste all that opportunity! What’s worse are seeing those so-called ‘adults’ who never grow out of the fish-bowl of high school, you wonder if they‘ve ever had an original thought in their lives. Just the other day in English class I was having a debate about something or the other with the English teacher and effectively monopolizing the seminar due to the fact that none of the idiotically proclaimed pre-AP students knew what we were saying. I quite forget what the subject was but it wasn’t in the least bit complex, when this goat-faced girl with the blank eyes you generally only find amongst cattle declared “I hate people with big vocabularies, they’re so stupid!” and then glanced at me and laughed as if she had been clever somehow. I would pity them if I could get over the initial disgust. Anyway, this was certainly a wonderful read and an expression of a truly unique and individual personality. Obviously a worth while existence if you don’t mind me saying, from the style of writing that’s my impression. Thanks for this.
Lauren on December 22, 2010:
You remind me of me; kudos for only being 14 at the time.
I'm 16 and I have similar viewpoints. I was lucky enough to get discovered early (although it did not come easy) and currently write for a local newspaper. I truly hope you've continued writing.
apurva on December 05, 2010:
liked ur speech but as i'm from india,i need more formal speech to present in front of the school,so i thought will u write another one like a formal one! but this was also amazing!!!!pls reply
Brian on November 28, 2010:
I have to say I agree with Emily. It's admirable that you can appreciate intelligence in the way that you do, however it becomes difficult to get a point across to the common masses unless you can relate to them. People are far more accepting of new ideas when they feel that they can identify at least in some way with what's being said.
I've learned that the hard way, as I used to view other people in the same way that you appear to. I was completely alienated from others, and ostracized for expressing my views.
However, I've learned in the past couple of years that all people have a good part of them, and while they may not be as intelligent, it gives me no right to view myself as superior to them just because I value education more than they do.
I've learned that the best way to reach people is to walk over to their side and take them by the hand, rather than staying on your own side and yelling at them to come to you. If you maintain such a negative view of other people, it will only eat away at you, and cause you unnecessary stress. Learning to embrace life and other people frees you from the anxiousness associated with a rather judgmental outlook toward others.
And I realize that this post is very old, so the chances of you reading this comment are quite slim. However I felt that I may as well get my point across.
Polly on November 22, 2010:
This was a very inspiring speech. I am also 14 and agree with a lot of what you say here.
Erica on November 16, 2010:
I am in Forensics and am using this speech for my oral declamation tournament. I hope that is okay. I love this speech. Absolutely love it! Who ever says this "lacks enthusiasm" is missing the obvious! I'm sure my peers and judge will enjoy this speech as much as i did when i read it. You've truly inspired me(: Keep writing your thoughts, it will lead to greatness!
Sydney on October 25, 2010:
Hi! I need to do a speech for my speech class, and I was wondering if you would givve me permission to do this one? I just need to know your name and the title. if you would prefer me not to do it, i completely understand. thank you!
emily on October 24, 2010:
While much of what you said is true, (and being a 17 year old female, I think the same way about a lot of what you wrote) you sound very full of yourself. Kind of stuck-up and immature. Maybe provide a solution on your speech, telling these kinds of people what they can do better with their time. Embrace people and try to love them instead of looking down on them and maybe they won't feel the need to turn to silly things to make themselves look good. It's a viscious cycle.
franco vanessa on October 13, 2010:
i belive every part of this speech just no transitions between your points by the wayy great intoduction and having a monotone isn't great in a speech its acctually very dull !
i happen to be 16
and am taking public speaking class
Note to self= stop judging others.
Eamonn on September 18, 2010:
Great speech, I loved it. I'm 15 and it just totally sumed up how I am feeling. Thanks:)
Rosa on August 23, 2010:
The speech really sums up the teenage sterotype, I would've gotten hell for writing something like that in my current school, I still get teased for typing full sentances in a text message. I have to say though, in an odd way it was very inspiring. Rock on intellectual teens. Rock on.