When I first heard that Michael Bloomberg would be our graduation speaker this year, I was offended. How dare Stanford disrespect those graduating in 2013 by slumming it with some washed-up old businessman?
This week, though, hearing many of Mayor Bloomberg’s illustrious accomplishments, I began to change my mind. In fact, in the course of my research, I have come to the conclusion that not only is Bloomberg worthy to address us, he also has something to offer for each student in our diverse populace, from Sigma Nu to Kappa Sig. I’d like to explore those admirable attributes below.
First and foremost, Mayor Bloomberg is a man of business. When he was fired from Salomon brothers in 1981, he pulled himself up by his bootstraps and founded Bloomberg L.P. Not only is Miguel B. successful in business, he fits the culture as well. As Michael Wolff stated in this New York Magazine article: “To be a good manager – to run a profitable enterprise – not only forgives but also justifies a wide range of unrestrained, or even unsocialized, behavior.” And I agree. As such, it is only fitting that he indulges in the delightful misogyny and homophobia characteristic of businessmen, because, as many have apologized, “that’s just how men in business talk.”
Allow me to cite from “The Portable Bloomberg: The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg,” a quotation booklet circulated to Bloomberg L.P. employees in celebration of his 48th birthday in 1990. The very first: “Make the customer think he’s getting laid when he’s getting fucked.” Another: To Bloomberg, a competitor in business is always a “cokehead, womanizing, fag.”
One can only hope that he imparts such wisdom during his compelling commencement address.
Bloomberg is also a champion of women’s rights. Three high-profile sexual harassment suits against him were all thrown out because of lack of preponderance of the evidence. I mean, you know that old adage about insanity: If something fails once and you keep trying to make it work, it’s clearly the women leveling the strikingly similar allegations against him who are off their rocker and not the respected member of the community who harasses – I mean, employs – them.
Beyond this, Bloomberg has vehemently and candidly supported a woman’s right to choose, as in 1996 when he allegedly (though I have no idea why he’d deny such an impassioned defense of women’s rights) told sales executive Sekiko Garrison, “Kill it!” when she told him that she was pregnant and going on maternity leave. Cubic-zirconia clear about his principles, unlike many politicians, he reiterated, “Kill it!” when Garrison prompted him to repeat himself.
Finally, to Stanford women, another quote from “The Portable Bloomberg”: “If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of to Bloomingdale’s.” I have seen women in the Stanford library. Ergo, they want to be appreciated for their brains.
Prefer a more traditional role for women in the workplace? Rest assured that Mayor Bloomberg has made sure that women returning from maternity leave are denied their full former job responsibilities and opportunities for advancement because, as any gynecologist will tell you, bringing the miracle of life into the world through your birth canal significantly impairs a femme’s ability to perform on the job. I’m talking 22-percent dumber, and consequently, paid 78 cents for each dollar earned by male counterparts.
But wait, there’s more: Bloomberg stands for justice. In a 1998 deposition for Mary Ann Olszewski’s sexual harassment case against him, he stated that he wouldn’t believe that a rape allegation was genuine unless there was “an unimpeachable third-party witness.” Because, as Bloomberg went on to sagely note, “There are times when three people are together.”
Speaking of being a defender of the law, Bloomberg is universally lauded for his campaign to end gun violence in the city. During his tenure, violent crime has dropped 29 percent in the city, and I attribute that completely to the fact that 90 percent of those stopped and frisked are minorities.
Criticized for racial profiling, Bloomberg retorted with a devastating axiom: “We look to see where the crime is, and whatever the ethnicity of that neighborhood is, that’s what it is.” It’s not like the police can selectively patrol those neighborhoods or anything. Furthermore, Bloomberg asserts that without the program, “5,600 people who are alive today would be dead… and an overwhelming number of those would have been young black and Hispanic men.”
Dude’s such a hero for taking on the White Man’s Burden. Why are people of color complaining when Bloomberg just wants them safe? If they have nothing to hide, why not bare it all? Bloomberg certainly hasn’t hypocritically hidden the results of a polygraph test that he took to corroborate his innocence in a sexual harassment case.
Mayor Bloomberg, cognizant of his infallible governance, even sacrificed himself like any great Roman emperor for the good of the Republic and changed the NYC term-limit law to allow himself another four years to govern the city.
It is after this glorious campaign that Mayor Bloomberg comes to Stanford to deliver a dry, inoffensive speech, which is exactly what I’d want, considering that most authors asked to speak would affront the wrinkled members of the Board of Trustees in the audience. Bloomberg: crusader for racial equality, apologist for the excesses of neoliberalism and bane of the Big Gulp – I think you stand, 5 feet, 7 inches tall, for exactly what Stanford stands for. I welcome you with open arms.
Want more quotes from “The Portable Bloomberg”? Email Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.