Stephen Colbert, the star of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, was the keynote speaker at Princeton's Class Day for graduating seniors on Monday, June 2. According to a report on the Princeton site:
[Colbert] deplored the effect the class members could have, saying "you people are like a virus that will soon be unleashed upon the world, with your unstoppable drive and your infectious enthusiasm."
Colbert blamed this fervor for changing the world on leaders such as Mohandas Gandhi and Al Gore. "Please don't try to change global warming," he said. "The older generations cut down the forest and sprayed millions of tons of CO2 in the air for a reason -- because they felt a draft in here. ... When you're older, you'll understand that it is a lot easier to raise the ocean temperatures a few degrees than to remember to bring a cardigan."
Turns out the Colbert was much more specific about Mahatma Gandhi, but you can see why Princeton's PR department glossed over it.
Sure, Gandhi said, "You must be the change that you want to see in the world," but he also drank his own urine.
As he said that, the words "What Frat Was He Pledging?" showed up on the screen.
You can watch the segment below.
I gather Colbert and his writers were confusing Gandhi with Morarji Desai, the former Indian prime minister, who was famous for his belief in urine therapy.
According to an article on the Internet (so it must be true): "In 1978 Dan Rather, on CBS's 60 Minutes, interviewed Desai, who spoke at length about the great value of drinking urine. Newsweek reported (August 21, 1995) that Mohandas Gandhi was a urine drinker, but this was later denied by India's Gandhi Institute."
UPDATE: I turned to one of the foremost experts on Gandhi, Prof. Dennis Dalton of Barnard College. His response: "Sushila Nayyar, Gandhi's personal physician, told me that Gandhi did not believe in this practice, though Moraji definitely did. There is no reference in Gandhi's works to it. Arun Gandhi at the Gandhi Institute denied it and Arun is a sound authority on Gandhi."
Post your comments below, please, after the video.
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