Last week, when we saw John Waters at Powerhouse Arena, the “People’s Pervert” mentioned he’d be giving a commencement address at the Rhode Island School of Design. He wasn’t kidding. Saturday, the man who left NYU after he was thrown out of his dorm for smoking pot told RISD’s Class of 2015, “Who would’ve ever thought a top college like RISD would invite a filth elder like myself to set an example to its students?” Watch the video to hear Waters dispense advice like the following.
Keep up with what’s causing chaos in your own field. If you’re a visual artist, go see the shows in the galleries that are frantically competing to find the one bad neighborhood left in Manhattan to open up in.
Watch every movie that gets a negative review in the New York Times and figure out what the director did wrong.
Read, read, read. Watch people on the street. Spy, be nosy, eavesdrop.
And as you get older, you’ll need youth spies that will keep you abreast of new music that nobody your age has heard of yet or body piercing mutilations that are becoming all the rage. Even budding sexually transmitted disease you should go to any length to avoid.
Never be like some of my generation who say we had more fun in the ’60s. No, we didn’t. The kids today who still live with their parents, who haven’t seen them in months but leave food outside their bedroom doors, are having just as much fun shutting down the governments of foreign countries on their computer as we did banning the bomb.
Go out in the world and fuck it up beautifully. Design clothes so hideous that they can’t be worn ironically. Horrify us with new ideas. Outrage outdated critics. Use technology for transgression, not lazy social living. Make me nervous.