And TIME Magazine ran a responsefrom Harvard College administrator Erika Christakis.
I think he offered an appropriate challenge, which was delivered with warmth and humor. I assume his students know his personality and that the speech was consistent with his teaching style. It would be very interesting to find out more about his teaching, as to whether he is effective in helping students move beyond standard rote learning.
The subtext of his talk is an argument against American exceptionalism. It's brave of him to put that bit of thinking on the examining table.
I suspect his students and the school knew his personality and his sense of humor. I also do not think his words were a big surprise to the students. It was a good speech. And it was refreshing. I did not find him critical of students, really. We've had several discussions about this speech, and most of us in the newsroom found ourselves wishing we heard more such addresses offered to students. Interestingly, colleagues teenage children thought it was pretty good, too.