While most commencement speakers at graduation ceremonies prefer to keep things light and encouraging for students about to face the big, bad world, Robert DeNiro doesn’t play it that way. At NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts ceremony on Friday, DeNiro laid it out quite clearly for the fresh graduates: “You made it–and you’re fucked.”
What DeNiro meant, exactly, by that is: anyone who strives to be an “artist” (which, these days, is synonymous with fame) is going to suffer interminably, and is very unlikely to beat the odds against his fellow competition. So if the character of Travis Bickle didn’t give you an indication of DeNiro’s own personality, surely this brand of frankness has. Though some may deem his speech somewhat cruel, the honesty and directness of the sentiment should be appreciated.
DeNiro continued, “A new door is opening for you—a door to a lifetime of rejection. It’s inevitable.” No, indeed, there is no sugar coating the existence of those wishing to pursue the arts as far as DeNiro is concerned. And if he won’t tell you, who else will?