June 4, 2014

Mindy Kaling Teaches a Lesson in Harvard Law. ~ Sara Jean Deegan

Photo: Screenshot from video via YouTube

“I know a lot about the law. I sue everyone.”

Asked to speak at Harvard Law commencement ceremony, star and creator of her own network television show, The Mindy Project, Mindy Kaling declared, “I know a lot about the law. I sue everyone.”

Although unconventional, Mindy Kaling pursues her dreams with integrity, passion and zest. Frankly, she wears her heart on her sleeve and wears it well. If Mindy had not become a successful actress, comedian and writer, she surely would have made an admirable Harvard professor that promotes justice (and humor) above the law:

“Please just try to be the kind of people [who] give advice to celebrities, not the other way around.”

She also jokes, “If you are caught in a lewd act in a public restroom, you are the Harvard law pervert, my friend. And then you represent yourself and you’ll probably get acquitted because you went to Harvard.”

Her enthusiasm is contagious; she digresses, for example:

“Elle Woods went here from the trenchant documentary Legally Blond. It’s a very moving film, you should check it out after you read my book.”

Mindy brazenly speaks her mind and disguises her tongue-in-cheek, shameless self-promotion as mockery, but the audience loves her appeal to humor because she laughs at her cute, sardonic assertiveness.

Mindy admits that she graduated from Dartmouth and seems a rather unconventional choice for Harvard law, but bestows clandestine wisdom like pixie dust upon her listeners, which proves that humor is the answer to all life’s questions.

On a serious note, Mindy promotes justice before the law, integrity before celebrity and boldly addresses her own fear of public speaking when she serendipitously lists all of the ways that she eluded writing her speech. Yet, Mindy still shines bright because she is willing to make herself vulnerable, and even speak highly of herself.

Smart, successful, eccentric and snarky (in an adorable way), she goes where few women have gone before.

In her own words:

“From an outsiders perspective, here’s the truth. You are all nerds…You are the nerds that are going to make some serious bank, which is why I am here today. To marry the best looking among you.”

Mindy Kaling rose to the challenge and opportunity by embracing her fear and channeling an honest, captivating and moving commencement speech. Mindy keenly evokes the ethical dilemma for many lawyers today:

“You are entering a profession where no matter how bad the crime, or the criminal, you have to defend the alleged perpetrator. That’s incredible to me.”

If life was a Marx Brothers movie, Mindy Kaling would make an incredible professor at Harvard Law, but I prefer a dose of education in life than a dozen snoozing professors any day.


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Apprentice editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Screenshot from video via YouTube

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Sara Jean Deegan