On Monday September 24, Miami University’s world was rocked! When cultural and civic icon Jerry Springer came to our campus he intrigued and shocked people all at once with his liberal stances on politics and life. During his lecture the crowd chanted “Jerry, Jerry,” until he began his opening remarks saying, “I’m what you call an endangered species…I’m a liberal.” With quite an extensive and note-worthy career in politics, entertainment, and law, it was an honor (to say the least) to have the 68 year old impart his wisdom on our campus. After a stint on “Dancing With the Stars” with his partner Kym Johnson, I was slightly disappointed that Springer didn’t waltz for the crowd at all throughout his speech.
I was fortunate enough to attend a meet and greet before the lecture, and Springer mentioned how we are all liberal in terms of how we live our lives everyday, especially once we enter the home. What struck me the most about his speech was his passion for politics. I left Hall Auditorium feeling invigorated and inspired to be an active participant in the upcoming election. He made the audience very aware of the risks that we will be facing in the future. He jokingly commented that the greatest risk our generation faces is one that he may not be alive for in the future. This risk is the omnipresent environmental issue. Considering America is a work in progress, he made noteworthy emphasis on the reality that for our generation and especially after this election, America will be racially and culturally different.
His sense of humor immediately warmed the room when he apologized for ruining our culture, and it’s a humor that I strive to have at his age. He makes a fantastic point that with the rise of technology, no one will be able to control the world and that we all play a role in informing the country. Springer then went into detail about why he hosts such a dysfunctional and controversial show, saying that it’s fun and not everything in life has to be serious. And during the stress of midterms, this couldn’t be greater advice to keep in mind!
Another wonderful message that Springer highlighted was that although we may be sitting in front of him believing we have our lives entirely planned out, in reality we don’t. He said, “there’s a 95% chance that life won’t happen the way you think, especially because you don’t control who will offer you a job”.
When he was a news anchor on Channel 5 in Cincinnati (Channel 5 also owns a host of talk shows), the CEO took him to lunch one day and basically told him that he wanted him to have his own talk show. This just goes to show that even though we can’t be entirely sure of our future, unintended career opportunities can garner a great deal of success.
Ever wonder who is an inspiration to a man of Springer’s talent and caliber? Springer said, Ricki Lake, has been an example to him and helped set a precedent for what demographic to target his show towards- the youth. At the end of the day, the people that come on his show don’t assume that their problems will be solved. Most use fake monikers when they enter the studio. Additionally, their drive to be on national television stems from the fact that, for many people ,it’s the first time that their opinions have mattered.
In regards to where the future of media is headed, he discussed that with new technology, we’ve found ways to avoid commercials, which makes us feel pretty dominant as consumers. That being said, in every business aspect people are being replaced by computers. His advice for people wanting a career in the media is to be willing to move anywhere and to start at the smallest station. More empowering words from the king of controversy were that “life’s a gift” and “everyone’s the same”; an important perspective he learned early on in his life.
It was a unique opportunity to have Springer on our campus, especially since his first episode of The Jerry Springer Show was in Cincinnati in 1991. Springer’s parting words concerned the coming election, saying it is “singularly the most important presidential election in our lifetime, where we are deciding what kind of country we will be.”
If you also attended Springer’s Question and Answer session or the lecture, please feel free to share your remarks on the experience below. HC would love to hear your thoughts!