When Taylor Swift won Billboard’s Woman of the Year award in 2014, Billie Eilish was 11. She made certain to stress that fact when accepting the award herself last night. Billie is 17 now, and like any self respecting teen, she took the time to lecture all those adults in the room for their “long as fuck speeches,” even if they were beautiful or nice or smart! Some might disagree, but Billie is right: Your speech is long as fuck, and nobody wants to listen to it.
Awards season, which is finally upon us, is an excellent reminder that the more rich and famous a person is, the more likely they are to host award shows for themselves—and give speeches at these events. Sadly, as Eilish points out, there has never been a good speech at an award show. Sure, they might convey nice sentiments, or spur some sort of incremental change that everyone can pat themselves on the back for, but none are truly good. And that’s because they’re all too fucking long! If you’re going to pay stylists hundreds (even thousands) of dollars to look nice, and wear fancy clothes on red carpet where hundreds of eager paparazzi will gladly take your picture—the least any famous person could do is keep it exceedingly brief at the podium. They’re already at a party in their honor, showering in free champagne and luxury-stuffed gift bags. There isn’t any need for a speech!
I am sure that everyone has heard a good speech, even a great speech, at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, the number of bad speeches usually outweigh the good. These horrific experiences, which hoards of people are often subjected to, mostly take place at weddings, annual Girls & Gays Cocktail Hours to Celebrate the 87th Academy Awards, or farewell dinners for coworkers everyone hates. Some transpire at dinner parties hosted by sociopaths. Many happen at “town halls” forced upon workers by out of touch CEOs, lecturing their employees on why it actually isn’t that important to be paid fairly. I’ve also seen speeches devolve into madness on subway platforms, yelled by men who really, really, really want me to burn in hell forever. But without fail, each of these diatribes share a common trait with their much better counterparts—they are too fucking long!
If you’re going to give a speech, keep it at a minute or under. Someone has to be pee, someone is running late, and someone is just really sick and tired of standing there in their heels while scores of wealthy hot people talk about how proud they are of themselves, or the many agents and publicists and moms and dads (and piles of generational wealth) that have bolstered them in their career. At dinner parties, the food is getting cold. At weddings, nobody cares how long you’ve known the bride’s sister’s husband’s best-friend’s dog. And at company meetings, those underpaid employees are sitting in the crowd, slowly radicalizing and contemplating just what seizing the means looks like. Keep it brief, or keep it to yourself!