Monday, November 7, 2011

How Do You REALLY Feel?

From Chris Tessone at NRO Online:

The liberal arts were once about studying how to live, informed by literary, philosophical, and historical accounts of how others conducted their lives. Students took a coherent set of core courses and immersed themselves in the Western canon. The academics of today instead offer programs catering to teenage sloth and narcissism, giving kids and their helicopter parents whatever they want for a buck, regardless of quality or rigor, reluctant to miss out on the student-loan-driven bubble now inflating. Anything for the freedom to conduct trivial research, play activist on the side, and enjoy the waning prestige of tenure-track life.


I think maybe that's a wee bit extreme, but only a wee bit.

Take a look at the first comment one encounters below Tessone's piece (at least as of this writing), wherein someone says, "I fail to see how knowledge of Plato and Aristotle makes one significantly more employable than immersion in Foucault and Derrida."

Kind of misses the point, in that the liberal arts are supposed to teach us how to LIVE, not how to WORK...but it does touch on a flaw in Tesson's piece. Either college is a place to go to learn a trade, or it's not. It can certainly offer both kinds of educaton, for people entering with different needs or expectations. I was an English major. Then I got an MFA in theatre. I did not expect either degree to lead directly to a job. However--both degress gave me skills and knowledge that ended up making me employable...often in unexpected ways.

But college IS too damned expensive. No argument there.

And colleges DO indulge in a lot of quasi-academic nonsense. No argument there, either.

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