Friday, October 28, 2011

College: It's Not Just For Smart People!

Philosophy Major
Red diaper rash ranters are marching on Wall Street and squalling for free stuff.  Among their list of demands is "free college education."

Graduates from prestigious universities with advanced degrees in Lesbian Dance and Ethnic Studies are shocked and outraged to find they are unemployable.  And they want you and I to pay off their substantial and ill-considered student loans.

They should be marching on the colleges and universities that screwed them.  They should be occupying the offices of the counselors who steered them away from math and science and instead put them on the path that leads to angry activism, unemployment lines and the crash of unwarranted self-esteem.

Higher education is ripping us off, according to the Mercury News:
Nationally, college is getting less affordable every year... Overall, tuition increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2006, while median family income increased 147 percent and the consumer price index 106 percent, the study found.
When is Congress going to drag college administrators before its pompous committees and demand Big Education stop gouging the consumer?

Finally, here's a link to a hilarious look at the 10 Most Worthless College Degrees.

The article counts them down from 10 to 1. Here are a few excerpts:
9. Philosophy:
Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: This isn’t ancient Greece: No one is going to pay you money, or allow you to sodomize their attractive son, in exchange for your knowledge of existence. Never has there been an employer who’s said “Man, we’re having all kinds of problems, I wish we had someone on our team who could reference and draw conclusions from the story of Siddhartha that would pull up our fourth quarter numbers ...
4. English Lit:
Why It Won’t Help You Get a Job: If someone can spend a weekend with a box of Cliff’s Notes and have only a slightly less conversational knowledge of what you spent 4 years studying, you probably don’t have the most employer friendly degree. ...

60 comments:

Always On Watch said...

Getting any kind of English degree used to mean that the students pursuing that degree got intensive work in writing skills -- above and beyond the usual skills taught at the freshman and sophomore levels.

Former students tell me that English lit degrees now entail the most nonsensical of discussions, discussions that ignore theme, character, and literary analysis and instead focus about the students' feelings about the works studied. If one can even call what they study "works"! Certainly, the "works" studied are not classics in any sense of the word -- not even in the "modern classics" sense.

College education is indeed becoming more and more unaffordable. Way too many students are graduating with huge debt loads! Even when the degrees are worthwhile.

Today, instead of the 5% unemployment rate for college grads (a rate that held steady for over two decades until just recently), that unemployment rate has topped 10%. Consider how many students are graduating now, and we can see how significant that percentage is in terms of actual unemployed grads.

The grads who do get jobs, the grads whom I personally know, get their jobs via the intervention of friends or parents. Just sayin'.

jez said...

I realise this bit was all about the lols, but the thing is neither philosophy nor english lit. is worthless. Do you really want to create a society that forgets all about philosophy? Individual programs are of variable merit, as is the case with any subject.

Degrees [should] give you something different from vocational training. To judge them solely in terms of employability misses a very important part of their point.

bunkerville said...

College is all about indoctrination these days. It was so in my day, and I cannot believe it has gotton any better. That said, my life has been much richer for having attended, and financially, much improved as otherwise would have been.

Jack Camwell said...

College is mostly a rip off for two reasons.

1. Because people base the worth of a degree on how much money it's going to help you make.

2. Because it's become College Lite, an extension of high school.

I'm sure the list was meant to be funny, but the sad thing about it is that's how most people view college now. They treat it like it's nothing more than getting a certification to make more money in the long run.

The people smart enough to realize that college is supposed to be more than just a pathway to higher paychecks are the people who major in things like philosophy and english lit.

As far as indoctrination, it really depends on where you go. There were some extremely liberal professors where I went, but they were oddly enough all on the English faculty. My history and political science professors had their own ideological bents, but they were all very adamant about presenting all sides of an issue and giving all perspectives a chance to be heard and explained well.

One of my professors was so good at masking his true political self that one had to actually ask him "who the hell do you vote for," to know which party he affiliated himself with.

conservativesonfire said...

Universities are businesses today and as such they look out for their own interest. If the federal government is going to interfere in the free market and guaranty student loans, we shouldn't be surprised that universities take advantage of this and keep raising tuition's. I blame our government more than I blame the universities.

Ducky's here said...

I was reading some excerpts from the new biography of Steve Jobs, a man who was an ethical failure in my opinion, and he felt that one of the advantages Apple had over other tech companies was the proportion of liberal arts students it employed.
Bringing that sensibility to its products was something a place like Dell never had.

You know a lot of ex military post here. Myself, I don't know what kind of soldier I would have made but I could have made it through training.
I majored in film At Rhode Island School of Design which is considered to have the most intense freshman year of any college in the nation. It took me 5 years to get through RISD and I took a number of math courses at Brown also.
I do know that during that first month the ex-military folk would have been on the bus home to momma.

I've been successful and I've seen a number of students go on to good carers.

You look at the cave paintings in Europe. Many think they represent the point where we as a species became human, gaining an ability for abstraction and reflection on the world. The painters sure weren't just marking territory.
Yet studying art history which requires a grounding in history and philosophy is considered a waste. A pity.

All that matters is educating enough consumers I guess. We are ripping "us" off.

Z said...

I think "in general" is the term most people seem to be missing.
SOME English lit and philosophy majors do get jobs (mostly teaching Eng. Lit and PHilosophy, but it's a job..) The majority have trouble.
They're saying now that engineers are in short supply. Craftsmanship is gone (heck, I do work with teens these days and their penmanship is totally gone, so how could true craftsmanship flourish? It helps to have the eye trained for pride in one's hand, design of letters, etc.)

I favor Germany's method of college OR 'trade school' (which is FAR beyond our idea of a trade school). There, one needs years of experience to own one's own car repair and be certified(FAR more training than here), for example.....it's treated as a PROFESSION, something someone does when they're smart and have a real interest in cars (or cabinetry, or whatever), not something someone did because they're too dumb for college.

here's a good one: My word verification is 'efing' :-)
Have an 'efing' nice day, everybody!! *if you don't mind my saying so!

jez said...

Z's right: I don't want to create a society that forgets about craftsmanship either. But notice that the German state pays for much of German universities' tuition fees. They value both craftsmen and academics. This is a better approach.

Lisa said...

I guess English and Philosophy helps when using it to come to conservative blogs and "philosophically" argue a point based on their "assumptions" and "beliefs" to try and make themselves sound logical.

Lisa said...

I too agree with Z if you have a "craft" you can always earn a buck.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I didn't think the article cited was the least bit amusing. Instead it gives us a prime example of the crass, snotty cynicism and nihilistic irreverence that characterizes too much of society today. The accompanying photographs are especially depressing.

I realize the piece is supposed to be satire, but it contains too much ugly truth -- and far too little humor -- for it to succeed as an example of the genre.

For once I mostly agree with everybody who posted so far.

Jez in particular summed it up perfectly.

Ducky's reference to the Cave Paintings is nothing less than brilliant.

" ... studying art history ,which requires a grounding in history and philosophy, is considered a waste. A pity."

I would agree completely, but for the regrettable emergence of political correctness and politically-oriented interpretations of history that attempt to apply contemporary standards to seminal events and great achievements in the past to serve an "agenda." Art and Literature should never be used for the narrow purposes of political indoctrination.

In too many instances, as AOW so ably indicated, we are not teaching literature, writing, [or History, Art, Philosophy or Music] anymore, instead we are using those subjects as vehicles to promote Cultural Marxism as the most desirable way to meet the future.

That said, I completely agree that the University should not be transformed into a mere Trade School. Becoming truly educated is not supposed to be the express route to high-paying careers. Education should be about enriching young people's lives by prompting curiosity that leads to an understanding and appreciation for the wonders and glories humanity has achieved, DESPITE selfishness, brutality, ruthless aggression, cruel exploitation and the ravages of famine, pestilence, sword, fire and dread disease.

I majored in Music. I studied at Juilliard as a child, went on to Eastman to take a degree in "Applied Piano." Then earned a post-graduate diploma in advanced Music Theory and Composition at Mannes College of Music, and later an MA in Music History at NYU, where I did lots of performing mostly as a harpsichordist in Early Music ensembles.

I kicked around New York for a number of years performing, teaching, accompanying string players and opera singers. I was good, but not great, although I had the great joy of working with a number of singers who made it to the Met and instrumentalists who had important, international careers.

In Music it's not enough to be in the top five-percent, you must be in the top one-tenth of one-percent -- and even if you are, and win first prize in an international competition, there is still no guarantee of lasting success. Heck! Even the meteoric career of Van Cliburn burned out after relatively few years on the concert stage.

I barely made a living, I confess, but despite not being the Big Success I had hoped I would be, I wouldn't have missed the wonder and glory of studying with several world-class teachers who enabled me to understand, appreciate, and become intimately acquainted with a great body of literature that has never ceased to give me joy, encouragement, and a profound sense that at its core and in its spiritual essence life is beautiful, benevolent, unstinting and loving.

The Cave Paintings may have been the first tangible expression of man's awareness of his unique identity in The Great Scheme and unlimited capacity for greatness.

"Man does not live by bread alone ..."

And BOY! Ain' DAT de troof!

~ FreeThinke

Scotty said...

I'm not tying to brag about my kids, this is just an example to add to the mix.

My daughter, without a college education, managed to worked her way to a branch manager position of a very large bank.

My son without a college education, and this one is for ducky, after 4 years of military under his belt, worked his way from production laborer to an almost 6 figure management position of a company that is world wide.

Z mentioned the trades. There is a cry for carpenters, plumbers and electrician.

My niece's husband owns a air conditioning/heating company, can't find qualified people to fill positions they have available.

I spent a lot of years in the trucking industry, in it's many variations, they too are looking for people. A semi driver can knock down 40-50g's a year.

The waste industries, where I spent some time in, people can start on the back of a garbage truck and work their way to management, I've seen it happen time and time again.

Some of the larger companies like Waste Management and BFI(Browning and Ferris) two of the larger waste companies, one can make a decent wage just a laborers, talk about job security.

So spare me that line that one needs a college degree to make a good living.

Jack Camwell said...

Ducky,
I'm a military veteran and I graduated summa cum laude. Also, all the veterans that I've known who've gone on to college generally do really well. Thank you for insulting all of us and thinking that we're all a bunch of knuckle dragging morons.

Lisa,
Yeah, it's a lot better to at least be logical when you're throwing out your assertions and arguments. You would be surprised at how much of your beliefs you'll discover to be illogical if you just examine them a little more in detail.

Life is a lot harder to understand when you throw away the old stand by's of "because God says so," and "because that's just how it is."

The anti-intellectualism around these parts is incredibly depressing. I guess we should all make fun of the Founding Fathers for being pointy-headed, educated intellectuals.

Anonymous said...

Scotty,

I must have written this with you in mind:


Primary Sources

Look well upon the men who dig in mines,
And work machines in mills and factories grim.
Be aware that those who tend the vines
Or till the soil give much for wages slim.
Reaping sowing, weeding hoeing make
Full the nation’s store of nutriment.
Overland the burly truckers take
Rich provisions and accoutrement
Coast to coast. The teamsters load and haul
Enormous hordes of stuff that we’ve empowered,
Shipped in freighters, stored in silos tall,
Delivered, well-displayed, and then devoured.
Awards are due to goods and who supplies them,
Yet the wise despise the guys who advertise them.


~ by FreeThinke - The Sandpiper, Summer, 1996

Please don't think that us college-educated literary, and aesthetic types look down on anyone who does the practical work and heavy-lifting. Civilization could not exist if it weren't for the blessing of practical men and women. As a person who has enjoyed good deal of privilege, my respect -- and gratitude -- for those who make things, fix things, deliver things, maintain things with a cheerful, honest attitude can't be contained. I see Beauty and Godliness in good service.

My father had very little formal eduction, but he read voraciously, spoke well and taught himself higher mathematics. He rose through the ranks to become a vice president in a large corporation that had offices in 28 American cities. I wish I could have been as fine and as accomplished a man as he. There was nothing he couldn't do, if he put his mind to it.

Sadly, no one can achieve what Father did today, unless they're Steve Jobs -- and look how he wound up, poor fellow!

Be of good cheer! There are different kinds of people in the world, and all of us need each other. We just need to learn to respect and appreciate one another instead of being suspicious and contemptuous of those who are different from ourselves, that's all.

And as the UNCF will tell you:

A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE

Unfortunately spending time on college campuses today may be just that -- a great waste of human potential.

~ FreeThinke

Scotty said...

To add to what Jack said:

Ducky,
I'm a military veteran and I graduated summa cum laude. Also, all the veterans that I've known who've gone on to college generally do really well. Thank you for insulting all of us and thinking that we're all a bunch of knuckle dragging morons.


I went back to college when I was 40. I was consistently on the dean's list. I got my computer and networking certifications and worked as an IT during my last years working.

After high school, ducky, I spent a year at Berkerlee conservatory in Boston. Unfortunately, deferments from a music college were not being granted.

Jus sayin' as the knuckle dragger that I am...

Anonymous said...

Sorry to have to be the one to say it, Jack, but you completely misunderstood Ducky's post.

Was that because you decided long ago that he was an asshole and it's not worth reading his comments? OR is it because you really did not understand what he was driving at?

The Founding Fathers were brilliant men, all right. Many of them were erudite and cultivated as well, but their work was grounded in good, common sense and was aimed toward effective practical application of abstract, ideal concepts.

The mental masturbation we tend to think of as "intellectual" today bears little or no resemblance to the rigorous discipline men of Jefferson's rare caliber and protean abilities imposed on themselves throughout their productive lives.

Have you read what Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and others did with their time on earth from childhood on? It's astounding and makes most of us look like a bunch of silly, spoiled, mollycoddles.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

Well Scotty, that's nice. The fact remains that you would be one of the first to denigrate an art school grad, something you couldn't handle.


If we had any brains we wouldn't be arguing but Silverfiddle decided to stake out the tone of this post by mentioning degrees in Lesbian Dance and Ethnic Studies, simultaneously going on the snide and exposing his homophobia. Good right winger.

But previously we were talking about the corporate control of government. Arne Duncan, as useless a free market maven as you'll find, was making some noise about the "for profit" college scam.

You know, kid goes to one of these mills, piles up debt that is backed against default by the government and winds up with a useless diploma and no job. Used to be worse, under Chucklenuts the government still backed the defaults but the loans were made through institutions that tacked on extra vigorish.
Right wingers screamed like hell when Obama cut out the middle man and did some good.
Anyway, Duncan flapped his gums about curbing this scam industry. Like most of the administration he talked the good talk and did NOTHING. Why are we allowing the lobbyists to run this scam. Why do we let them control our governance.

That's what we should be talking about but it's easier to be snide.

By the way, a couple of my former pupils were working locally on the latest Adam Sandler film(avoid). They were making well into six figures and could not have done that without the proper education.

Scotty said...

Well Scotty, that's nice. The fact remains that you would be one of the first to denigrate an art school grad, something you couldn't handle.

I'm amused by how you like to put words in peoples mouths, Ducky. With statements like that your snobbery shines like a beacon in the night.

Unlike you Ducky, I would not denigrate anyone, especially someone that is seeking to improve themselves. I would give ANYONE a big atta boy for getting a degree in anything they would like to try and peruse. BUT, not all degrees are created equal and a degree guarantees nothing, that's the point.

Hell, I would even venture to say you may have made a GOOD soldier, Ducky. I don't prejudge like you so often do.

Anonymous said...

Here's a pertinent little item from remarks I posted yesterday:

" ... it's been my experience -- very sadly -- that whenever I've acknowledged merit in the argument of a liberal ... he, she or it never sees fit to return the compliment ...
"

It's true enough, but it's just as true of too many conservatives. We're seeing it right here today.

What is it in us that wants to ignore generous compliments, and engage in acrimonious exchange over trivialities instead?

Does this mean that one cannot be kind without arousing suspicion or generating ridicule? Have we become that cynical and that disenchanted with life?

If so, what excuse could we possibly give?

Is enmity so much more stimulating and intriguing than comity?

Sad!

~ FT

Trestin said...

I have a younger sister who started out pursuing a music degree. I convinced her to change. She changed to religious studies. I keep trying to tell her it's a dead end; especially if you are a member of a church that does not believe in paid ministry. What could she possibly do with that degree?

Trestin said...

Ducky,
I just learned a lot about you. The horror... The horror...

Jack Camwell said...

"I do know that during that first month the ex-military folk would have been on the bus home to momma."

That was in reference to his Freshman year of college. What, exactly, did I misunderstand FT?

And yes, I know how they spent their time. John Quincy Adams was translating Cicero from the original Latin by the time he was 16. Men like John Adams could read ancient Greek and Latin. They also wrote huge volumes of work on political theory and the like.

There's a difference between a classic intellectual and a pseudointellectual, and I think most people here tend not to recognize the difference.

Bastiatarian said...

>all the veterans that I've known who've gone on to college generally do really well.

I'm always glad when I get current/former military in my classes, because I know that I'll have at least one student that is responsible, respectful, mature, diligent, and thoughtful. (If that student was also home-schooled, I know that I will also have at least one student--and probably only that one-who can construct a coherent sentence.)

Bastiatarian said...

One of the core problems with the majority of colleges and universities right now is that a significant percentage of the students that are admitted are not qualified intellectually/academically for higher education. Women's Studies and all such political activism and other emotional navel-gazing that attempt to pose as scholarly fields give such pretend students the opportunity to pretend to study. The departments pretend to educate them, and the universities give them pretend degrees.

Unqualified students have to have some field of "study," and since they don't have the capacity for real scholarly activity, pseudo-scholarly programs have to be created for them. Thus, we have Women's Studies programs, English lit departments that do very little actual rational analysis of literature, and new special interest offices instead of core Gen Ed courses.

And, university presidents continue to brag about their increasing enrollment. What it means is that they're proud to have more morons enrolled than ever before.

The OWS people are glad, though, since such an influx of emotionally driven imbeciles gives them a steady flow of members.

Ducky's here said...

Yeah, jack Camwell, Adams was translating Cicero at 15.

Look at the list, Latin is right there in the top 10 useless degrees.

Not that many would pick it up as a major and we stopped offering it at most high schools but ho cares about the classics.

You either get a skill that increases economic output directly or ... Paul Goodman "Growing Up Absurd", it's out of print but see if you can find a used copy.
He had it freaking nailed back in the day. So I don't doubt that ex-military follow the rules just so and become valued team players.

Ducky's here said...

The Unknown Citizen
by W. H. Auden

(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State)

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a
saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their
education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

Anonymous said...

" ... such political activism and other emotional navel-gazing that attempt to pose as scholarly fields give such pretend students the opportunity to pretend to study. The departments pretend to educate them, and the universities give them pretend degrees. ..."

It sounds as though you've had a good deal o experience teaching in Negro colleges.

What you describe, Bastiatarian, mirrors my own experience teaching for a UNCF school. Everyone involved from the President on down was participating in a pretentious, elaborately choreographed farce.

The students were semi-literate at best. Most of the black teachers had received counterfeit degrees from such prestigious academies of higher learning as Columbia University, New York University, and the University of Chicago.

In all those highly liberal institutions Negroes were held to a much lower standard than others, and pushed gently-but-firmly through the mill to be sent into the field to perpetuate a tradition of profound ignorance and sterling incompetence.

That was long ago -- back in the early Sick-sties as a matter of fact -- so I would hope things might have improved by now, but somehow I doubt it.

It would have been funny, if it hadn't been so terribly sad. These people were decent, polite, friendly, but they had NO IDEA they were NOT being "EDUCATED".

Sitting in a classroom won't make you "educated" any more than sitting in a garage would make you turn into an automobile.

I left after one year depressed and thoroughly disillusioned. The memories still haunt me nearly fifty years later.

That school was handsomely endowed by the Episcopal Church. All sorts of grants to buy books and equipment were given us. The librarian never spent any of the money to buy new books, so it had to be sent back after two years.

Her reason? "They don't reads the books we already have, so why should we get any more? It'd be like stealin' to take that money from them nice folks."

What could you possibly do with a situation like that?

And who deserves to be blamed? And what good would it do anyway, if you found the culprits and punished them?

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

Funny you should mention classics Camwell.

My niece is looking for work as a teacher. Meanwhile she's stuck in retail and struggling but getting by.
She has a Master's in English Lit with a concentration in Middle English
She reads Chaucer and Mallory and earlier works in the original and really loves the field.

I think she will teach one day but meanwhile she pays off the loans. Now did she work harder and gain more insight obtaining that Masters than someone with a B.A. in Business Administration? Quite possibly but that's neither here nor there.
Her best friend has a degree in Early Childhood Education and is waitressing but since everyone can manage a degree in nuclear biology she deserves to have her talents wasted.

98ZJUSMC said...

I do know that during that first month the ex-military folk would have been on the bus home to momma.

My, what a condescending prick.

I spent three of my first four semesters on the Dean's List, aceing Math through Differential Calculus. I wrote a term paper on The History of Rock Music that so impressed my Professor that he offered me a TA job, on the spot, and asked if he could take it to his kids to read, which he did. He still has it. That was freshmen year.

I can set up ambushes in any terrain you care to mention. I can preform reconnaissance missions, dismounted or mounted, in anything from the Alaskan wilderness in February, the Korean Peninsula, to the jungles of Honduras and survive extended periods without logistical support in each of them.

Before college, I was an Air Traffic Controller at the busiest base in the military at the time (MCAS Yuma) and became Tower Supervisor at two (Yuma and Iwakuni). Not an easy feat, with a high washout rate. Understanding the mental acuity that job requires is impossible without actual having to do it.

I have qualified expert on every weapon the Marine Corps uses(used) from the M-1911A1 through the M-21(M-14 Sniper version)and have humped most of them through terrain you'll only see in National Geographic.

Trust me, your scenario at college would be a cakewalk.

Oh, wait....it was.

98ZJUSMC said...

Bastiatarian said...
One of the core problems with the majority of colleges and universities right now is that a significant percentage of the students that are admitted are not qualified intellectually/academically for higher education. Women's Studies and all such political activism and other emotional navel-gazing that attempt to pose as scholarly fields give such pretend students the opportunity to pretend to study. The departments pretend to educate them, and the universities give them pretend degrees.



Precisely.

They are, however, emminently qualfied to pretend to make it my way at Burger King....

....barely.

Talking to these people is/was the most excruciating experience of my life. Blithering idiots does not quite cover it. They are patently useless in the working world for anything requiring empirical analysis.

Anonymous said...

Ducky,

On rare occasions it seems to me that you and I could -- or should -- be soul mates. Your earlier reference to the Cave Paintings for which I justly commended you, and your bringing Auden here at his subtly satirical best confirm that. Why you have to be so snide and so condescending in your disagreements with others, however, I cannot understand.

I nearly laughed out loud when you above all people had the temerity to chide SilverFiddle for bringing "snideness" into his post simply for his gently satirical, singularly apt, tongue-in-cheek reference to "Lesbian Dancing" as a possible college major.

Tsk tsk, Ducky! You have many fine qualities -- I can tell, even though you do your very best to hide them -- but your assumptions about the sensibilities and mental capacities about others cause you to portray yourself as the male equivalent of a carping bitch.

Why do that? It does nothing to persuade your audience that your ideas have merit -- quite the opposite.

Anyway, you admire Art and so do I. You like Wystan Hugh and so do I -- enormously. I've had the great privilege of accompanying Britten's setting of On This Island several times in New York, and will never lose touch with the majesty, the terror, the compassion, the deep love of the Sea and Nature and the sad, comedic irony of his assessment of Modern Man. I have goosebumps right now just thinking about it.

Focus on the ART, Ducky. IT matters -- not what other people may or may not understand or appreciate about it.

"Art is long." Except for the love of family, which I hope you have experienced, the rest of it is largely bullshit.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

As it is, plenty

As it is, plenty;
As it's admitted
The children happy
And the car
That goes so far
And the wife devoted:
To this as it is,
To the work and the banks
Let his thinning hair
And his hauteur
Give thanks, give thanks.

All that was thought
As like as not, is not;
When nothing was enough
But love
And the rough future
Of an intransigent nature
And the betraying smile,
Betraying, but a smile:
That that is not, is not;
Forget.

Let him not cease to praise
Then his spacious days;
Yes, and the success
Let him bless:
Let him see in this
The profits larger
And the sins venal,
Lest he see as it is
The loss as major
And final.

W.H. Auden - On this Island

Anonymous said...

JUSMC,

Your achievements are considerable. there was never a time when I could have duplicated them. We should all be grateful for men like you.

However, responding in kind to Ducky's admittedly snotty manner doesn't help bridge any gaps or promote greater appreciation and understanding of anything. Fires cause more heat than light, and so we should do everything possible to prevent them from igniting.

Not lecturing, sir, just trying to assert the apparently quaint notion that just because someone has different interests and different talents and even a a more disagreeable temperament than we doesn't mean we can't learn anything from them -- or that they're not worth knowing.

I'll probably have to duck crossfire for "preaching," but someone must try to prevent "forest fires," even if he winds up getting burnt, himself.

These words apply equally to Ducky, of course. I thought it was hysterically funny when he scolded our ever genial host, SilverFiddle, for being nasty and snide in today's article.

I guess every one of us would be shocked if we ever dared look in the mirror.

It's funny though, whenever I look in the mirror, I don't see anything at all. I wonder what that means?

};-)>

~ FreeThinke

Leticia said...

What happened to sticking with the basics and general curriculum?

Bastiatarian said...

On a related topic, here's an exchange from today's midterm.

Student (pointing to a multiple choice question): These two options are the same.

Me: No, read it again.

Student: They're the same. They just list the two things in a different order.

Me: Be sure to read the question carefully.

Student (after reading the question again): Uh huh?

Me (pointing to the word "respectively" in the question): This is the key.

Student (after staring at the word for about half a minute): What does "respectively" mean?

Me (already tired of coddling the student): Sorry, I can't tell you any more than that.

The student just made a sour face and clicked his tongue, then went back to the test.

Strange bit of trivia: The question asked most frequently during the midterm of this course over the past six or seven years that I've been teaching it is "What does 'paradox' mean?"

Nope, I don't tell them that either. If they don't know that, they need to go back to junior high.

Anonymous said...

Bastiatarian,

College today, apparently is what Junior High probably used to be in "your" day. I suspect it may be what fourth and fifth grade were in mine.

Our general levels of literacy, vocabulary and writing ability have disintegrating since the Sick-sties.

One of my friends from college just retired a year ago from a full professorship at the University of Massachusetts. The stories she reported about the dramatically declining standards she had to deal with over a forty year period were frankly heartbreaking.

My parents, who would be over a hundred years old if hey were alive today, never had the opportunity to attend college. My father was forced to go to work right after he finished eighth grade, yet their command of English was superb and their understanding of reality amazingly advanced and sophisticated. The public schools of that era gave them a good enough foundation to enable them to educate themselves as the years wore on. Both of them read obsessively, read aloud to me and to each other. From the way they presented themselves, you'd never have known they hadn't gone to college.

Kids entering graduate school today seem far less well informed, far less polished and have nowhere near the level of literacy my parents had.

Now why do you suppose that was the case?

~ FreeThinke

Finntann said...

B... try this one:

A paradox is two dox.

Cheers!

Finntann said...

Ducky, RISD is obviously the exception to the rule, consistently ranked as the top fine arts college in the US and one of the preeminent design schools in the world.

Trying to equate RISD to any other school is like trying to equate Harvard to the University of Bridgeport.

Most of the comments on degrees today are spot on, the number of college graduates who can't put a coherent thought on paper is really depressing, along with a pronounced proclivity for wanting to be spoon fed everything does not bode well.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

This post by Scotty is so good it deserves to be repeated:

Scotty said...

"Well Scotty, that's nice. The fact remains that you would be one of the first to denigrate an art school grad, something you couldn't handle."

"I'm amused by how you like to put words in peoples mouths, Ducky. With statements like that your snobbery shines like a beacon in the night.

"Unlike you Ducky, I would not denigrate anyone, especially someone that is seeking to improve themselves. I would give ANYONE a big atta boy for getting a degree in anything they would like to try and peruse. BUT, not all degrees are created equal and a degree guarantees nothing, that's the point.

"Hell, I would even venture to say you may have made a GOOD soldier, Ducky. I don't prejudge like you so often do."


That's a great criticism -- and kindly meant.

Naturally, then I agree.

~ FreeThinke

PS: My verification word is VALET. How about that? - FT

Anonymous said...

Finntann,

I know what you're saying, but I rather wish they would want to be "spoon fed". Too often, if you try it, they're very likely to spit it back in your face.

Since the Sick-sties introduced anarchy to the campus, teaching has largely become a thankless task.

Instead of listening and learning with respect and curiosity, too many want to argue with the teacher about the "relevancy" of the course work or just talk endlessly about their feelings. It's easier for teachers to give in than to stand up to the persistent pressure to remain ignorant and unproductive.

Jersey thinks I'm a fascist, but I can't see how anything worthwhile could ever be accomplished without strict adherence to an orderly, respectful code of conduct. The Sick-sties idea that inmates ought to be running the asylums and staff should be there to follow inmates' orders is palpably insane.

~ FreeThinke

Jersey McJones said...

I am extremely disappointed by this post and almost all the comments. I just can't imagine finding knowledge, and knowledge, "worthless." It's so fucking ignorant.

JMJ

Bastiatarian said...

>I just can't imagine finding knowledge, and knowledge, "worthless."

We're not talking about knowledge. We're talking about pseudo-scholarship. Pretend academic programs that are about emotions rather than truth. Anti-knowledge. Pretend knowledge. Pseudo-intellectualism. You know. Women's Studies programs and all the other "liberal" touchy-feely, rainbows-and-unicorns, "Oh, look at me! I'm so transgressive!" kind of programs that infest higher education, as well as the legitimate programs that have been remade into squishy leftist mush.

Always On Watch said...

Here in Northern Virginia, respect for certain vocations were well respected by the intellectual elite (those with advanced college degrees).

Once the college meme of college is for everyone came along, respect for the trades started eroding at a rapid pace.

Without mechanics, electricians, plumbers, and the like, we who so prize our intellectualism have to flounder around.

This fact was again brought home to me last night when my Crown Vic stranded me on the side of the road during peak rush hour on Friday evening -- a time of hell on the roads even in good weather. I know how to diagnose an automotive problem and even passed automotive certification on papaer, but swinging the wrench is something I never could learn to do -- probably because my spatial IQ is much lower than my verbal IQ. Most likely, the Crown Vic's fuel filter was clogged although the fuel pump was also a possibility because of the age of the vehicle; I won't go into the details as to how I made that diagnosis. Indeed, my diagnosis will be confirmed or debunked on Monday.

A kind three piece suit stopped to see if I needed any help. But he knew less than I about the ins and outs of the internal combustion engine and so stated. Now, if I were able to change a fuel filter, I could be saving a boat load of buck. As the situation was, I had to (1) phone a tow truck and (2) arrange for a ride home from the gas station that does all repairs on my vehicles. The latter was a real pisser as the family member I was forced to call bitched at me over the phone and all the way home.

Enough personal stuff. I refer any interested to read about Howard Garner's theory of multiple intelligences. Our education system hasn't really learned how to tap into that theory. As Z mentioned, the European model of education surpasses the one that we have in America.

Always On Watch said...

I grew up in the household with a father who was a master mechanic and a mother who was a statistician. Today, the knowledge that my mother used for her career would require a college education.

Dad, who was on occasional consulted by Mercedes Benz fellows sent from Germany, dropped out of high school in 10th grade in 1927, but he was one of the finest mechanics in the region. And everyone knew so!

He was well respected by the intellectual community in general until the early 1960s; after that, the three piece suits looked down on him -- until they engaged him in an intellectual conversation about history or philosophy, at which point they found out that their PhD's didn't provide them any more intellectual facility than Dad had. And what was that? Dad had an excellent basic education. Even after he left the classroom, he read, read, read. In college as a junior, I started getting snooty about attending college, Dad helped me out of a couple of academic messes in history and philosophy when I was all balled up. And when I got all balled up in my computer programming class, my grandmother with only an 8th grade education got a copy of the textbook and set up a tutoring session with me to rescue me from failing the course. My grandmother apparently had "the imprint" for computer programming; that imprint was fine tuned when IBM trained her when she entered the work force at the age of 45 -- with no computer experience whatsoever. She did have watch-making experience. On her first day on the job at the Veterans Administration, she tore the back off the mainframe and rewired the board so that the machine worked more efficiently. The little old lady from the hills of Tennessee, the little old lady who said "you is" and "you was," stunned all the experts, I can tell you.

I clearly remember when the switch to respecting Dad and dissing Dad (and the trade of automotive mechanic) occurred because I heard it from my friends and their parents. They harped on his dirty fingernails and called him "grease monkey." Dad took it all in stride and said, "Some people don't have anything to think with." And he sent them away, only for them to find out that the fancy garage up the street charged and arm and a leg without fixing their cars the first time.

liberaldude said...

I love how the right demonizes education whenever they can. The GOP is making it harder and harder to go to college, like it was in the 50's only the rich can go.

They know if the masses are educated they will see through their shameless lies.

Simple truth: If you're educated, you vote Dem, if you're a dumkfk, you vote GOP.

Z said...

"Jersey McJones said...
I am extremely disappointed by this post and almost all the comments. I just can't imagine finding knowledge, and knowledge, "worthless." It's so fucking ignorant"

Can you show where anybody said that? thanks.


Silverfiddle...congratulations on Liberaldude's attendance! I keep asking him who's paying him to stop by our blogs (He hasn't one)...I think we'll get a lot more of this before the election.

Liberaldude....do you know how dumb that sounds? Conservatives "demonize" education because we're trying SO HARD to get students to get educations which will make them happy, self-supporting Americans? WOW. Remember the days of a MAJOR and a MINOR? We MAJORED in something productive, job-provoking...we often MINORED in something wonderful like philosophy or art...that worked then.
And CRAFTSMANSHIP, learning a TRADE, is NOT disdaining education.

Finntann said...

Liberal Dude, try it this way:

If you're indoctrinated you vote Dem, if you're educated you're just plain pissed off about the whole situation.

For those with an actual education realize that there is not an infinite amount of money to fund all of your entitlement pipe dreams, buy all your votes, and pay off all your cronies.

Believe me, we would all love to live in an idyllic utopia with free food, free housing, and free medical care. We would love to be able to work a few hours a day and spend the rest of the time off pursuing the arts, music, philosphy, and the like.

If we had a vast surplus of money I'd be happy to discuss how best to allocate to improve the lives of the people, but our infrastructure is crumbling, basic government services are inept, and our politicians are fiddling (as Rome burns... sad state of affairs that I feel I actually have to complete that statement and not leave it just at fiddling).

We as educated realists look at the data and all your utopian idealism has ever produced is absolute misery and horror. We understand that you could tax all income over 250,000 at 100% and still not have the money to pay for what you want.

My challenge remains unanswered to this day: Point at a successful socialist/marxist/communist state that has elevated the position of its citizens rich and poor to the level of western civilizaation and I'll be happy to reconsider my position.

Finntann said...

Jersey, if you pay closer attention you will see that we are not bitching about knowledge and education but about the fact that far too too many of us come out of our post-secondary educational system with virtually no education at all.

The graduates don't know how to think, write, or learn on their own. The point of an education is to teach you how to learn.. it doesn't stop with a piece of paper and a pat on the back.

A favorite question of mine to ask candidates in job interviews is "What have you learned since you got out of schoool?" and you should see the looks on their faces and hear their stammering answers.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Good morning, AOW. Whether you intended to or not, you have confirmed most of what I said about my own family background -- and the way things used to be before the Sick-sties. Not only did you confirm it, you expanded on it with eloquent, convincing testimony.

The idea that "IQ" is the only significant measure of a person's fundamental worth and capacity is idiotic. everyone with any sense ought to be able to see that for himself. May God forever bless the practical men and women who produce what we need without rancor or greed, make things run, get things done, keep things clean so they're fit to be seen, and continuously smooth the way so that we may live more comfortably every day.

It used to be rare for anyone to "go to college." In those days "college" was an experience meant only for those with rare gifts, genuine intellectual curiosity, a penchant for scholarship, and also, I'm afraid, a place where people of means could send their sons and daughters to receive the kind of "polish" then required so they could take their place in "society."

It's a funny thing, but once something is made readily available to "everybody," and "anybody," it soon gets cheapened and degraded and quickly loses first its edge, then its meaning. Very sadly that seems to be what has happened to what-passes-for "higher education" these days.

I wasn't kidding when I said an eighth grade education in the "old" days made students better equipped to be useful, productive citizens than an undergraduate degree in too many "junior" and "community" colleges today.

I'm all for equal opportunity for everyone, but I abhor egalitarianism. I truly believe humanity is structured in such a way that we are all destined by Nature to play certain roles in what-I-could-only-describe-as a Natural Hierarchy. Humankind is in many ways constructed to live in super-refined, a tremendously complex version of the hive.

~ FreeThinke

(CONTINUED)

Anonymous said...

If human society were an orchestra, some are needed to play the violin, the viola, the cello and the double bass, others the clarinet, others the flute, others the tympani, others the trumpet, others the French horn, others the celeste, and so on ... Except in the rarest of incidences, these roles are NOT interchangeable. It's important to remember too that there can only be one conductor, and everyone in the group must agree to follow his lead. If each member of the orchestra just "did his own thing" cacophony -- musical chaos -- would ensue.

And so it is with society. To belabor the analogy further the "orchestra" not only needs players and a conductor, it also needs people to compose the music, prepare and print the scores, music librarians to keep track of the printed scores. An orchestra certainly needs a building with good acoustics in which to rehearse and perform. The building needs to be equipped and maintained. Someone -- or a group of "someones" -- has to administer the care and feeding of the building. Knowledgeable people must be given the authority to plan a series of programs with the conductor, set dates, make rehearsal schedules, plan tours. Others are needed to make sure all members of the orchestra and the staff that supports them are fed, housed and clothed. Everyone involved must have adequate means of transportation, etc., etc., etc.

And THEN -- ta ta ta TA ta TAH! -- there must be an AUDIENCE to enjoy the fruits of all these labors. That's where the "aristocracy" comes in. THEY are every bit as necessary to the proper functioning of an "orchestra" as the composers, conductors, players, and all the rest of the necessary components of a working organization.

Don't you see? EVERYBODY involved is highly significant. There is no part of this highly organic system that could be deemed unnecessary or unimportant. BUT the idea that janitors, purveyors of food, music librarians and builders are operating on precisely the SAME LEVEL as the COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS and PLAYERS is ludicrous.

As for the "aristocrats," whom everyone seems to want to dispense with today, It is their need to be entertained, their desire for improved social status, and their MONEY that provided the impetus for the whole shebang in the first place.

No analogy is perfect, of course, but there may be merit to this one, even though “life” is far more complicated than even the finest symphony orchestra could ever hope to be.

What I’ve said, however, is fundamentally true not only of the symphony orchestra, it’s true of farms, factories, schools, churches, clubs, theaters, service organizations -- and any other conglomeration of human beings who get together for a particular purpose.

If the paradigm works for every sort of organization, why shouldn’t it also hold true for every other aspect of life, as well?

~ FreeThinke

Alligator said...

A lot of kids should just skip college, go to a technical school and learn physical skills like carpentry, masonry, plumbing, auto mechanics and HVAC etc. Liberal arts degrees are increasingly worth ZIP in today's world. Unless you can get job as a college professor, where are you going to get work with a degree in Philosophy or Women's Studies? Or how about a BS in Puppetry Art? Not a lot of opportunity out there for those things.

Jersey McJones said...

Z,

""Jersey McJones said...
I am extremely disappointed by this post and almost all the comments. I just can't imagine finding knowledge, and knowledge, "worthless." It's so fucking ignorant"

Can you show where anybody said that? thanks."

Z, did you happen to actually read Silver's post? Look at it again. It's sited and cited, too.

Bastiat,

All knowledge has value.

For Christ's sake man, you sound like a friggin' backwards Catholic afraid of the big bad apple!

JMJ

Bastiatarian said...

>All knowledge has value.

Okay, I'll try again, more slowly.

We're not talking about knowledge.
We're talking about pseudo-scholarship.
Pretend academic programs that are about emotions rather than truth.
Anti-knowledge.
Pretend knowledge.
Pseudo-intellectualism.
You know. Women's Studies programs and all the other "liberal" touchy-feely, rainbows-and-unicorns, "Oh, look at me! I'm so transgressive!" kind of programs that infest higher education, as well as the legitimate programs that have been remade into squishy leftist mush.

Nothing in that asserts or even implies a lack of value in knowledge. Just the opposite, in fact. Knowledge is good. Emoting instead of reasoning is bad. Women's Studies, etc., etc., and etc., are about emoting, not knowledge or reason.

I stated it in simple English, so there's not much more I can do for you. (Sorry, I'm not interested in remedial teaching.)

Z said...

JMJ: Not sure what you mean there, but it surely isn't CITED anywhere in SF's post that he doesn't value all education , arts or sciences, unless you have a hankering for considering Lesbian Dance EDUCATION worth of a university class?
He's saying some degrees don't pay well..........that's news to you?

Anonymous said...

Bastiat, If you don't want do remedial teaching, why not make a joke of it?

Tell 'em "respectively" means "with mutual respect."

If you told 'em the truth, it would probably fall on deaf ears anyway.

OTOH, you might bet sued for "malpractice" by some cunning type always looking for ways to use his intelligence to undermine and punish authority. "Perversity is so "kewel," don't you know?

~ FreeThinke

Best to put it on the board in big block letters and tell 'em to look it up.

Anonymous said...

Z, some of the liberal posters think they "know" what we're going to say before we say it, and so they don't believe it's necessary to read what we write. That's why so often false conclusions get drawn, and before you know it everyone's "off to the races" focusing on the poster who said something wrong, instead of staying on the topic at hand.

Using diversionary tactics to get people so confused or irate it keeps them off balance is standard operating procedure for the left, although I don't think Jersey is guilty of that degree of guile. I think he's just overeager to jump to conclusions without really knowing what he's talking about.

Lots of us are. One of the problems with chat room communication is that so many are so anxious to make themselves heard theye forget-- or don't bother -- to listen. So, we wind up mired in redundancy and talking at cross purposes about things that don't really matter.

A pattern to avoid, I should think.

~ FreeThinke

Scotty said...

Opps put it in the wrong post, here it is again..

Lots of us are. One of the problems with chat room communication is that so many are so anxious to make themselves heard theye forget-- or don't bother -- to listen. So, we wind up mired in redundancy and talking at cross purposes about things that don't really matter.

I said it elsewhere FT, conversations in this arena can often times be like arguing religion and politics in a barroom full of drunks!

Jersey McJones said...

Z, are you for real? Have you still not read Silver's post???

Cited, as in citation, AND sited, as in linked.

Dude. WT...

JMJ

MK said...

Not only is higher education becoming more unaffordable, but getting that degree is also becoming a sign of having a skull full of useless leftist shit.

Thankfully it's not all those leaving universities these days, but it is becoming an uncomfortable number.

Always On Watch said...

FreeThinke,
once something is made readily available to "everybody," and "anybody," it soon gets cheapened and degraded and quickly loses first its edge, then its meaning.

And standards get dramatically lowered.

an eighth grade education in the "old" days made students better equipped to be useful, productive citizens than an undergraduate degree in too many "junior" and "community" colleges today.

Back in the 1960s, my mother discovered in her niece's math college course the very same easy problem that was in Mom's 6th or 7th grade math textbook. Mom's niece was taking second semester freshman math at a well respected private college -- not some remedial course at a "loser" college.