Wednesday, May 24, 2006


There have been a couple of incidents that have caused me to contemplate education lately. Not intelligence, but education. I know lots of intelligent people. I also know some well educated people. Some of them wear their education like a Miss America sash.

They say stuff like "I don't watch "American Idol". I've been too busy with planning events for my local Mensa meeting." Now I don't watch "American Idol" either. But that's because I'm watching "Criminal Minds" or "CSI New York". It's a matter of preferring a good crime drama over Simon Crowell.

Scholarship is a noble goal. Certainly there are those academics for whom the pursuit of greater knowledge is their entire life work. Generally speaking they are one hit wonders. They can speak for hours on the cultural significance and impact of 17th century Russian poets using only iambic pentameter, but for all they know Limp Bizkit is a culinary mistake at high tea.

I find the angst and consternation over "American Idol" and "Survivor" dull. But I would rather spend an evening with people who are well informed on both of those than an academic who is proud of his/her ignorance on those two topics.

Vapid thought and conversation is not the dominion of the uneducated. Ignorance comes in many forms. I may not know anything about 17th century Russian poets, iambic pentameter not withstanding. But I know who the "American Idol" finalists are tonight. That doesn't mean I care who they are and who wins, but I can name them.

Basic education should be broad and varied. Higher education should delve deeper into that broad and varied education. It makes you more interesting. When one holds only a certain area of knowledge in higher esteem to the dismissal of the rest, it doesn't elevate one in the eyes of others. It just makes one tiresome.

1 comment:

Dirpus said...

I think I've been slammed for making fun of liberal arts majors.

At least I FEEL guilty.