My Internal Tweet Monologue During “Divergent”

No mystery behind teen apocalypse phenom: Your feelings are literally the center of the world & u get hot bf. SOLD.

Gasp! It’s Rose! Where’s Jack, Rose? Where’s Jack? Still in the ocean where u let him freeze and die? #1997 #NeverForget

No one ever mentioned Skrillex in the books. Who’s making this music? The Factionless? Are they on Spotify?

Woah. I think maybe I think Eric is kind of hot. I feel bad but… #notsorry We aren’t here for the Kafkaesque whatever shut up

Oh and we’re going to listen to @EllieGoulding again now? Ellie and Skillrex music alone survived the war yay? #blessed

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)> How are you telling the difference between Will, Peter and Al? They are being played by different actors, right?

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>  Ohh girl get some.

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>  Hurry up and get some.

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>  Get some or I’m going to jump up there and do it for you

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>  Good Job #HighFive

Zipline… Zipline… I’m graining on that line, graining on that line I’m swerving on that swerving on that zipline.

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>  I know @AnselElgort is your brother this time but I’m DYING for The Fault In Our Stars so this is awkward but:

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>  I’m DYING. Get it? #TFiOS #LetsCry

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>  I wouldn’t be able to handle people watching me take a test either-

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>  Oh that was bad. It was so bad I’m going to burst into flames FOR you.

WoahWoahWoah WAIT

WHAT

ZING! If being Divergent doesn’t work out @<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)> is all set for being “the funny one.”

@<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>  Don’t let him have that gun this movie is not THAT great you know what’s going to happen if-

Well. Yeah.

…excuse me?

*REDACTED: SPOILERS*

*REDACTED: SPOILERS, INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE*

*REDACTED: SPOILERS, INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE, SOMETHING ABOUT A BODY PART*

@DxIxVxExRxGxExNxT  BITCH DID YOU EVEN READ THE BOOK?

If Kate Winslet took off her clothes and started reading to a German kid right now I’d be more comfortable than I am with this.

This movie has Problems, but I kind of loved it anyway. Fun to watch, Fun to make fun of later.

And yes I saw the steaming pile of demon shit that was The Mortal Instruments movie. No guilty pleasure there. Only despair.

Sooooooo…. who’s going with me to see it again this weekend? @<(^v^)>ItsTris<(^v^)><(^v^)>? I know you’re just hanging out. Text me.

The squees, gasps, lols and omfgs from the teens in the theater are part of the experience. Just let it soak in.

I for one welcome our new teenage overlords, @shailenewoodley and @AnselElgort.

Lisa Olson

How to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day When You’re One-Sixteenth Irish

• Wear green shoelaces.

• Put a spoonful of Lucky Charms in your Cheerios.

• Gargle with Jameson, then spit it out.

• Listen to Bonnie Raitt sing “A Stór Mo Chroí” with the Chieftains.

• Look at the Blarney Stone. Think about walking over and saying hi.

• Instead of watching a whole parade, ask your next-door neighbor to throw a handful of candy at you and yell, “Erin go Bragh!” as he backs out of the driveway.

• Dye a puddle green.

• Order fries from the dollar menu at McDonald’s.

• Make a step dance line that’s one person long.

• Have one child.

- One, and only one, of Jay Gabler’s great-great-grandparents was from Ireland.

From The Tangential archives: March 2012

“The Grand Budapest Hotel”: A breakneck caper that breaks your heart

If only The Grand Budapest Hotel had arrived a month earlier. Only now, when those of us in northern climes are finally emerging from a three-month deep freeze, are we granted the balm of Wes Anderson’s winter movie—a film set among lavish European resorts that invite visitors to lounge among romantic vistas of whitecapped mountains.

Not that it’s an escapist film, though it seems that way for the first hour-plus of its brief running time. At first it seems to be a live-actionFantastic Mr. Fox, a baroque caper film for grown-ups; but in the end, The Grand Budapest Hotel proves to be an elegiac ode to one of the many times and places when it seemed like humanity might be able to have nice things—like luxurious hotels, yes, but also like decency and peace.

A prominent end credit acknowledges the film’s debt to the writings of Austrian author Stefan Zweig (1881-1942). It’s little surprise that Anderson is captivated by Zweig, whose novels involve situations like a chessmasters’ rivalry on a cruise ship, a mysterious letter from an unknown woman who had a doomed affair with a prominent writer, and a doctor from Leipzig who goes to practice medicine in Indonesia only to encounter a Dutch merchant’s wife who wants a discreet abortion. Reading Zweig’s plot summaries, you can almost populate them with Anderson’s cast of regulars.

In The Grand Budapest Hotel, the heroes are a concierge of legendary skill (Ralph Fiennes) and a lobby boy (Tony Revolori, in a block-lettered hat designating his job) who have to keep a priceless painting that was willed to the concierge by his deceased, elderly, fabulously wealthy lover (Tilda Swinton) from the grasping hands of her wicked extended family. This involves escapades including a prison break, a high-speed downhill ski/sled chase, and a cliffside confrontation with the family’s thuggish assassin (Willem Defoe).

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) was so sweet and simple that it seemed to open new possibilities for Anderson as a storyteller. The Grand Budapest Hotel puts Anderson squarely back in his accustomed territory; it’s reminiscent most strongly of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), a portrait of a middle-aged man who effortlessly sustains a highly eccentric lifestyle even as it becomes increasingly clear that his entire life is a period piece.

Grand Budapest Hotel is missing Life Aquatic’s infinite whimsy and vivid characterizations—as well as, most significantly, the presence of Bill Murray in a starring role—but nonetheless, it packs several ordinary films’ worth of flair into a breakneck caper that never bores. (Or, if you’re not in the pro-Anderson camp, never ceases to bore.)

Given how swift and silly Grand Budapest Hotel feels, it comes as a surprise when the film wraps up and we proceed back through the layers of narrative Anderson uses to frame the central story. (In a subtle nod to film history, as the film cuts backwards through time, its aspect ratio changes to reflect that common to the era being depicted—so much of Grand Budapest Hotel, like all of Gone With the Wind, is in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio rather than the 2.35:1 aspect ratio that’s standard today.)

Explicitly invoking the march of history, Anderson reminds us that the things we hold most dear will inevitably crumble to dust and be forgotten. All the more reason to cherish them today, and to enjoy—as Fiennes does—liberal helpings of sex and whiskey.

Jay Gabler

Katie Drunk Blogs Cosmos

In which Katie drinks every time she feels confused by how unconfused she is by her sexual feelings toward Neil Degrasse Tyson, and occasionally quotes her friends.

Opening act featuring President Barack Obama, who’s all “DANGIT GO TO SPACE, GUYS. WE GOTTA BRING BACK SPACE STUFF.”

“Build on evidence that passes the test, reject what fails.” NDT flips a big ol’ middle finger to Intelligent Design before minute two.

Donavon: “Brannon Braga! He’s what made Star Trek: Voyager suck more than Deep Space 9!”

Daaaaaamn, if watching Sagan’s Cosmos was enhanced by smoking weed, then getting high and watching NDT’s will FUCKING SCARE YOUR BRAIN RIGHT OUT OF ITS BRAIN BUCKET.

I think this only serves to reaffirm what I’ve argued since childhood: space is absolutely terrifying.

I’m calling bullshit. Any spaceship hurtling through Saturn’s rings would be pulverized in seconds. I JUST CAN’T TAKE THIS SHOW SERIOUSLY ANYMORE.

If there was a planet in space for every Pizza Roll I’ve ever had in my life, then daaaaaaaaaaang that’s a lot of planets.

I wonder how many bathrooms are on NDT’s crazy ass spaceship that looks like a Google Maps pin.

Cosmos just makes me want to find anybody on planet Earth who thinks they’re special, smack them in the face, and yell “PERSPECTIVE, BITCH!” Kanye West? “PERSPECTIVE, BITCH!” Ted Cruz? “PERSPECTIVE, BITCH!” Pope Benedict XVI? … nah, he’s chill.

OH MY GOD BUT WHAT IF YOU WERE DRUNK IN SPACE.

Galileo Galilei was the original Bad Luck Brian.

…but Giordano Bruno was like Bad Luck Brian’s dad.

Look, I like cartoons and shit, but can we get back to the outer space area? I get enough historical context every day of my life while I’m feeding bits of my soul piece by piece to my dissertation on 17th century England.

NDT’s spaceship looks like God sneezed out a lil’ shiny space booger.

Dang, NDT! If your desk calendar is that big, how big is your desk?!

NEIL GET OUT OF THAT FOREST ASTEROIDS ARE COMIN’ FOR YOUR ASS DUDE.

Handsome Bro Walking Through a Big Forest with a Black Suit on: the Katie Sisneros’s Dream Man Story.

If the Cosmic Calendar analogy doesn’t make you want to literally shit your pants with a science-punch of perspective to your mind-face, pummeling your brain-dumbs with a space-hammer of truth-pain, then you’re just a dummy.

Uh oh. UH OH. Neil is telling the story about how he met Carl Sagan. UH OH. MAYDAY. MAYDAY, GUYS. DRUNK KATIE IS GONNA CRY. OH SHIT IT’S HAPPENING OH GOD QUICK LICK MY FACE I THINK MY TEARS ARE WHISKEY.

tl;dr: in the beginning, the universe decided to start being a thing.

-Katie Sisneros

Lift and Reporter: 2 Apps That Track My Life and Make Me a Better Person

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When I was younger, I used to journal a lot. I had this idea that someday I would want to go through all my journals and learn the long-forgotten secrets of my youth. I was wrong indeed about that. The minutiae of what I thought about 11th-grade boys turned out not to be something I’ve grown up to reach for. Having logs of dense paragraphs about my personal feelings started to feel kind of like having a closet full of old, junk. “I should go through it all someday, but I never have time …”

What is more enticing to me now is this idea of the quantified self. Apps thats make it easy to track what you are doing and actually turn that into meaningful, motivating data are a much easier, more fun way to understand myself. I’ve been using my Jawbone UP band for a long time to track my activity and sleep, and I’ve now added two more apps to my home screen (where the best apps get to go). These are Lift and Reporter, which, strangely enough, paint completely different pictures of who I am as a person. Both though, help motivate me to make sure I’m actually doing what I want with my life, and I suggest you try them too.

Lift:

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Lift is incredibly simple. It’s a list of daily goals that you get to check off, and it lets you see at a glance at how often you’re doing them. I added a few goals to mine: study a language for half hour, work on my book for half hour, vegan before 6, floss, go to gym, walk to work, etc. Quickly, I found many uses for the app:

1. Feeling Better About Myself

I’m very competitive with myself when it comes to how I use my time and what I’m getting done. I quantify my time after work into 30 minute “units” just like that guy in About a Boy because it helps me get as much done as possible. This app actually had the strange effect of making me realize I can never get everything done in a day, but even on days when I feel lazy, I manage to at least accomplish a few of my goals. Sure maybe on weekend day I will be around people all day, but goddamit if I didn’t floss, play Duolingo, clean the apartment and read for half hour. And that’s better than nothing.

2. Getting that Refund for Going to the Gym

Before having Lift, I almost never got back the $20 I get if I go to L.A. Fitness 12 times a month. After getting this app, I have managed to get it every month (except one in which I switched my health insurance). Lift lets me easily see how many times I’m going to the gym and stay motivated to go more often. I get the satisfaction of checking something off my list, which is something. It’s extra gratifying because it’s not a work or school to-do list but a list of things I’m intrinsically motivated to do.

3. Actually Writing a Book

I’ve wanted to write a book since I was like 14 and now I’m actually doing it. I just put in the goal of “work on book for 30 minutes” and have actually started doing it almost every day. 30 minutes may not seem like much but after about 6 months I’ve gotten to about 60,000 words, which is basically book-length.

Am I starting to sound insufferable? Well, Lift makes you feel like a way better person. (Although it never quite motivated me to do vegan before 6. I just can’t enjoy vegan food really. And it’s expensive.)

Now, let’s switch to an app that paints a different picture of myself.

Reporter:

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Reporter app was created by Nicholas Felton, who is famous for tracking everything he does and creating beautiful, quantified reports of his life. You should read the whole story behind the app here. It’s quite interesting. He designed Reporter app to help you start documenting your life in a simple, elegant way that’s one or two steps away from automation.

What you do is program your own report, including the questions you want it to ask you and how it keeps track of the data. You can create a report for when you wake up, to ask you things like how you slept, what you dreamed about and what you want to accomplish, and one before bed to help you think on what you accomplished that day and what you’re grateful for or whatever you would otherwise be journaling in a long-winded manner. The beauty is that here you can just rattle off a couple words, and see all your answers at a glance.

One of the most interesting questions for me has been the simple “What are you doing?” question. After using the app for about a week, I was tickled to see that most of my “what are you doings” were watching some t.v. show or another or eating something. But hey the Lift app says I’m so productive! This one is saying I’m lazy and gluttonous! I realized there was some error in that I was more likely to do a report if I was at home doing nothing than if I was in the middle of a meeting at work, but I’ve been trying to do them more in the latter circumstance to get a fuller picture of my life. Nonetheless, it does make me more self aware of how much time I’m spending actually notdoing anything productive.

The data visualization is nothing to write home about yet, and the app takes some time to learn how to use. (For example, I assumed it would just ask me “wake” questions around the time I usually woke up and “asleep” questions around the time I usually go to sleep, but I eventually realized I had to manually toggle that option. Can’t it coordinate with Jawbone and learn these things! Maybe soon.)

But small problems with the app right now are really only places for it to grow. I can only see it getting cooler. Both of these apps do the magic of taking something complicated and making it easy, simple and fun. And because of that, I’m a little bit obsessed with them. You should try them too.

-Becky Lang

Disney Characters Who Deserve Slow Claps

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Baddest Bitch: Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty)

You almost have to respect the pure evil that this chick brings to the table. First of all, who walks around with a magical staff and a pet raven?! And who names that pet raven DIABLO? That’s some seriously #dark, Edgar Allen Poe-type shit right there. Like, we all have that insane aunt that we purposely try to exclude from family functions, and she’ll respond with a passive-aggressive Facebook post, or whatever. Maleficent don’t play that. She will straight-up curse your ass with a 16-year death spell.

Most Metrosexual: Peter Pan (Peter Pan)

From a sartorial perspective, Peter Pan is like the fairytale version of Johnny Weir. Peter was always flying around in that dope hipster fedora with the feather in its cap, that fetch leather belt and matching dagger holster, pointed-toe boots, and olive-colored tights that look like they may have inspired every pant Lululemon has ever produced. You take an independent dude who knows how to dress AND KNOWS HOW TO FLY, and it’s game over. No wonder Wendy was so warm for his form.

Most BFF Potential: Baloo (The Jungle Book)

Aside from the fact that he’s, um, a bear, Baloo seems remarkably laid-back for a traditionally intimidating creature. Perhaps he stumbled upon some killer herbal refreshments in the depths of the jungle (he does espouse living off the land in “The Bare Necessities”). Or maybe he’s on a perpetual Deepak Chopra kick. Whatever the reason, you can’t deny that it would be excellent to share a beer or three with homebear. Especially since he’d probably send you texts the next morning like, “Woke up in a grass skirt, WTF?” or “Did we join a drum circle last night, brother? LOL.” He’s pretty much the Matthew McConaughey of the Disney universe.

Best “Irish Goodbye-er”: Cinderella (Cinderella)

Cinderella inadvertently pioneered the “Playing Hard to Get” approach. By bouncing on the ball before midnight instead immediately shacking up with Prince Charming, she captured his attention in a big way that encouraged his pursuit. Everybody knows that dudes want what they can’t have, and this goes double for dudes who are princes, and as such are used to getting whatever they want whenever they want it. Cindy taught us that leaving unexpectedly and without warning—or, as they say, executing an “Irish Goodbye”—isn’t always a terrible idea.

Ultimate Bro: Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)

When he wasn’t participating in spitting matches or tromping around wearing boots, he was picking things up and putting them down all day in his poor provincial town. Today, you’d be sure to find this animated French meathead (better known as “G” to his boys) grunting at Planet Fitness in preparation for a big night of fist-pumping—Red Bull and Vodka in hand—at the club. Sure, it’s not explicitly stated in the movie, but we can all surmise that the REAL reason Belle rejected his marriage proposal was because he owned more hair products than she did.

Most Gangster: Winnie the Pooh (Winnie the Pooh)

There are two very notable things that are extremely odd, but make Pooh Bear endlessly endearing: 1) the dude gives zero fucks about anything except for honey and his crew, and 2) HE NEVER, EVER WEARS PANTS. OR UNDERROOS. A shirt that almost never covers his belly button? Sure. But pants? Never. And thing is, nobody ever, ever calls him out on it. He just wanders around, being super chill and crushing porcelain containers of honey without anything covering his genitals. You’ve got to be pretty intimidating to pull off some next-level shit like that. Everybody around Hundred Acre Wood is intimidated by Pooh—‘Topher Robin included.

Hugest Hater: Drizella (Cinderella)

What a miserable little troll, just trying to steal Cindy’s shine. You’ve heard of “bitchy resting face,” right? It’s a little known fact that Drizzy actually inspired the phrase. In addition to throwing regular shade at everyone and generally being a heinous shrew, this evil stepsister snatches our girl’s necklace and rips her ball gown to shreds like she’s auditioning for The Real Housewives of Fantasyland. Speaking of which, her sole aim in life is to marry rich and become a socialite. I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but…

Best Goatee: Jafar (Aladdin)

Jafar is a huge douche bag with zero redeeming qualities who was essentially Scar from The Lion King in human form, but damn—he knows how to rock finely sculpted facial hair. It’s easy to see at first glance that Jafar was all over maintaining that thing, from the pencil thin mustache all the way to the long, curly-cued chin hair.

Best Bra: Ariel (The Little Mermaid)

Disney movies are strange for young boys to watch, because although the female characters are animated and clearly not real, they are drawn by some perverse cartoonists who make them look super womanly in a mostly anatomically correct way. Which can stir feelings of lust and arousal before young boys are old enough to even know what in the hell is going on. Scott’s probably not the only kid who was mesmerized at an early age by Ariel’s rack, which was contained only by a bra made from two gigantic seashells. (He doesn’t want to get into how he felt re: her having a mermaid’s tail and no legs. Talk about a wet dream!)

Coolest (Typically) Inanimate Object: Lumière (Beauty and the Beast)

Few can resist the allure of a French accent. And when it’s a candelabra with a French accent? Shut it down. A luminary with numerous talents, he not only plays matchmaker for Beauty and the Beast, but also basically organizes a full flash mob and multi-course gourmet meal while he’s at it. Don’t get me started on the time he mobilized the castle’s troops against that asshole Gaston and his bro posse. Lumière’s pimp game is strong, and he knows it.

- Scott Muska and Kim Windyka

Thoughts While Browsing Men on Tinder

All of his photos are angled downward. Which means he’s probably shorter than everyone who’s ever taken a picture of him ever.

Cargo shorts? Ok, I guess…

Not sure if he’s the subject of this Tinder account, or if the fish he’s holding is.

The fact that there are fifteen other men in your main picture means I can’t trust you with simple internet stuff, and if I can’t trust you with simple internet stuff you’re basically as useless as an avocado slicer.

You seem like exactly the kind of dude my mom would ultimately end up being right about.

SERIOUSLY THOUGH WHAT’S WITH ALL THE CARGO SHORTS.

The woman in one of your pictures is prettier than me, so thanks for ruining my day, asshole.

Alright, Peace Signs McGee, who do you think you are? A Japanese highschooler on a field trip?

You’re actually good looking, but I don’t think you’d think I am, so I’m gonna “nope” you on the assumption you’ve already done the same.

KCCO? KCCNo.

The only thing we have in common is we both like The Beatles, which is so broad that you could be a serial killer for all I know. And I just can’t take that chance.

Flannel pic, yay! Another flannel pic, oh boy! ROLLED UP SLEEVES flannel pic! Now we’re getting somewhere. Wait, a fourth flannel pic? Jesus dude, chill out.

If I ever meet you in person, I’m going to ask you what you think “living life to the fullest” means. And if you answer with anything other than “Nothing, it’s a completely hollow phrase devoid of any contextual merit, but seemed innocuous enough to attract a wide swath of comfortably bland women,” I’m going to flick you in the ear.

You look like Jeff Goldblum. I’m…okay with that?

Wait, we both liked each other? Well now what? Ugh, God this is SO much work.

For some reason, this picture says to me “I want to cuddle in bed and eat chicken nuggets while we watch Spaceballs.” Better trust my instincts and say “Yep.”

Your “About” section only has your snapchat name. S’cool, I get it, Tinder is just your nudie pic scheduling app.

OH MY GOD PUT A SHIRT ON WERE YOU BORN IN A BARN.

I dunno, your nose sits a little too high on your face. Oh god, what kind of person am I? Who the fuck says that about another human? Am I actually this picky? Do I actually care about such superficial things? Am I going to die alone? I mean I have met some horriblepeople with atrocious personalities who are in relationships. What does that say about me? I swear to Christ if one of my little sisters gets married before me I will go full-blown Carrie on her at the ceremony. No I won’t, that’s TERRIBLE! Why would I say that?! TINDER WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME.

-Katie Sisneros

Why Can’t We Cast Actors That Play Their Own Nationality, Race or Sexual Orientation More Often?

The Oscars are tomorrow, so this seems like as good a time as any to talk about this. Why is it that in the year 2014, we can’t more often cast actors that represent some kind of minority (or just something other than white, American English speaking straight people) more accurately? There are three obvious benefits of doing so:

1. We get rid of tone deaf portrayals of different accents, genders and sexual orientations. American actors perfecting horrible Russian accents can become a thing of the past! Hello actual Russian actors.

2. We can open ourselves up to more authentic portrayals of people who do not fall into the norm.

3. We can give minority actors who may have a hard time getting parts a chance to play parts written about them, rather than say giving them to people like Jared Leto.

People are generally furious at Jared Leto’s portrayal of a transgender woman in Dallas Buyer’s Club, yet it’s predicted that he’ll win best supporting actor for the role. Why is he likely to win? Well, it is thought that mastering the inflections and mannerisms of someone very different from yourself is what makes someone a great actor.

And yeah maybe it does. (Whether or not you truly believe Leto actually mastered the role.) But maybe people don’t care about that anymore. Maybe people now want authenticity over “great acting” as defined by a generation that grew up when blackface was still ok.

Generally, we’re starting to beg the question – why laud actors for mastering accents and impressions when we could just hire more types of actors? Isn’t a role played by a French person always going to be better than a role played by an American actress who we thiiiink maaay have a good French accent? Isn’t it awkward that Cuban character Linda Vasquez on House of Cards is played by Indian American actress Sakina Jaffrey? Can’t shows challenge us to expect a bit more authenticity in characters?

In a time when shows are still primarily written and directed by white people, minority actors can actually bring real authenticity to their lines, their roles and the way they are portrayed. We need that.

-Becky Lang

Automated Messages You Can Use BroApp to Send to Your Best Bro

“Sup, bro.”

“How was your day, bro?”

“What side’s it hanging on today? I’m leaning starboard.”

“Got some beers, bro? I’ve got a coupla bongos.”

“What Axe scent did you go with today, bro? I went with Touch, but I think I’m feeling Phoenix for Tuesday.”

“You’re in my thoughts, bro. :)”

“What has two thumbs and isn’t using them to send this text?”

“Skype me, bro.”

“Can’t wait to fist-bump with u tonite.”

[randomly chosen Vanilla Ice lyrics]

“DA BEARS”

“Want to get some wings later, bro? Don’t wuss out on me!”

“Miss u, bro.”

Jay Gabler

Humanities faculty and students around the world have been hot under the collar in the wake of Obama’s recent comments suggesting that you don’t have to major in art history if you go to college. After a furor erupted among humanities scholars, Obama apologized in a hand-written note.
Scholars in the humanities tend to be sensitive about suggestions that their fields of study might be unnecessary, especially when those suggestions imply that humanities grads are unemployable. That’s understandable not just because of a universal aversion to being stereotyped—science scholars don’t like to be told they’re soulless any more than art history profs like to be told they’re useless—but because, in point of fact, the humanities have been in decline as a share of college and university activity for well over a century.
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Humanities faculty and students around the world have been hot under the collar in the wake of Obama’s recent comments suggesting that you don’t have to major in art history if you go to college. After a furor erupted among humanities scholars, Obama apologized in a hand-written note.

Scholars in the humanities tend to be sensitive about suggestions that their fields of study might be unnecessary, especially when those suggestions imply that humanities grads are unemployable. That’s understandable not just because of a universal aversion to being stereotyped—science scholars don’t like to be told they’re soulless any more than art history profs like to be told they’re useless—but because, in point of fact, the humanities have been in decline as a share of college and university activity for well over a century.

keep reading