Have public and private universities decided to trade arts education
for nuclear weapons?
While writing about the white and Black consumption of Black death
in hip hop last May, I came across Chomsky's argument, that the
U.S. is moving towards a "Third" world model.
Meaning that, we are evolving to have two classes of folks in this country,
the elite and the people who serve them. This is clearly taking root in
California and New York City. Meanwhile in the heartlands, the economies in
the factory and mining towns have been gutted, and been replaced
with the Walmart, prison and meth economies. Neither of these are sustainable,
just or democratic.
A fundamental thread of the American experience has been that the next
generation will have a better life then the current generation. Given the economies,
listed above, this simply isn't feasible.
Which brings me to the arts education article that I came across in the
New York Times today. Patricia Cohen writes,
If you are looking for a sign of how strapped the University of California, Los Angeles, is for cash, consider that its arts and architecture school may resort to holding a bake sale to raise money. California’s severe financial crisis has left its higher-education system — which serves nearly a fifth of the nation’s college students — in particularly bad straits. But tens of thousands of students at public and private colleges and universities around the country will find arts programs, courses and teachers missing — victims of piercing budget cuts — when they descend on campuses this month and next.The comments on the article were interesting because
of both what they said, and what they didn't say. One commenter
focused on liberal arts and moms. She writes,
on campus. A commenter writes,
In his new book, the Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges discusses the10.
relationship between the war economy and the American University.
His general thesis is that the university has used both private money from
corporations and public tax dollars from the Pentagon and the Department
of Defense to build weapons to supply, advance and sustain our permanent
For the record, historically, when I have encountered anti war activists, I
typically, glazed over with a blank stare. It didn't seem like what they were
talking about was relevant to me, what I was passionate about, or what I
was interested in. But, given the expense of war and the expense of
higher education, the relationship of critical thinkers to a sustaining a
Democracy it is an important issue to consider as we move forward.
In reading bell hooks, Chris Hedges and Chomsky recently, it has become
clear that there is a connection between the arts and the ability to make
sense of ones life. Be it reading a novel, seeing a play, watching a movie
or a tv show, attending a concert or writing a blog.
There is something to be said for a culture that derives its meaning from
art rather than war.
I am also seeing that there is a connection between a war economy
and our boys being raised to think that being destructive, rageful
and violent is the only and most appropraite way of being. Bob Herbert
wrote recently about how the murders of the women at The LA Fitness
in Pennsylvania last week the was an act of hate against women. A
commenter wrote back saying,
Given the connection between how boys are socialized and war, and the
To the Editor:
While I greatly appreciate Bob Herbert’s focus on violence toward women, as a psychologist looking for possible causes and solutions, I see a bigger problem. Boys and young men in most of the world are brought up to admire violence through fantasy, media and sports and in preparation for the army and war. They are taught that being a successful man requires physical power, weapons and often violence.
This has to be addressed in our child rearing and in our culture and values, beginning with childhood games and culminating in our emphasis on physical force to solve global problems and sustain our “world supremacy.”
Vivien D. Wolsk
New York, Aug. 8, 2009
connection between our two wars, our schools and the dismantling of liberal arts,
I have a few questions.
What happens when a country treats it higher education like vocational/
When are we going to have a conversation about the fact that universities
are a billion dollar business and, given the fact that we are moving
towards an automated jobless society, what will we do with our young people
once they have graduated, if they make it that far?
If the arts programs have to sale cookies in order to survive,
do the engineering and physics departments have to as well?
If not, then why not?
Will the only jobs left be service jobs (waitresses, janitors, nurses)
or servicing the elite/corporations (finance, advertising) or joining the armed
If private corporations provide some funds to science and engineering
departments, (in return for the right of any novel discoveries) the schools
receive research grants/our tax dollars from the department of defense,
what do the students receive?
How are the interest's of both the students and the public served by this?