We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We might therefore ask: Aside from the typical obeisance to something called “critical thinking,” what are the humanities supposed to do?
I propose that one of the beauties of the liberal arts degree is that it is meant to do nothing. I would like to think, therefore, that the typical humanities major reads because she is interested in knowledge for purposes outside of the pervasive instrumentalism now fouling higher education. She does not read philosophy because she wants, necessarily, to become a philosopher; she does not read poetry to become a poet, though she may dream of it; she does not study art history, usually, to become an art historian, though she may one day take this road.
She may be in the minority, but she studies these subjects because of the pleasure it gives her. Reading literature, or studying philosophy, or viewing art, or watching films — and thinking about them — are pleasurable things. What a delight to subsidize something that gives her immediate and future joy instead of spending capital on a course of study that might someday allow her to make more money so that she can do the things she wants to do at some distant time. Henry David Thoreau said it best: “This spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once.” If you want to be a poet, be done with it.
Does she suffer for this pleasure?
Applying some of that "critical thinking", it occurs to me that if she reads for the pleasure of knowledge, she doesn't really need to go tens of thousands of dollars in debt and class to achieve her desires. In fact, such behavior may detract from her pleasure.
In re CIA "spying' on Senate computers: I've followed this story since it started. The Senate forced access to classified records of detainee interrogations, and CIA complied. Hoping to discover when, who, and to whom this information would be leaked by lefty members of the government and its staffers, CIA watched Senate computers. It would have been simple to make subtle alterations in those documents to tag them and discover lefty leakers (see Tom Clancy), so maybe we will be hearing more about this.
There is the implication in this story that level headed people thought and expected some congressmen and their staff to leak or give top secret information to the press/the enemy. This bothers me more then the CIA spying on the congressional computers. Something is rotten here and instead of finding out what it is we are castigating the people looking for the problem.
Oh boy--you have made my day! i have been trying to whistle with my fingers all my life. Now I can (well almost--needs some practice).
Now all you have to do is find a video on how to get over a mid height fence with just one hand--been trying that one for 60+years--still game if you find the instructions, although I think the neighbors will think it looks a little silly.
I dream that any day now the Republicans will step up to the plate and choose former Senator Olympia Snow to run for president! Oh yeah--if the women of this country demand a female this is the gal I want !