There’s a lot to say about The New York Times Magazine‘s profile of Edward Conard, Mitt Romney’s former partner at Bain Capital. (He’s also a major supporter of Mr. Romney’s presidential campaign.) The relevant bit to us (this being a blog about art) is this particularly lovely passage, as the reporter is sitting with Mr. Conard at a café on Madison:
At a nearby table we saw three young people with plaid shirts and floppy hair. For all we know, they may have been plotting the next generation’s Twitter, but Conard felt sure they were merely lounging on the sidelines. “What are they doing, sitting here, having a coffee at 2:30?” he asked. “I’m sure those guys are college-educated.” Conard, who occasionally flashed a mean streak during our talks, started calling the group “art-history majors,” his derisive term for pretty much anyone who was lucky enough to be born with the talent and opportunity to join the risk-taking, innovation-hunting mechanism but who chose instead a less competitive life. In Conard’s mind, this includes, surprisingly, people like lawyers, who opt for stable professions that don’t maximize their wealth-creating potential. He said the only way to persuade these “art-history majors” to join the fiercely competitive economic mechanism is to tempt them with extraordinary payoffs.
So: art-history majors (and we suppose lawyers too?) take note! You are wasting your life! Stop sitting in cafés in the afternoon! Get a job at a bank and retire at age 51, like Mr. Conard! Reach your wealth-creating potential! Slide into middle age, also like Mr. Conard, and then spend the rest of your days sitting in cafés in the afternoon murmuring insults at young people! This is the key to happiness! Put that book down! Wipe that look off your face! Don’t make me come back there! Get off my lawn!
Sigh. What a world this is.