During a stop in Waukesha, Wisc., on his post-State of the Union tour, President Barack Obama told an audience, “A lot of young people no longer see the trades and skilled manufacturing as a viable career, but I promise you, folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree[.]”
He continued, according to Politico, which had a reporter on site: “Nothing wrong with art history degree…I love art history. I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. I’m just saying, you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education, as long as you get the skills and training that you need.” Well, fair enough. (I offer this blog post in lieu of an e-mail, Mr. President!) I gotta say, though, as someone who invested several hundred thousand dollars in the Biggest Mistake of My Life, by which I mean a degree in English–wherein I once had the pleasure of writing an utterly incoherent paper about Dracula and Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization–art history doesn’t seem terribly impractical.
Naturally, the comment didn’t please any art history professors. “Oh my God, no,” the CEO and executive director of the College Art Association told Politico. “That’s just awful.”
Still, not a bad excuse to take a moment this fine January afternoon and wonder what the hell you’re doing with your life.