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1,344 notes (via harlow-jean & horrorplusgore)
I honestly do not understand how anyone can live in a society as deeply visual, communicative, and entertainment-based as ours and say that the arts are unimportant. Look around you. What are you sitting on? A chair or a sofa that someone had to design so that it was both comfortable and visually pleasing. What are you listening to? A song that makes you feel happy. What are you doing? Blogging on an image-based blogging platform that a.) somebody had to design, and b.) had to be filled with original content. Someone recently sent me a note on OMG, that Dress! asking what my post about the arts had “anything to do with my silly blog.” (word-for-word quote). If OMG that dress! is so silly, why are you following it? Why do 27,876 (and counting!) followers allow for their ever so important tumblr dashboards to be filled with 45 daily posts related to the “frivolous” subject of fashion? Why are you wearing jeans and a t-shirt when a sack will suffice?
Science likes to claim that it has the advantage of saving lives, but the arts do that, too. I mean, how many kids out there do you know who say they felt so lonely and misunderstood and suicidal until they saw something on TV or heard a song that said to them that they weren’t alone and that there was hope and life would be worth living? How many people out there have seen movies or read books that made you re-consider your values and ethics and become a better person? As a writer and a history geek, I won’t even get into the impact that books like Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Gulag Archipelago have had on world politics and history. (They helped end slavery and bring down The Soviet Union, in case you didn’t know.) As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn himself once said, “Falsehood can stand against much in this world, but not against art.” Science makes you live, but the arts make life worth living.In regards to the original article, “The 13 Most Useless College Majors (According to Science),” having studies Sociology, my inner sociologist will tell you to consider the source. According to Science. Of course Scientists are going to tell you that Science is the most important thing in the world, just like I, as a writer am telling you about the importance of the arts. The world of science is a black and white one where a+b=c and there are no possible variants on the truth. To bring out another quote, Albert Einstein this time, “Logic will get you from A to B, but creativity will get you everywhere.”
When I see commercials for big companies that rely on science expounding the virtues of teaching our children math and science and lamenting the fact that American children are placed much too low in the world rankings of math and science scores, I can’t help but wonder if the answer to this “problem” isn’t obvious: by pushing math and science as the only things that matter, we’re forgetting the creative spark, the ability to go outside of logic and create the next big thing, find the life-saving cure, or solve the mysteries of the universe.
From a feminist perspective, of course math and science are going to be considered “superior” because they are traditionally masculine pursuits. Even more than that, things like fashion and literature are going to be disparaged because they are woman’s things. The enemy here isn’t the math and science itself, and any woman who wants to pursue math and science should be encouraged to do so. But women are socialized to be creative. To sit still and do nice girly things like read and draw while boys go out and build things and solve problems. And then when we want to study the arts or English in college, we get looked down upon and the passions we have been raised to have are called useless. It doesn’t just affect women. If a man says to you in all seriousness that his true passion is acting and that he wants to study theater, what assumptions come to mind? (answer: He’s GAAAAY. Never mind how we think of Brad Pitt or George Clooney, a man who admits loving theater is GAAAAAAY, and of course because it’s feminine he’s degrading himself).
As much as I hate to admit it, no matter how many remedial math courses I may have failed, math and science aren’t the enemy here. It’s the automatic assumption that math and science are superior. That, even though we made it to the Moon, and we no longer have any Soviet Union or Sputnik to stay on top of, America can only stay on top of the world if it scores the best in math and science, screw the fact that an American hasn’t even been in consideration for a Nobel prize for literature in the past 20 years.
I’ll admit that I’m passionate about defending the arts because it affects me personally. I’ve always loved writing, and writing is the only career that I’ve ever wanted to have. Being a novelist was my dream career, and it still is. I went to a magnet school for the arts where I studied creative writing, and I even won a pretty major prize from the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts my senior year. When I hit college, I really didn’t know what to do. I knew that having a career as a novelist was something difficult to do, and it might take me a while. So I decided I’d study something that I enjoyed but could still offer me a job somehow: history and sociology. I enjoyed studying both subjects tremendously and still enjoy studying them when I can. But I’m not a student. I’m a disorganized mess who can write a novel but not a paper. Even worse, I had to make math and science requirements, and I’m absolutely incapable of doing any math more complicated than long division. Worst of all, I really didn’t care about math and science, so I ended up just not doing any of the work. So I failed. First out of an honors college, and then out of a community college. For a long time, I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I was able to educate myself on tumblr, and I was honestly surprised by how much I’ve been able to learn simply by keeping blogs about my interests. Several months ago, my mother told me about the son of a friend who was studying sound engineering at a college that had a simple, but radical philosophy: that not only do the arts matter, that art is more than what you find in a museum or read in a book, and that the entertainment industry is one of America’s most thriving and profitable industries. Full Sail University is an online for-profit university that makes no bones about the fact that it is for profit. It basically promises you two things: one, that you will learn to apply your creative skills to something more profitable, and two, that you will get a job. I’m currently enrolled in the creative writing program learning to be a screenwriter. I want to be the next Tina Fay. Looking back on my experience, I wish that somebody had told me that a writer can be more than a novelist or an English teacher. But I’m not mad at my previous writing teachers or even the deans at my colleges for withholding some big secret from me. They never told me I had more options because nobody ever told them that writers and artists have more options. It’s because of this ridiculous, utterly blind societal assumption that somehow the arts are useless. And I know there are others like me out there who have tremendous talents being squashed because “it’s not useful.” It’s not true, and it’s positively toxic. The arts are all around us, every bit as important as math and science, we just need to open our eyes and see that.
871 notes (via cwnerd12 & cwnerd12)
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