Ms. Wente points out what she seems to consider is the uselessness of liberal arts degrees and consquently derides some of the protesters who are possessed of liberal arts degrees but who are can't find any work in respect of those degrees. What good is a liberal arts degree? I'm not sure. So why do universities and colleges offer such degrees now and for the past forty years or more? Are such degrees meant to be taken only by scions of the wealthy elite who, by some measures, don't really need to work after graduation?
Ms. Wente's false logic and willingness to spout what I consider to be a party line, expose only the undercurrent of a wealthy corporate godhead that would have us all enslaved in work rituals designed to produce goods for retail economies which no longer work well. Liberal arts degrees are certainly useless in such a world - slaves don't need education, they just need training in how to shoulder a yoke and perform a single task. Produce! Produce! More and More! The overlords, economists and political managers shout these words at every opportunity. Ever greater productivity demanded almost fanatically by the economists whispering in political and financial ears is an illogical cleft stick which eventually traps all believers. Just exactly how "productive" can one be? Can productivity be increased, unrelentingly year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation? I don't think so. We're peaking in some respects. Whether or not someone has a liberal arts degree (vs., say, a trade college certification in plumbing), a medical degree (to participate, in the U.S. at least, in a system of medical care which continues to fail millions of citizens), or a degree in Asian linguistics is not the point. The real reason for the Occupy movement, as I see it, is the backlash from common citizens against a political, social and corporate reality which reserves enormous privilege for a very few people while at the same time placing enormous responsbility for global financial stability based on retail economics ever more burdeonsomely on the backs of citizens who are offered no say, no apparent options, no control and no rights.
How did all these liberal arts grad Occupy people find their way into universities and colleges on government student loans in the first place? By accident? Have the mega-conglomerates suddenly whispered in the ears of governments, giving quiet permission for those governments to now wake from their slumbers? Is that image even a reality? Are governments, education systems, learned social advisors and all their ilk suddenly now shouting, "How did all these students get here?!? Who told all these people they could vie for liberal arts degrees, sociology, anthropology and metapysics degrees?"
The very taxpayers (Ms. Wente included), institutional, government and corporate interests which have for generations so assiduously funded the institutions (and governments) are now roundly deriding liberal arts students and graduates and somehow getting the Ms. Wentes of the corporate media to write supportively derisive articles?
What in hell happened to the dream of a "world of tomorrow" in which we'd be able to work productively for a few hours a day and then pursue our passions, all while tending to our homes and families? That always-distant dream has been summarily replaced by an insistent distopian reality that we'd better damn well like or else. We were surreptitiously sold the old utopian dream for a very long time, right up until the financial monsters and enormous global business realities began dictating that a self-perpetuating wealthy elite would be impossible if everyone was considered equal.
Let me off this train NOW. I'm done buying the latest eructations from Apple and Sony and Nikon and Canon and you-name-it. I'm going to be happy - very happy - with what I've got right up until it eventually breaks down. And then I'm going to do a very, very long reassessment of my needs before I even begin to consider buying a replacement. Think about it. Do you really need another digital SLR or mirrorless camera? Or do you really need to spend a lot more time using the camera gear you've already got in order to become a better photographer. That's not a question - it's a statement. Do you really need to replace your three year old Sony eReader with a Kindle DX? Or do you really need to spend more time reading good books than fretting about whether or not your ereader is the latest model. That's not a question either - it's also a statement.
Something occured to me after I wrote this piece, so I re-read Ms. Wente's Globe & Mail article, and now I'm sure of it: she never mentioned all the unemployed graduates from Journalism schools. It's true - j-school grads - that's the journalism trade that Ms. Wente practices - are all out of work too, in ever increasing numbers, and there are far too few new writing jobs to replace the losses. Bloggers all I guess, and about as useless as any of the other trades or professional pursuits derided by Ms. Wente. Perhaps, the lousy research in the article, vague and deceptively spun stats, and the corporate Globe & Mail spin redolent throughout Ms. Wente's article simply exemplify part of the reality of modern times that articles of this kind written sometimes try to hide.