I know I don’t normally post political stuff and I normally try to be calm and rational when I argue things and to attack the argument not the person but I can’t entirely do that right now because this shit pissed me the fuck off. I have not dedicated the last five years of my life (nine if you count four years of Latin in high school) to a worthless field of study which I’m going to spend the rest of my life devoted to it regardless of Rush Limbaugh’s absurd, uneducated opinions.
I get that not everyone knows what Classical Studies are but seriously? He couldn’t just look it up right before the interview instead of in the middle and making himself seem like a completely ignorant and offensive dumbass? I mean honestly how difficult is it to open up google and search “classical studies” before you go on air rambling about how whatever it is it’s completely worthless? The girl even mentioned Latin in her post. Has he never heard of Ancient Greece and Roman being referred to as the Classical World? It shouldn’t be that hard to put two and two together.
I’ll admit, it bothers me that the girl called a Classical Studies degree “useless” even if she put it in quotations. It’s only useless if you don’t know what you want to do with it. I can put my issues with that aside for now though to focus on the far more offensive statement he claims someone at her university should have made to her:
"Babe, you are wasting your time in a nothing major. We are stealing your money. You’re gonna be qualified for jack excrement when you get outta here."
Babe? Seriously? I have to assume at this point he’s just deliberately trying to be offensive and stupid. There’s some other truly horrifying statements disparaging Women’s Studies and things like that which I’m not even going to try to get into because I’ll just get angrier and I’ve never studied those fields so I can’t defend them as well as they deserve.
Getting back on topic, people who study the Classics generally score higher on exams like the LSAT and MCAT. (I don’t have the exact source on that information but I’ve been told it for the past five years of my life and it’s on just about any classics department website.) Obviously that’s really useless, yeah? Nobody needs Lawyers or Doctors. One of my Greek professors almost went into accounting because studying Ancient Greek intently for x number of years had given him a really strong analytic mindset. Then there’s the fact that Latin is the root language for the Romance languages. It makes it significantly easier to learn other languages, but it’s not as if that matters. We don’t live in a global society where communication with people around the world is important or anything like that. (I swear I’m trying to cut down on the sarcasm, I just can’t help it.)
There are several obvious related fields one can go into with a Classics degree, even if jobs may be difficult to find. Classicists frequently become teachers, professors, museum curators, archaeologists, and librarians. Yes, a Classics degree is more like to set you up for a life of academia if you want to continue on in the Classics but people who study the Classics actually know what that entails and this is just an absurd statement:
“Now, I think the colleges ought to be held accountable here. You show up, you want a degree in Classical Studies, you need to be told what that really means. “Well, how do you want to use your degree in Classical Studies? Do you even know what it is?”
YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT CLASSICAL STUDIES ENTAILS IF YOU ARE STUDYING IT. I really just find it hilarious that he seems to assume that since he doesn’t know what it is, obviously no one else would know either. I really don’t think a man who failed out of college has any right to try to tell people what they should or shouldn’t study. He has no idea what studying the classics involves and there are many of these protesters making complaints about their degrees. Why choose one he knows he is in no position to give any authoritative comments on? (I’m leaving aside the fact that I don’t think he’s got much real authority on anything except how to spout off ignorant bullshit.)
I, personally, plan to become a high school Latin teacher once I’ve finished my graduate studies and have my teaching certification. I know this isn’t going to be a high paying job and I’ve never expected it to be but I love studying the classics. I could talk for hours about how much I love Virgil, Homer, and Aristotle. I’m lucky in that I’m not going to be in debt when I finish school thanks to scholarships, teaching assistantships, etc. At my undergrad school I was one of only five majors in my year and the grades below me had even less. We don’t need ignorant radio talk show hosts telling people to stay out of the field. He makes the claim later on in the interview that Classical Studies doesn’t have the same prestige and worth that it once did. I’d really like to know how he made up that information.
People haven’t been studying Ancient Greek and Latin for nearly two thousand years for no reason. We can learn so much by studying history and ancient texts. Where would philosophy be without it’s foundations in Plato and Aristotle and the other Ancient Greek philosophers. We wouldn’t have the vast varieties of literature that we do today without having had these Greek and Roman foundations (they aren’t the only foundations I know but they are the ones I know best.) Languages are enhanced through the translation of other texts, which provide new genres, styles, and words for authors to use. Yes, by now most Classical texts have all been translated into English but as just about anyone who studies translations will tell you, there can never be a truly definitive, perfect translation. There will always be aspects lost, gained, or changed with translations and while I don’t think this means that everyone ought to study every such text in the original language (I can barely get my mythology students to read The Iliad in English, I know it isn’t for everyone), I do think it is extremely important that people who want to do so continue to study the original works and working through new translations that can shed a new light on them. I also really love the part where he decides that since Karl Marx studied the Classics that must mean everyone who does will end up as a socialist. Really, that’s just a brilliant and logical use of inductive reasoning.
My high school Latin teachers and undergrad Ancient Greek professor changed my life. I’ll admit that I’ve always been something of a nerd and loved school but once I started studying the Classics I knew that was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. That sounds ridiculous but it’s true. My undergrad friends always told me that they couldn’t imagine me doing anything other than teaching Latin and my professors agreed that it would be a perfect choice for me. Before that I’d gone through a million different ideas of what I wanted to do with my life, most of which were completely absurd. With the Classics I finally found a purpose and an attainable career (and yes, there are jobs out there for high school Latin teachers) that I’m certain will make me happy. I’m quite looking forward to having a job where I’m going to hopefully be able to make an impact on students’ lives the way my Classics teachers and professors have.
I have to go tutor a student in Latin now so as much as I’d like to continue, I’m going to have to cut my argument short here.