Thursday, February 12, 2015


Things are dismal around here.  If you saw my facebook feed, full of all sorts of dismal news, political, from friends' personal lives, environmental, and on and on. 

I have a relative (well, a relative in that blended family sort of way) who is grieving a spouse's death; but this relative is an artist, and right now is working on some amazing art, and I keep wishing I were close enough to go see the art in person. 

Art matters.  There, I said it.  I have some students in my Chaucer course who are taking (together, even) Shakespeare and linguistics, and it's so joyous watching them make connections between the three courses.

We're talking about free will (or not) in Chaucer, in the way one does with "The Knight's Tale," and the students are getting it, and wrapping their minds around how something can be a great story and also think deeply about knowing and knowledge and what matters.

The most dismal aspect of all this is knowing that our students are really going to be slammed.  I just can't comprehend how we voters and taxpayers decided that education is such a low priority for all of us.  Personally, I would happily pay a whole lot more in taxes to support our educational systems (and not only education, because feeding and housing people is necessary for them to have real access to educational success).


  1. Yes. Art matters, knowledge matters, education matters, poetry matters.

    AND YET: according to the GOP, all that matters is people selling shiny objects. Or standing in rows making those objects, I guess. Whatever they think, in their muddled fashion, "work" is.

    How is art not work? Teaching not work? Thinking and creating not work? Oh, creating is only work if it's creating a widget to make cheaper lawn chairs, apparently.

    Not that I am opposed to lawn chairs. Well, I am. They're ugly and uncomfortable. But if you like them, buy them. I'm opposed to destroying everything that makes this country, and this world, worth living in, so that a few rich people can get even richer.

  2. YES.I have been finding it so hard in this materially-driven workaholic society to make a living wage as an artist, much less keep a healthy work-life balance. It's a struggle to get paid for art services where other services people wouldn't think of not paying or asking for services for free. I can see it will be a lifelong struggle, and it's hard not to just give up...

  3. YES art and knowing matter. In so many ways they are all that really matters - told you had a week to live, I can't imagine people would choose to do the 'work' that is approved of - widget-making, data entry, report filing, measuring, writing middle management reports on the reports you got sent (having just been writing a response to the quality report which assessed the quality of quality reports which assessed the quality of quality assessment measures to assess the quality of the student experience, I am particularly cynical about the "good and necessary white collar jobs" we keep hearing about over here, because really, some days I'd rather scoop poop in a zoo than write another quality report - at least the poop would be real and the animals pens would be cleaner, you know?). They'd want to build/fix relationships, create art, make something lasting... And the worst of it is, they make us steal these things from ourselves - WHY don't tax payers, or academics, say NO to these things? Because of the lies they come packaged in, because we don't want to be difficult, because although we assert these truths we don't quite believe them enough... ?? I don't know. The moment never seemed right, and now we are boiling...

  4. Art matters indeed. (And for a cheery story, mostly in relation to JaneB, when our program ditched the format for assessment, and said, "This is what makes sense in our field," we started getting great reviews, saying, can you teach others to do this?"

    Bardiac, my sympathies, because your governor is insane. And people don't realize what it means until it comes to bite them. But I too always say I am undertaxed.

  5. Sadly, it's not just Wisconsin's governor. Louisiana, Kansas -- here in Arkansas, we've got an entire legislature packed with tea party conservatives. The rot is spreading.