As with Anya Kamenetz’s Generation Debt, this seems like more excessive complaint from the privileged classes. (Brook and Kamenetz overlapped at Yale, in fact). And is it really true, as the back cover asserts, that only the “corporate elite” can now enjoy middle-class comforts?
I opened Brook’s book up and saw this passage:
After graduating Yale in 2003 with a double major in film studies and gender studies, Tara moved to San Francisco to pursue queer documentary filmmaking. She settled in the Castro district, the historic epicenter of American gay culture, and quickly discovered plenty of enticing projects. “There were lots of opportunities to do film and to help people with their films, but no one had any money to pay me so I did a lot of volunteering and part-time work,” she told me in a Castro coffee shop.
My goodness. What message could the market system have been trying to send?
I found this hilarious because I’ve been Tara once upon a time, immediately upon graduating from Yale. But thankfully, real world intruded and I was able to wake up.
To be fair to Yale and to the other elite colleges, the Taras of the world are a tiny minority of the graduates. One statistic I saw recently said that some 56% of the Class of 2007 from Harvard are going into Finance and Consulting (not to be confused with Unemployed-Masquerading-As-Consulting, but McKinsey & Co type of Consulting). I know the vast majority of my fellow Yalie — even some with degrees in Film Studies — have productive, extremely well-paying jobs in some of the largest companies in the world. Or they’re lawyers. :-)
At the same time, however, it is an indictment of our college system that someone could graduate with a double major in film studies and gender studies. It is an indictment of Yale in particular that these programs even exist. I write this with great irony as I was in the forefront of activism as an undergrad in trying to create a Korean-American Studies department at Yale.
Now, I realize… the only academic departments that should exist are those with a distinct academic method. Chemistry, for example, has a distinct methodology and a distinct discipline by which it is advanced. That method is different from that of Physics, which has a different methodology and a different discipline. In contrast, English, Gay Studies, Gender Studies, African-American Studies, etc. etc. should no more be departments than underwater basket-weaving. They might be areas of interest to History, to Literature, to Political Science, to Sociology departments — but as departments in and of themselves? Just a sacrifice on the altar of political correctness.
Edit: Holy Cow, my first Instalanche! Thank you Glenn. :-)