global world order .” another student spoke glowingly W r i t i n g

global world order .” another student spoke glowingly W r i t i n g

It is the end of a grueling Fall Quarter, 2021, full of tough exams,
annoying papers, difficult
deadlines, and unexpected bills. Imagine that, finally as the pandemic
seems to be waning a bit,
you are attending a lively party with undergraduates from several
prominent colleges and
universities. During one conversation, various students are talking
about what they have learned
during the past term. One student, for example, discussed the value of
her popular course on
“Corporate Outsourcing and the Global World Order.” Another student
spoke glowingly about
her advanced zoology class and about her exciting research about the
gigantic rat population of
West Los Angeles. A third discussed his research into the emerging
phenomenon of driverless
automobiles. Finally, you mention your own recent course, indicating
your study of artistic materials and their linkage to broader social,
ethical, and political
issues and problems. In the middle of your comments, another student
looks at you, laughs
heartily, and interrupts as follows:

“You can’t be serious, can
you? You get credit for reading a story about some fictional plague in
North Africa and looking at a bunch of movies?! That’s the kind of stuff
you should do after class, when you’re just relaxing and
hanging with friends. It’s recreation, nothing more! Get real! What
possible value can you get
from this stuff? And your professor claims that
this soft material can educate you about politics, ethics, and society!
Ridiculous! At my school, we do serious and rigorous work, not this
“artistic” fluff that you think passes for genuine intellectual
work. We obtain real evidence for our conclusions and we do careful and
experimentation. You’ll probably wind up at some lame junior
managerial desk job at Wal-Mart or Widgets Incorporated while I go to
Harvard or Yale Law

Momentarily taken aback, you give some consideration to letting his comments pass without
comment. After a few seconds, however, you decide to reply, making sure to use very specific
course examples regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the student’s views
(either view is acceptable as well as any intermediate position you may select; do present a
coherent argument):

The two examples of artistic material which I want to use to explain broader social and ethical issues are:

“The Plague” by Albert Camus, and “Triumph of the Will” by Leni Riefenstah,