Obama Says Sorry For Insulting Art History Majors In Handwritten Note To Art Historian
According to President Obama, there are more important takeaways from a college degree than knowing a Gauguin from a Cézanne. It wasn't a comment that went down well. At a speech at a General Electric Plant, Obama insulted art history majors, hinting that the subject wasn't useful nor lucrative. Now, Obama has sent an apologetic handwritten note to art professor Ann Collins of the University of Texas at Austin. In the note, Obama describes art history as one of his favorite subjects in school.
On Jan. 30, Obama told workers at the Milwaukee plant that "folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree." Obama quickly backpedaled on his remarks, having clearly realized that he might've just offended a whole lot of culturally appreciative Americans.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with history. I love art history. I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. I’m just saying, you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education, as long as you get the skills and training that you need.
Too late. Obama did end up getting a whole bunch of emails from some art historians, including Johns, who uphold their speciality as a means of teaching critical thinking and writing skills.
In the letter, Obama wrote to Johns that he really does love art history and didn't mean any offense by dissing the major. He also clarified that he was addressing workers who may not have gotten a college education.
However, he didn't exactly backtrack to say the career generates a whole bunch of jobs for the U.S. or offers a steady paycheck. (FYI, art history majors are expected to earn a starting salary of $36,400, which bumps up to $54,000 in time for a mid-life crisis.)
Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed.
Mmmhmmm, sure it was. Good save, Obama. Maybe he just likes the Beyoncé Art History Tumblr?
Then, of course, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had to jump into the debate.
Nonetheless, Johns was floored by the personal response: “What I did NOT expect is that THE MAN HIMSELF would write me an apology. So now I’m totally guilty about wasting his time,” she posted on her Facebook.
And as The Wire so eloquently sums up the whole situation, "Oh, the humanities."