October 2, 2011
The Justification of Humanities
The humanities have been studied since ancient Grecian times as an academic discipline, examining human condition and including the arts, literature, philosophy, history and some social sciences. In 2008, nationally recognized and respected literary theorist Stanley Fish wrote a New York Times article in response to a New York State Commission on Higher Education report in which people posted complaints that the humanities are always the last to be financially funded. Fish sums up his argument with an insulting conclusive statement: “To the question ‘of what use are humanities?’, the only honest answer is none whatsoever”. He backs up this claim by pointing out the lack of tangible evidence that is produced by humanities compared to science and other fields. I assert that Fish underestimates the power of the intangible benefits that the humanities have to offer. His overall argument against the value of humanities presents a point-of-view that is extreme, reductive, and insulting to anyone associated with the humanities and the study of them. An education involving the study of humanities enables readers with skills that are applicable in understanding and comprehending contemporary media and literature. Literature, for that matter, effects people morally and possibly behaviorally and that effect, positive or negative, is ‘of use’. Narrative literature and historical texts also allow readers to build a bridge and connect with the past and its people. The media has become an inevitable part of our society today and, unfortunately, media manipulation has as well. Public relations companies and the government have hidden agendas that the journalists blindly incorporate into their stories and columns. People are paid to make the American public perceive pictures and articles in a deceitful, false way in order to sell a war or downplay a disaster. In 1996 John Rendon, the founder of The Rendon Group, a public relations...
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