a culture crisis

for the depraved

Tag: game of thrones

The World Just Got Dumber: A Vindication of the Arts


Hello again,

If you follow A Culture Crisis – you know, on the off chance that you have nothing, nothing, better to do with your life than to read random shit I post on the internet – you’ll know I have been on a miserable essay hiatus this summer. Why? Because I failed to complete my graduate term work in the winter semester and have thus been forced to finish my remaining final papers throughout the summer. I am quite the go-getter, indeed.

As it stands, I have one paper left to complete in two days (woohoo!!). Since I have been on an essay hiatus (the purpose being that I would stay off WordPress so as to complete said essays), the intention was not to post until I finished all my work and thus would not feel ashamed of wasting time that could have been dedicated to pounding out essays. However, the internet has insulted me and my ilk – my ilk being anyone not in business and/or science (otherwise known as the employable assholes (just kidding… maybe not)) – and I am determined to say something about it, albeit to my limited readership.

Dear world, kindly stop undervaluing the arts and social sciences. All you prove when you do so is that you are an ignorant dick with no cultural awareness whatsoever. “But it’s true,” you might say. “You liberal arts kids are just plain unemployable in today’s world. Like, all you do is read books and stuff. You know, the world doesn’t go round because you read a book. You need to do something valuable, like becoming a capitalist scumbag. You know, that may be unethical and, as it turns out, counterproductive to creating an economically stable world, but at least you would be able to buy expensive cheese,” you might also say.

To that, I offer you the warm sentiment of my middle finger.

Why am I compelled into such an act of underwhelming aggression?

Because, lest you be in a liberal arts/social sciences program, you would not (most likely, in any case – there are some lovely cultural enthusiasts in every field) know just how incredibly valuable such programs are. I won’t tout the IQ comparisons, EQ comparisons, and other such tests for a few reasons. First, because I don’t feel like it. Second, because business majors would be shocked at the answers, and I don’t want to be the one to ruin your day, week, month… Third, because this is not a post about trashing the other. This is a post about mutual appreciation. There is value (and pay, believe it or not) in all practices, in all fields.

The next time you want to question the value of the arts, just remember, the arts are everything you look forward to in life. While people may love the work they do, it’s pretty much accepted that most people want to come home because, after all, work is usually rather tiring. What do you do when you come home? Turn on the TV and watch a movie – ART. Read a book – ART. Go visit an exhibition at your local gallery, outdoor expo, etc – ART. Plan a trip to Spain, or Italy, or France, where you can appreciate the beautiful architecture – ART, or the badass museums – ART. Going out to watch a play – ART. Head to a concert – ART. The list goes on and on. What do people not look forward to doing when they get home? Accounting and other math related things. People don’t come home hoping to analyze cells under a microscope, they don’t come home hoping to sit back and relax with some Turing codes. Not that Turing wasn’t awesome. But let’s be honest, you most likely don’t want to kick back with this after a long day of work (code buffs excepted):

No, you want to watch the Batman Trilogy, or maybe some Dexter. You want to read Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, or maybe catch up on Martin’s Game of Thrones. Recall that people usually say things like “that movie was so good,” or “that book was amazing!” People do not usually say things like, “calculating the taxes was so much fun! Can’t wait to do it again!”

All in all, keep that in mind the next time you’re off telling us liberal arts kids that we’re basically useless in the world. Instead, thank us for the entertainment and cultural validity we bring to a world that, without the us, would be monotonous and robotic drudgery.

You’re fucking welcome.


Read the offending article here


Apologies and Attempts at Redemption

Map with literal names


So, it’s certainly no secret that I have been relatively M.I.A., for which I deeply apologize to you all. All in all, it has been a hectic few months of pounding out essays, seminars, and the like, meeting deadlines  and god knows what else for my summer course. Grad school is not for those who wish to remain (or hope to become!) sane. No, no. Grad school is for the perpetually anxiety-ridden, insomniac, and mildly – or not so mildly – alcoholic person. Didn’t you know?

In any case, now that I seem to be back, although that claim should remain indefinite until September (that is, when I will finally be done graduate work for the year),  I offer this brief but awesome post by Chris Kirk of Slate.com as an attempt at redemption for being away these past few weeks.

It’s a map designed by cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust that translates the names of places in the world into their literal meanings. The results are pretty awesome, and, as Kirk quite rightly points out, could be pulled right out of a Lord of the Rings of Game of Thrones-like epic. Example: Mediterranean Sea = Sea of Middle Earth! Badass, indeed.

Enjoy searching the map! Hopefully it will distract you from the fact that I have been god-knows-where doing god-knows-what in order to graduate.


Graduate School or Game of Thrones?

Image(source: http://www.phdcomics.com)

If you are a fan of the Game of Thrones series, you will find this funny — even exceptionally funny.

If you are a fan of the Game of Thrones series and also a PhD candidate, you laugh because it is, of course, funny.

For about a minute.

And then, something really shitty happens.

As the reality of this comic hits you, very much like a cast-iron pan to the side of your face, you wallow in misery as you see your life compared to the gruesome (but ever so entertaining) war for the throne of Westeros. We fight for the nearly-extinct tenure track position, dreading the day we decided to apply for graduate school, as though that was a clever idea. “Yes,” we thought, “I will get my PhD and become a professor! I’ll teach for 5 hours a week, and have my summers off, and research things I’m interested in, and read all of the books ever! And life will be fantastic!”

Until someone tells you, “Um, no. You fool, a PhD is the worst thing you could ever do to yourself. Run away now! Do it! Run like Forrest and don’t come back! Get a real job, one that won’t break you into teeny pieces until you are shattered and broken and there is nothing left of you to be found!”

That lovely piece of advice came to me in this Slate Magazine article: http://slate.me/ZDw2Ol

Ah, the misery of disillusionment.

Enjoy (or don’t!), but at least now you know!

And happy Game of Thrones Sunday!