Neil Postman on pop culture vs. classical art in education

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Neil Postman on pop culture vs. classical art in education

From Brian K. Yoder

Published before 2005


This is interesting and also true, though I think that the key advantage of the arts is not that they are old, but that they appeal to the emotions and that they sum up ways of thinking rather than just facts. Don't get me wrong, I think that these days the facts get short shrift in schools as they are subordinated to crude emotionalism of a "do your own thing" sort, but I don't think that the key distinction that needs to be made between better education from worse education is between facts and feelings, but between good and evil, true and false, wise and foolish, and the message of the public schools (and most private ones) for the past several decades has been that there's no difference between true and false, good and evil, wise and foolish, and that all should be subordinated to whim, class, race, and gender. Exposing students to the good arts will give them something to really think about and things to believe in, and (at least as importantly) to reject. This skill of learning how to evaluate ideas and reject some (rather than just accepting anything and everything, or accepting only the officially approved politically correct opinion as a mob) is a critical one, and one that has been long abandoned by our schools. We need to bring it back, and I think that a rehabilitation of the arts curricula will be an important part of that effort.

Thanks for the quote!

-- Brian