This subject is broached in an appealingly world-weary essay at The Millions by Cathy Day, though it’s compromised a bit (just a bit) by the little flash of sentiment at the end.
Yes, the humanities are worth studying, devoting one’s life to, etc., etc., says this English major (whose own two children are studying or planning to study literature in college). But can’t we do better when it comes to preparing these students for the reality of the work world?
This should not be an either/or proposition. Agate’s internship program has, over the years, evolved into a training program for future publishing professionals, and we spend a lot of time talking to our interns about the nuts and bolts of the intellectual property economy in general, and the publishing work world in particular. It’s astonishing how little they seem to know about this sort of thing before they get here. Perhaps that’s what programs like Agate’s internship are for–to train and inform these new professionals in just this way. But wouldn’t everyone involved be better served if students learned more about these issues when they prepare to declare their majors? I hope this responsibility doesn’t fall solely on teachers like Cathy Day, to be delivered student by clueless student–though clearly, she is up to the task.