The Battle of Algiers
Reader Comments (7)


I'm not sure anal rape is an appropriate punishment for their crimes.

I also wonder where your anti-liberal arts fervor came from. I quite happily pursued my Women's Studies and Anthropology degree, got quite a lot out of them, and had no trouble at all becoming a productive, employed, tax-paying member of society with a career I love. I was happy to accept on-the-job training in business and am really rather glad I didn't waste four years studying something at university that I got paid to learn after graduation.

Surely you must find some value in your philosophy and economics degrees, no?


Quite right. I've added a clarification, which I'm grateful for you prompting.

I am by no means anti-liberal arts qua liberal arts. I am opposed to two things:

1) Public funding of liberal arts educations - which can be understood as taking money earned by working people, at gunpoint, and giving it to 19-year-olds so that they can enrich themselves. I'm all in favour of enrichment. But enrich yourself on your own nickel. And if you can't afford to pay for university enrichment, then take yourself on down to the public library and get the same information for free.

2) I'm increasingly aghast that people come out of 17 years of (mostly publicly-funded) education . . . qualified to do absolutely nothing. Now, this would be one thing, if people were of independent means, and addressing themselves to self-enrichment. But the fact is that the vast majority of us are going to have do something productive, for a living, most days, for the rest of our lives. Would it be too much to suggest that some portion of those 17 years of education go toward preparing us for what we're mostly going to be doing for the rest of our lives? Toward becoming useful in some way? I don't know, maybe I'm turning into a heartless Tory/Republican bastard.

I'm in favour of public funding of education in which there is a public interest.

I'm also in favour of public education paying some attention to what the student is going to be doing, principally, for the rest of his/her life.

In any case, the main point, is that I am extremely opposed to punks rioting in defence of their right to a free, useless (to the people paying for it, namely taxpayers) education.


P.S. I paid for my degrees - or, rather, in the main, my father did, with money he earned through incredibly hard work in the private (productive) sector of the economy.

P.P.S. You subsequently spent two years (and how much money?) going to business school! Surely you wouldn't have done so if you thought your undergraduate liberal arts degrees, and subsequent learning-on-the-job, had done the trick. All three of my sisters old enough to do so have gone back for masters degrees, to qualify them for jobs they wanted to do. For my part, I (the least educated of us now) just totally lucked into the whole web revolution, fiddling around with the right stuff (web crap) at the right time (1994). Otherwise I'd probably be living on a steam grate right now.


P.S. You forgot to include religion and PR in your list of "useful" majors:

For today's incoming sophomores looking to declare a major this fall, or for those seniors beginning their job searches for next year, here is Shatkin's list of "high-security majors," followed by that major's average number of annual job openings nationwide:

1. Nursing (R.N. Training): 233,499 openings
2. Graduate Study for College Teaching: 129,040 openings
3. Secondary Education: 127,178 openings
4. Business Education: 93,166 openings
5. Early Childhood Education: 88,989 openings
6. Physical Education: 73,179 openings
7. Family and Consumer Sciences: 59,961 openings
8. Public Relations: 51,216 openings
9. Medicine: 38,027 openings
10. Religion/Religious Studies: 35,092 openings


Yes, it's quite amusing/bemusing that you (rightly) recognise that a lot of people in prison haven't had the opportunity of an education but then fail to wonder why that might be. Hmmm, perhaps they can't afford to either ... Also by that logic, putting people off studying (which is what raising tuition fees will do, regardless of politicians' fancy semantic and economic footwork around it) will result in more people finding themselves without the benefit of an education e.g.more people in jail.

I also agree with Mandy (and hold myself up as an example, if I might) that people with arts degrees can, amazingly, get proper jobs, get paid for those jobs, pay taxes from them and generally be productive and useful members of society. I'm not being immodest but I love my work and am appreciated and considered, yes, useful by the people who employ me. There's a study (to my shame I forget by whom, but it's an organisation that is 'serious' by any anti-arts criteria - PriceWaterhouseCooper perhaps) that shows the huge benefits that art activities have to schoolchildren and their teachers, other school staff, parents, plus of course the benefits, in terms of monies earned apart from anything else, to the arts practitioners who work with them. Of course we need scientists. But I for one am quite happy for my taxes to go not only to them but also to the basket-weavers. And, by the way, the 'violence' perpetrated at the first of these protests is, of course, entirely indefensible. But it also represents a teeny-tiny percentage of those protesting, the rest of whom by most accounts made their feelings known in a pretty British, civilised, well-behaved way. Labelling these activities 'student protests' and harping on the violence and vandalism, as the media has been doing with unseemly relish, just demonises the many at the expense of the very few. And that's always a good thing for society, isn't it?


Okay, okay. Perhaps my views have gotten a little unbalanced on this one.

The arts and arts education are indeed important, and (probably) deserving of public funding. One needn't have vocational training to be professionally successful. And the rioters != the protesters. Good points.

Thank you both for the correctives. (I'd hate to come totally unhinged.)



Stick to your guns Michael and tell Mandy where to sit and spin! (Voluntarily, of course). :>

your girlfriend

Tasteful as always Noel.

Jacqui and Mandy - Well Done Girls!!!!

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