What I’m reading and writing, June 8

• Over at Extracurriculars I comment on another sports media mancrush, this one on Washington Nationals pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg, before he ever took the mound in a major league game.

• David Brooks of The New York Times suggests that in these difficult times, perhaps the study of the humanities should trump career-oriented pre-professional training:

“Studying the humanities will give you a familiarity with the language of emotion. In an information economy, many people have the ability to produce a technical innovation: a new MP3 player. Very few people have the ability to create a great brand: the iPod. Branding involves the location and arousal of affection, and you can’t do it unless you are conversant in the language of romance.

“Studying the humanities will give you a wealth of analogies. People think by comparison — Iraq is either like Vietnam or Bosnia; your boss is like Narcissus or Solon. People who have a wealth of analogies in their minds can think more precisely than those with few analogies. If you go through college without reading Thucydides, Herodotus and Gibbon, you’ll have been cheated out of a great repertoire of comparisons.

“Finally, and most importantly, studying the humanities helps you befriend The Big Shaggy.”

All of which warms this bachelor of arts history degree recipient’s heart. What’s “The Big Shaggy?” Read the whole thing to find out.

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