In this article, the case is made that PC has made the humanities dreadful and irrelevant to students. I won't argue with that.
Ms Cohen says that the "critical thinking, civic and historical knowledge and ethical reasoning that the humanities develop... are prerequisites for personal growth and participation in a free democracy," and of course I'd be happy to join her in that view of the humanities. But in saying so she seems completely out of touch with what is really happening in college humanities courses, for it is not this. Doesn't she know that civic and historical knowledge of American history and institutions is at a low ebb precisely because that knowledge does not mesh with the dominant politically correct ethos of the professoriate?
Also true, at least at some times and in some places.
But I reject the notion that the humanities are some particularly nasty-tasting medicine that the student takes because it makes him a better person, for his mental health, so to speak--for "personal growth," a tiresome phrase that reminds me of granola and whole wheat bread without additives.
I don't agree with that view. I regret many things I've done in my life, but I don't regret spending four years reading great literature. I enjoyed it, but I don't believe it taught me wisdom or goodness. Life teaches you those things, to the extent you can learn them. When I was 20 I had read all of Shakespeare's plays but I couldn't say boo to a goose.
Shakespeare and the rest don't need me to argue their case. Great art gives great pleasure.