Max Nisen has written an article titled, “America Is Raising a Generation of Kids Who Can’t Think or Write Clearly,” for Business Insider. He writes:
De-emphasizing, de-funding, and demonizing the humanities means that students don’t get trained well in the things that are the hardest to teach once at a job: thinking and writing clearly. CEOs, including Jeff Bezos, Logitech’s Bracken Darrell, Aetna’s Mark Bertolini, and legendary Intel co-founder Andy Grove emphasize how essential clear writing and the liberal arts are. STEM alone isn’t enough. Even Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke recently gave English majors a shout-out. The point is that good writing isn’t just a “utilitarian skill” as Klinkenborg puts it but something that takes a great deal of practice, thought, and engagement with history and what other people have written.
I have to admit I find the argument about CEOs think the humanities are valuable to be missing the point and deeply suspicious. Nisen has followed this piece with a number of other related articles: “These Charts Prove that College is More Important Than Ever,” “11 Reasons to Ignore the Haters and Major in the Humanities,” and “Humanities Grade Inflation is Luring Away Millions of Potential Scientists” (which seems like the opposite of the point). To be honest, however, who is Nisen’s audience with these pieces? All those undergraduates and recent high school grads who read Business Week? I think there’s more going on here than meets the eye.