The test and the use of a man's education is that he finds pleasure in the exercise of his mind. --Jacques Barzun
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Today's issue of the Amarillo Globe-News contains a story that hits pretty close to my home. Apparently, some people have voiced their objections to a billboard ad campaign for Amarillo College.
I hadn't even noticed the billboards. The geezer in me won't take his eyes off the road. I proudly say in my raspy, old-man voice: That's twenty-seven years without an incident!
Anyway, here's an example of the controversial ads: One of the billboards pictures a shopping cart full of bagged groceries. The text: I wanted a job with choices. "Paper or plastic?" wasn't what I had in mind. At the bottom appears the Amarillo College logo next to the tag line: "Hire Education."
It seems like all of the negative reaction so far is of one sort. It says that the ads demean people who, for whatever reason, never went to college, folks who work for a lifetime in jobs that don't require a degree.
One of the many things my parents consistently taught me was that any honest, productive work should be honored. In my adult years, that view has become my own settled conviction. So I find myself siding with those who consider the ads irritating on that count.
What I don't hear about is how the ads tend to reflect and reinforce the debasing of higher education.
College is all about job satisfaction?
It's all about a better career? (And let's face it, in this climate better is code for more money).
No learning for learning's sake?
No becoming fit for public service?
No quest for knowledge or search for truth?
I know, in our current atmosphere, some of these questions sound ludicrous, a reflection of the problem.
Anyone who knows college life in the United States is well aware that student apathy and academic cheating are two of the biggest obstacles that professors face. There are reasons for that.
My question is why should a college ad campaign promote that culture of cynicism which undermines the academy's best reasons for being? For all of its instructing, shouldn't a college teach something of a higher order?
For a closer look, here's the story: Amarillo College ad campaign draws fire.
I'm curious. What do you think about this?