As the epitome of a humanities student, I get a lot of negative feedback for how my major doesn’t matter and what I study doesn’t apply to “useful things in the real world.” Maybe it’s true that I can’t build a computer from scratch or brew meth in a science lab, but my major is not entirely irrelevant. Thus, I’ve compiled several instances off the top of my head that exemplify real-world applications of what I’ve learned.
1) Horror movies from the past two decades are modern versions of the The Decameron and The Heptaméron. For those of you who haven’t read these didactic tales of 14th and 16th century Italy and France, respectively, they are compilations of short, cautionary tales told by a smorgasbord of characters to each other while sequestered in the countryside. Think about it: when do you see this type of gathering in the middle of nowhere, with a moral message at the end? Answer: horror movies. Blonde, promiscuous chick gets the axe first, oafish bro gets knifed second, etc. Why? Because the exemplify qualities that are generally regarded as undesirable or deplorable in society. Similarly, the lady who cheats on her husband in The Heptaméron gets the skeleton of her dead lover tacked in her closet to remind her of her slutty sins.
2) Sometimes writers really sucked as youths and then got their shit together when they were in their middle-ages. Even then, maybe they squeezed out one immortal classic that was inspired by years of profound, reflective thought (I’m looking at you, Milton and Salinger). Guess what, still happens! Ever heard of Dan Brown? Maybe The Da Vinci Code won’t become the next Paradise Lost, but seriously, history repeats itself.
3). Right now I’m taking an Irish History class. Fun fact: IRELAND STILL HATES ENGLAND. It’s been over a thousand years, but Ireland and England cannot reconcile their differences (for good reason on Ireland’s part because England pulled the most ghastly series of dick moves towards them for ten decades). Check the news: four pipe bombs have been sent to Northern Ireland’s parliament building in the past month. Pourquoi? Long answer: it’s a long story, like 1,000 years long.
4). Moody artists are the most popular artists. From Caravaggio to Kurt Cobain, the legacy of the tormented genius lives on. The public will immortalize these artists’ unattainable creative tempestuousness again and again because it is so different, so appealing, and so out of the scope of our everyday lives that we are drawn to them like helpless gnats to a lone lamplight in the night.
While these might not be as cool as curing cancer or encoding the next online dating website, I hope that this proves even the smallest, most trivial aspects of a humanities college career can be useful. Long tirade short, the humanities can be traced to our modern day world. Question is, how will you interpret and employ the lessons you learned from history or the humanities to changing the world we live in today?