Tuesday, October 05, 2004

About MFA Programs

With the sudden rise of blogs, it's said that journalism degrees are now obsolete.

How much more so then for Master of Fine Arts degrees?

I've puzzled over the purpose for these programs. Writing is akin to talking. Learn a few basic steps, a smattering of rules-- and then do it. Everyone should be able to write by the end of grammar school, or anyway high school. (Why else are people IN school?)

Several types of individuals go into MFA programs.

1.) THE WANNABES. These are people who actually CAN'T write, but wish to be writers regardless, and believe if they spend many thousands of dollars they'll learn how.

2.) THE CERTIFIED. People who can write, but need someone or some institution to tell them so. They need the document, as did Oz's Scarecrow, to tell them they're approved.

3.) THE NETWORKERS. People who know they can write but are hard-edged and ambitious enough to believe that to "make it" in the System as a writer one better make connections with important personages.

4.) THE SOCIALIZERS. Just happy to be there.

What can be said of all of them is they have a natural propensity to be demi-puppets. They have little faith in their own thoughts and ideas, in their ability to create; in the requisites of being free. They don't wish to find their own style or path, but to conform to the status quo-- to follow the too-well trodden road.


Anonymous said...

The Mighty Fine Artiste programs are nothing but super-sized SUV schools for the luxury consumer education racket. Pinnacle of dilettantish decadence for a Wal-Mart nation. Cul-de-sacs of culture in the gated subdivisions of the Untried States of ItsNotFairica. Wizard of Oz diploma mills for tin men of letters.

"The economy of the future will be agriculture." -James Howard Kunstler

Forget literature...can these people fix a leaky faucet?

Tim Hall

Anonymous said...

Of course, for a more consistent analogy, I probably should have said "scarecrows of letters".

Or is it scarescrow?