22 Jul 2013

The Only Thing That Can Stop This Asteroid…

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McSweeney’s
rubs it in with some cruel satire.

By now you’re probably wondering what this is all about, why FBI agents pulled you out of your barista job, threw you on a helicopter, and brought you to NASA headquarters. There’s no time, so I’ll shoot it to you straight. You’ve seen the news reports. What hit New York wasn’t some debris from an old satellite. There’s an asteroid the size of Montana heading toward Earth and if it hits us, the planet is over. But we’ve got one last-ditch plan. We need a team to land on the surface of the asteroid, drill a nuclear warhead one mile into its core, and get out before it explodes. And you’re just the liberal arts major we need to lead that team.

Sure, we’ve got dozens of astronauts, physicists, and demolitions experts. I’ll be damned if we didn’t try to train our best men for this mission. But just because they can fly a shuttle and understand higher-level astrophysics doesn’t mean they can execute a unique mission like this. Anyone can learn how to land a spacecraft on a rocky asteroid flying through space at twelve miles per second. I don’t need some pencilneck with four Ph.D’s, one-thousand hours of simulator time, and the ability to operate a robot crane in low-Earth orbit. I need someone with four years of broad-but-humanities-focused studies, three subsequent years in temp jobs, and the ability to reason across multiple areas of study. I need someone who can read The Bell Jar and make strong observations about its representations of mental health and the repression of women. Sure, you’ve never even flown a plane before, but with only ten days until the asteroid hits, there’s no one better to nuke an asteroid.

Read the whole thing.

It was easier in my generation’s day. Liberal arts major just learned to code and became IT professionals.

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JKB

In a letter, now before me, of recent date,
I recently found this in a monograph on the co-education of mind and hand

Col. Ingersoll, with characteristic force, says:

“I agree perfectly that the hand and head must work together. Nothing excites my pity more than a man who has given fifteen or twenty years of his life to study–who is the graduate of a University and yet knows nothing of importance–knows nothing that he can sell–knows nothing by which he can make a living. HIs poor head is stuffed with worthless knowledge–with declensions and conjugations–in other words he has spent his whole life learning the names of cards and has not the slightest idea of a game.”



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