Cute quote, but this class on the New York Yankees, started in response to a class on the Red Sox, is probably still a waste of time and money:
“From World War II through the turn of the century, the Yankees were the dominant cultural icon of this country,” says Mr. Curtis. “Nobody can deny that.” Citing the team’s 26 championships and 13 World Series defeats, he adds: “The American experience is about tremendous wins and heartbreaking losses, and the Yankees give us both. … The American experience isn’t only about losing a bunch of times and being mediocre the rest.”
Look, I’ll be the first to say that offering classes on seemingly trivial things isn’t the worst idea. What you’re aiming for in a real education is for people to figure out where good questions lie, and be able to talk about a number of things intelligently and thoughtfully.
But I’d be lying to you if I told you I didn’t feel this wasn’t a symptom of just how far we’ve fallen. I mean, you guys are seeing me blog what might be a semester’s worth of material in a post or two compared to what’s going on in most courses. And I’m going out of my way to make the past relevant, not just feeding off of what people already pay too much attention to, i.e. commercial baseball teams purporting to represent big cities even though they’re staffed by free agents from all over the world.
I don’t want to make this a “me” vs. “them” battle. I want to raise the question of curriculum instead: How much should one know, or be working on, or have expected of them before they go take a class on the Red Sox and Yankees? Some of you probably want to weigh on whether this class should exist or not: given that I’d probably teach Alan Moore’s graphic novel “The Killing Joke” and pair it with Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus,” I’m a bit ambivalent about getting into that debate, but you’re welcome to say something.
Btw, if you’re a student and thinking of taking one of these sorts of courses, I do encourage you to reconsider for this reason: you’re better off just not having a course in that time slot at all, and using your free time to go to the library or museums or just chill. During the semester, because of the pace of the work, the more free time you have the better.