Is College Becoming Devalued?

Will more college education for more people make Britain more meritocratic and shrivel the class system? Nope. “Employers are becoming less interested in educational qualifications. That’s happening for two reasons. Part of the job of higher education is to send a signal to employers—that someone has learnt to think, to persevere, to absorb information and to present ideas. As the supply of graduates grows, and the quality of teaching in Britain’s shabby, crowded universities declines, this signal is fading. At the same time, services have been growing at the expense of manufacturing, and, increasingly, the qualities that employers in the service sector want are those the middle classes acquire at home: articulacy, confidence and smartness.”

Does American Culture Have Legs For The Long Run?

American culture dominates the world like no other in human history. But will it have the staying power of Plato? “Some experts believe US domination of communication channels makes it inevitable that its messages will become far more entrenched than those of previous empires. The main difference now in favor of American culture is the importance of technology – telephone, Internet, films, all that did not exist in ancient Greece or the Mongol empire.”

WTC – Making The Aesthetic Arguments

Revisions to the WTC memorial are creating an interesting conversation on design function. “When the site is complete, it will form the backdrop for aesthetic conversations between youth and experience; between the logic of the corporate world and that of the avant-garde; and, we found out this week, between minimalist abstraction and literal narrative.”

Ancient City Found Under Naples

A port city dating back to the 2nd Century has been found under Naples. “Extending into the heart of present-day Naples, the second-century port was found 13 meters (43 feet) beneath one of the city’s main squares, not far from the 13th-century Maschio Angioino fortress. Evidence for the ancient Mediterranean port included a 10-meter (33-foot) ship, wooden pieces belonging to piers, and various items.”

Tobias: Hubbe’s “Apollo” The Finest I’ve Seen

Next up in New York City Ballet’s Balanchine celebration – Apollo. “At the first showing of Apollo in the New York City Ballet’s Balanchine 100 Centennial Celebration—in the curtailed staging, alas—Nikolaj Hübbe offered an Apollo in the tradition that charts the god’s evolution, giving a performance that I consider one of the finest accounts of the role that I’ve witnessed and one of the most illustrious in his career.”

At The Ballet – A Musical Scandal

Terry Teachout attends City Ballet’s latest Balanchine installment and is appaled by the orchestra: “I learned long ago not to expect miracles out of the NYCB pit orchestra, but I was shocked by what I heard. The playing of the string section in both pieces was ill-tuned and inaccurate, and in the case of Concerto Barocco the performance, particularly in the first movement, was so rhythmically uncertain as to adversely affect the quality of the dancing on stage. Dancers can’t do their job when they’re not sure what tempo to take. My friend was appalled. I was embarrassed.”

Presidential Candidates And The Arts

The American Arts Alliance is asking presidential candidates to state their positions on the arts. “We have an agenda for the American Arts Alliance: federal funding for the arts, tackling issues around artists from foreign countries wishing to perform here, and tracking all legislation that affects arts groups, such as nonprofit accountability reform. For 2004, we feel it’s important to engage candidates in the presidential race — in all parties — a little bit more than they have, say, in the past on the subject of the arts. So we sent each of their campaigns a letter asking them to make a pledge — a commitment to encourage the creative development and appreciation for the arts.”

Austin Arts Outdraw Sports

A new national study reports that “despite a flagging economy and a stubborn reputation for elitism, Austin Texas’s performing arts outdraw sports events and live music, while their audiences are more diverse than is commonly assumed. Those are among the findings of a national study on attendance and attitudes toward theater, dance, symphony, opera and related arts in five cities.”