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Busted Halo
feature: entertainment & lifestyle
May 20th, 2004

Who Wants to Be a Liberal Arts Major?

 
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I can’t keep quiet any longer.

Beyond the teeth
I’m going to finally reveal the reason why daytime and prime time (Sun-Thurs., May 17-May 26, 2004) versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? have been such a resounding success. No, it’s not because it’s a clean, wholesome show the whole family can enjoy, and no, it’s not because game shows are a refreshing change from trash TV reality shows.

It could be because America is glued to the tube, hypnotized by the glare of Regis Philbin’s unnaturally white teeth, but that would be secondary.

I choose to ask the audience?
10% say they watch because they can’t find their remote. And the remaining 90% say?.because they are or were Liberal Arts majors !

Dingdingding, the audience is correct. After all these years of being mocked for majoring in Liberal Arts, it’s now our chance to bask in the glow of fame and fortune. Because who else would be a repository of relatively meaningless and certainly trivial information?

Oh, the skills you’ll learn
I majored in Liberal Arts because of my varied interests, and I loved each and every class.

But in the real world, I discovered there isn’t that same demand for someone who can discuss the volatile relationship between Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, or draw a map, to scale, of the solar system as viewed from Mars.

That’s why, shortly after graduation, I greeted a newspaper cartoon with more of a grimace than a grin. The caption read, “Plight of the Liberal Arts Major: I have read all the works of Jane Austin but can’t afford to buy them.” Ouch.

Oh, the coupons you’ll clip
We put up with our Porsche-driving doctor pals while we clip coupons to shop at “Pac n Save.” We fib to our lawyer friends that our schedules are too busy for a pricey evening show but perhaps we can squeeze in that discount matinee. We never let on that our evenings are booked only because of the part-time job at Borders?one of the few places, outside a classroom, where our gifts are truly appreciated.

Until now
Thanks to Who Wants to be a Millionaire (Super or Regular Unleaded), Liberal Arts majors finally have a chance to bask in the limelight. All across the world, as people sit around the television watching “Millionaire,” Liberal Arts majors revel in newfound celebrity, amazing our friends and leaving them speechless with our bottomless bank of knowledge.

Now we can gloat. You may be able to vacation in Italy, dine at Spagos, and drive a Corvette, but I, my friend? I knew that Frodo was a character from the Lord of the Rings books long before New Zealand started doubling for Middle Earth on the movie screen. Sheesh.

Suddenly, life is good
So to all the folks out there with graduate degrees possessing lucrative potential, step aside please for the minimum wage crowd. You’re taking up precious space in the chair across from Regis (or Meredith or whomever). That chair’s meant to house my gluteus maximus, not yours. I won’t need to phone a friend.

So quit dialing that 800 number from your cell phone. Give us Liberal Arts majors a chance to find a phone booth so we too can hop onboard the gravy train.

 
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The Author : Eileen Mitchell
Eileen Mitchell writes from Northern California.
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