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Davis, California

Monday, December 4, 2023

Guest Opinion

Mister Chang:

I write in response to your article entitled “Major Issues,” about how wonderful it is to major in English. Your article lacks any modicum of support for your assertions and is both explicitly and implicitly counterproductive to your cause.

You attempt to convince people of the value of majoring in English by stunning your audience with dick-jokes and innuendos? Two years of studying and that’s what you can come up with? Essentially, it is bad and you should feel bad.

After your lengthy introduction, in which you treat us to the master storytelling techniques taught exclusively to the master-race of English majors, you state, “Fewer people pursue a degree in English, and consequently, the field’s not as competitive as it could be.” Am I to conclude that English majors are not “lazy and intellectually inferior” from this?

You continue, “The nature of the English curriculum is also more conducive to strong academic performance, as the grading scale is more subjective.” This statement is a non-sequitur. Let’s analyze your logic here: A: Grading in the English department is subjective, therefore B: studying English is conducive to strong academic performance.

B does not follow from A.

I cannot see how subjective grading leads to strong academic performance unless you are sleeping with your instructor or other unprofessional behavior is taking place. I dare suggest that this strong performance is caused by the field’s lack of competition that you mentioned earlier. A more parsimonious argument, don’t you agree?

I do hope that your logic is not typical of the “multiple equally valid arguments” made in English class; it is unfortunately typical of this article.

You argue that studying English engages you in constant critical thinking, that it makes students better “writers, thinkers, and communicators.” Science and mathematics teach those qualities as well.

Technical subjects encourage students to analyze statements by following the lines of logic used as support. Terms are defined rigorously and specifically in order to reduce ambiguity. Implications and doubts are investigated. As a science major I find myself filled with a passionate curiosity about the world and how it works. When someone makes a questionable statement, I seek out the evidence.

Perhaps reading literature helps you better understand motivations and subtlety (and teaches you to “become better at lying,” apparently), but studying science helps me discover truths about the world not limited to the transience of language and humanity.

The perk of better job prospects after college is just that, a perk. You easily discard the entire field of statistics in order to ease your jealousy of this, but I don’t mind.

Your article reeks of desperate insecurity in your choice of majors and I implore you to come to peace with your decision. Lashing out with lame jokes and whining about people being critical is not the way to win hearts nor minds.

English is a fine field of study and yes, people sometimes jump to conclusions. Don’t help them. Persuade them with maturity and eloquence, not by waving around your literary cock. A person’s life decision is nobody’s business but their own and I do not place judgment on anyone for studying English.

You don’t make it easy, though.


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