So, with that in mind, I was particularly interested to read one of Jon Taplin's blog posts from yesterday (I hang at his cool, eclectic blog routinely), and asked him if I could cross-post it here in its entirety for y'all's convenient edification. Permission granted, so, here it is.
Creativity & The Humanities
July 6, 2008
Last week, I went to two events that reignited my belief that the answers to America’s education problems don’t just lie in getting more students to excel at math and science. The first was a book party in Pacific Palisades for the Dutch cultural philosopher, Rob Riemen who has recently published a long essay entitled, Nobility of Spirit. The setting of the party was quite appropriate because Riemen writes a lot about Thomas Mann, who fled to the Palisades to escape the Nazis. Mann worried about the responsibility of the artist and the intellectual in preserving notions of beauty and truth. Riemen is equally concerned that in our current obsession with the Global War on Terror, we are neglecting the life affirming role of art and culture in building human dignity and freedom. He feels we must be willing to draw on the well of Spinoza, Socrates and the classics to heal the wounds of the present.
The next night I went to Ian Master’s lecture series at the Hammer Museum, where Sir Ken Robinson held forth on the state of today’s public schools, drawing on his book Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative. Robinson’s main thesis follows the lines of our esteemed colleague Hugo–that K-12 Education, built on the industrial model, completely suppresses creativity in our students. While noting that both Paul McCartney and George Harrison both were dismissed from their middle school music class for being “without talent”, he feels that only by bringing art, music and acting back into the core K-12 curriculum will we find a way to engage young minds that may not be engaged by math and science.
I understand we will need a lot more engineers and scientists in the next few years, but in our rush to remake our school system, we cannot forget that it is art and the humanities that teach us how to creatively live our lives to the fullest.
I could not agree more. "Robinson’s main thesis follows the lines of our esteemed colleague Hugo–that K-12 Education, built on the industrial model, completely suppresses creativity in our students. While noting that both Paul McCartney and George Harrison both were dismissed from their middle school music class for being “without talent”..."
Yeah. Reflect for a moment on my post about the jaw-dropping young musical genius Esperanza Spaulding, and the troubles she encountered with conventional "schooling." Had she not escaped, the world would have been deprived of some priceless grace and artistic beauty.
I think, given who we all are in the extended Santa Fe posse, you will all agree with Jon's sentiments, and I hope you will show your support at the MOSAIC gig this coming weekend.
Who is Jon Taplin? Yikes. Check out this awesome rap sheet:
Jonathan Taplin is a Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. Taplin’s areas of specialization are in international communication management and the field of digital media entertainment. Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese’s first feature film, Mean Streets which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Between 1974 and 1996, Taplin produced 26 hours of television documentaries (including The Prize and Cadillac Desert for PBS) and 12 feature films including The Last Waltz, Until The End of the World, Under Fire and To Die For. His films were nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival five times.One impressive cat. Bookmark his work, at jtaplin.wordpress.com and check in for some nice thoughts on a variety of topics.
In 1984 Taplin acted as the investment advisor to the Bass Brothers in their successful attempt to save Walt Disney Studios from a corporate raid. This experience brought him to Merrill Lynch, where he served as vice president of media mergers and acquisitions. In this role, he helped re-engineer the media landscape on transactions such as the leveraged buyout of Viacom. Taplin was a founder of Intertainer and has served as its Chairman and CEO since June 1996. Intertainer was the pioneer video-on-demand company for both cable and broadband Internet markets. Taplin holds two patents for video on demand technologies. Professor Taplin has provided consulting services on Broadband technology to the President of Portugal and the Parliament of the Spanish state of Catalonia and the Government of Singapore. He is also an Advisor to the President of Business Edge Solutions.
Mr. Taplin graduated from Princeton University. He is a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and sits on the advisory board of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland and Public Knowledge. Mr. Taplin was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Broadband Task Force in January of 2007.
TONIGHT AT THE PALMS
We have special guest guitarist Melle Vasquez from the Cirque Zumanity show opening for Jerry tonight 'til he can get over from his Wayne Brady Show gig.
Check out some of Melle's tunes on her MySpace page here. Show starts at 10:30 pm. No cover, no minimum as always. See you tonight.