February 1st, 2014

We may have just learned a little bit about Obama’s college transcripts

And he probably didn’t take art history.

By the way, I took a few courses in art history in college, although I was definitely not an art history major, and I can tell you that art history is hard. At least it was back then. Ever try to tell one Gothic church from another? Hard, hard, hard.

20 Responses to “We may have just learned a little bit about Obama’s college transcripts”

  1. Eric Says:

    If Obama went to Columbia, he did.

    “Art Humanities” and “Music Humanities” are required courses in Columbia’s Core Curriculum.

  2. rickl Says:

    I took an introductory level Art History survey course in college. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think I got an A or B. I never considered majoring in it, but I’m glad I took that course.

  3. Ymarsakar Says:

    I don’t think normal colleges offered martial arts or art of war curriculum, for some reason…

  4. Orson Says:

    Eric notes that Art history is a core required course at Columbia. But Barack H. Obama transferred in from Occidental College in LA, and the requirement was probably waived.

    Neo says “I took a few courses in art history in college…and I can tell you that art history is hard.”

    I majored in art history (as well as history), and I’ve been re-buying my old core textbooks, such as H. W. Jansen’s “History of Art.”

    Looking at the Sixth edition (2001), I have to tell you about the dumbed-down decline of this required textbook. While there is massive use of color plates now, the glossary is…simplified. And in the text itself, the development of technical terminology and formal style to enable the recognition and dating of different gothic architectural styles is disappointingly lacking.

    As I prepare to visit Greece with my once well-trained and visually sophisticated mind, the text book edition I’m reverting to is the one I originally had in my youth, the second edition, or possibly the third (1987). Supplemented by the crotchety Paul Johnson’s breezier survey from 2003, “Art: A New History.)

    The humanities has suffered decline in seriousness and sophistication almost across the board, in recent decades. The finest antidote I know of is American Academia and the Survival of Marxist Ideas” by Northwestern University comparative literature professor, Dario Fernandez-Morera.

    Fernandez-Morera demonstrates that whatever the worth of Leftist analysis, the same claims made today were more eloquently argued by the classical Marxists. In recent decades, the advent of PoMo gibberish has even dumbed down the Left!

    More to the bottom line, the same arguments are recycled by later Marxist influences “Studies” type
    scholars – and their reflection on the refutation and ciriticsm of classical Marxists is negligible.

  5. Orson Says:

    (SORRY -My apologies – an errant finger posted before the above post it was fully edited.)

    Fernandez-Morera’s study is over fifteen years old (1996), but remains the finest, most compelling sinlge expose of the pseudo-scholarship and ideologically-driven cant prevalent in the humanities and softer social sciences today.

    If anyone needs an “update” of worthy criticism, David Horowitz, Frontpagemag.com and the David Horowitz Freedom Center ought to top your list for worthwhile followup criticism.

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Horo persona that relapsed into Leftist Marxist agitation against American patriots?

    That Horowitz?

    He’s more stuck on old school historical authority than the artists are stuck on obsolete architecture.

  7. Eric Says:

    Orson: “Eric notes that Art history is a core required course at Columbia. But Barack H. Obama transferred in from Occidental College in LA, and the requirement was probably waived.”

    Unlikely. It’s possible he was granted a waiver if he took substantially the same university class to Art Hum before Columbia, but that would mean Obama still took an art history class.

    Even if he did take an Art History class prior to Columbia, I wouldn’t be surprised if the requirement wasn’t waived. Columbia is serious about the Core.

  8. Don Carlos Says:

    Columbia is serious about lots of stuff but that does not constitute a recommendation.

  9. Charles Says:

    Obama may or may not have taken an Art History course.

    I doubt, however, if he did take it that he had to do any actual work or learning. I suspect that by college he had already learned how to play the race card to just skate on by without doing any actual work.

    The attitude has been: “I’m black, so you’ll give me a good grade. I’m black so you’ll make me President of the Harvard Law Review; and because I’m black I won’t have to write anything. I’m black so you’ll vote for me for President of the US. And, if you don’t do any of this – you’re a racist!”

    Such an attitude has served him well, hasn’t it? Screwed us; but, served him well.

  10. M J R Says:

    Charles, 12:43 am —

    Don’t forget . . .

    I’m black so I get a Nobel Peace Prize because of what a committee of nincompoop white guys thinks I’ll do in the future — which, of course, fits hand-in-glove with their ideological (anti-USA) hopes and expectations.

  11. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Hmm … I was an English major, but I did the general art courses, plus a couple of specialized ones (Japanese art & architecture, and Roman art & architecture) and I don’t have much trouble with recognizing individual gothic cathedrals.

    An appreciation for historical aesthetics is usually not something that you can bank money on, but it does help in making you a well-rounded person. Which was the original purpose in studying things like art history. Or even history itself. Or English.

  12. Eric Says:

    Don Carlos: “Columbia is serious about lots of stuff but that does not constitute a recommendation.”

    I recommend Columbia.

  13. RickZ Says:

    I took art history in college as well. I still have Janson’s History of Art, the reference tome on that subject; there are still pencil marks on various pages indicating what should be memorized. And yes, it was hard because, not only with Christian cathedrals but also with ancient ruins, the images tend to all look alike.

    ♫ Parthenon, Pantheon, let’s call the whole thing off. ♪

    Owebama knows jack shyt about art history, just as he knows jack shyt about economics, or knows jack shyt about anything except the Marxist dialectic and Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals. Cripes, when this man and his beard went to Paris the first time for a G-8 conference or something, they were the only customers in a restaurant and had to have the menus translated. Who can’t read and order off a French menu, ferchrissakes, especially if you’ve gone to Hahvahd? But I’ll concede this grafter probably knows Stalinist era workers’ poster art all too well.

  14. RickZ Says:

    Orson, Janson’s Sixth Edition? Man, I’m old. My Janson’s is only the Second Edition. But after what you said about the newer editions, I’m glad I kept mine. (I kept a lot of my college textbooks. I just can’t stand to part with books — it’s a curse when it comes to space.)

    You are correct, though, about the dumbing down of the humanities. It is sad, one could say suicidal, when we as a people no longer know from where we’ve come.

  15. Sgt. Mom Says:

    *blushing slightly*
    My copy of Janson is also second edition. I kept it after the course because it was such a beautiful compendium.

    Trashing and dumbing down the humanities – and essentially wiping away our history – puts society into a kind of cultural sensory deprivation tank. Not good.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    Janson must have made a fortune in royalties. My course used him, too.

  17. T Says:

    In The Day there were two basic “go-to” art history texts, Janson’s History of Art and Helen Gardner’s Art through the Ages. I think that Janson was the more popular. It was my primer and my preference, too.

  18. neo-neocon Says:


    I was always sad that Janson didn’t have more color reproductions. I know that would have been very expensive, but I wanted it to be in color.

  19. T Says:

    Gardner had more color plates, but they were located within the text and not the same high quality glossy color plates that one found in Janson.

    Actually, there was a sort of a “scam” going on regarding Janson and certain other art books. They were printed by Abrams/Prentice-Hall.

    The same book was printed as a college text under the Prentice-Hall label, but as a coffee-table book under the Abrams designation. There was essentially no difference in the books’ illustrations or their content, but the Prentice-Hall version, sold through college bookstores, was always cheaper while the Abrams coffee-table book was much more expensive. Janson and Charles Cutler’s Northern Renaissance Painting are two works that I know of which were subject to this. I know there were more.

  20. njartist49 Says:

    I studied art history during the years 1968 to 1972; and Jansen’s was the reference book used: black and white images; I have no idea when it passed out of my hands. Not being good at memorizing, I did not plan to continue in art history. The irony is that my mentor at the time was an first rate art historian and artist: he took me on as an artist not as an historian; however, at that time he was investigating the psychodynamics of seeing and concentrated on that; and that was what he made me learn forwards and backwards. His art history emphasized being able to comprehend what a piece of art meant: art had meaning and we were required to be able to grasp that meaning.

    That being said, I have found that the combination of Artist/art historian is superior than that of the mere art historian. Also, having had art history, I am able to refer to older works to give me new understanding, to answer questions about process and design, and to combine ideas to make a new image.

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