God, this is going to sound like something Fintan O’Toole would say. But, why are we always so down on the arts?
We always want engineers and doctors and lawyers and accountants but nobody points out how much we need artists and actors and potters and all the people who make places worth living in, in the first place [except Fintan O’Toole, of course].
Why is studying maths in school taken so much more seriously than art? I mean, to do the arts well, like, say, a good play, don’t you need to be very disciplined? Don’t you need all the skills that employers are apparently crying out for in the workplace like creativity and teamwork and communication? Why do I feel though that if employers are given a choice between a candidate who got an A in maths and one who starred in the school play, they’ll always go for the maths guy. Is that unfair?
Have a poem by Wendy Cope which is not quite on message but does also juxtapose the arts and hard science.
Why isn’t there an Engineers’ Corner in Westminster Abbey? In Britain we’ve always made more fuss of a ballad than a blueprint … How many schoolchildren dream of becoming great engineers?
Advertisement placed in The Times by the Engineering Council
We make more fuss of ballads than of blueprints —
That’s why so many poets ends up rich,
While engineers scrape by in cheerless garrets.
Who needs a bridge or dam? Who needs a ditch?
Whereas the person who can write a sonnet
Has got it made. It’s always been the way,
For everybody knows that we need poems
And everybody reads them every day.
Yes, life is hard if you choose engineering —
You’re sure to need another job as well;
You’ll have to plan your projects in the evenings
Instead of going out. It must be hell.
While well-heeled poets ride around in Daimlers,
You’ll burn the midnight oil to earn a crust,
With no hope of a statue in the Abbey,
With no hope, even, of a modest bust.
No wonder small boys dream of writing couplets
And spurn the bike, the lorry and the train.
There’s far too much encouragement for poets —
That’s why the country’s going down the drain.