While in Milwaukee yesterday, President Barack Obama spoke on the floor of a General Electric plant about employment and education. While trying to connect with his audience and stress the importance of skilled labor, he said something that has pissed off a lot of people in the liberal arts.
We don't have the full transcript of his talk, but the diss heard 'round the country was a bit of a dig at art history majors: "A lot of young people no longer see the trades and skilled manufacturing as a viable career, but I promise you, folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree." According to the Washington Post, President Obama then chuckled and attempted to put out the fire he had accidentally started by saying "Nothing wrong with an art history degree, I love art history. I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. I’m just saying, you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education, as long as you get the skills and training that you need."
Unfortunately for the President, those aren't really words that you can take back. His remarks have been called "disappointing" and many are pointing to this, and the fact that he hasn't appointed anyone to the position of Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts in over a year, as proof that Barack Obama does not care about art people (Kanye voice). This is probably not the kind of thing he wanted to happen on the heels of a strong (according to the instant polls) State of the Union address.