A week ago in my Analytic Statistics class full of Economics, Math, and Finance snakes, where I normally sit alone because I've found people in those classes to be either not friendly, awkward, or righteous males who look down on the women in their "big boy" classes, one of the said righteous males chose to sit next to me. He proceeded to ignore my presence until he took it upon himself to peer over at my laptop screen.
I had been reading an article written by a friend at Columbia University entitled "There's a difference between diversity and inclusion." I was enjoying this beautifully important article when the Righteous Male turned to me and said, "Wait, are you a Democrat?", to which I responded with a dumbfounded expression and role of the eyes. Even without any verbal prompt from me, Righteous Male opens his mouth again to say, "Well, I know who I'm not sitting to next class.", and turned away.
My initial thoughts were: 1. Why did this person think I cared if he sat next to me again? And 2. Is this dude's main hobby exposing himself to the world his SDE (Small Dick Energy, as the kids say)??
I didn't give this dude the time of day until he proceeded to follow me out of the class and walk with me onto the street. "So what do you study?" he asked me with a condescending tone accompanied with a sly scoff. "Comparative Literature and Producing for Film," I said with a monotonous tone and no look toward him. "Oh really?" another scoff. "I could've guessed." What was that supposed to mean?
"So, what do you expect to do with that? No one reads. Reading fucking sucks. It's such a waste of time." To which I realized what I should've guessed was true since the beginning: This dude was nothing but an idiot. I continued to walk and he continued to follow until I said, "I'd appreciate it if you don't continue to walk with me." To which he did not scoff, or maybe he did, but I was too far beyond him to give a shit.
This encounter with Righteous Male had me thinking about many things but one being the lack of respect granted to many people in the Humanities and to readers in general. Too many times my STEM friends will question me about why reading is important or asking me, my favorite question, "So, uh, what do you do in class?" always followed by the statement: "You have it so easy!" If that's the case, why do you guys complain about Texts & Ideas classes or other Core classes that require small amounts of reading?? Anyways...#tea
I grew up an avid reader. Reading for me, as well as watching movies, was about escape through the worlds authors created, and yeah, it was fun! However, since coming to college and realizing what I wanted to do with my life and taking classes in the Comp Lit department, I've found it to be so much more than enjoying fictional stories and characters.
I didn't switch to Comp Lit after my original track of Math and Economics because Comp Lit would be "easier" but because I could never see myself doing the jobs in that particular field when what I'm (arguably) good at and passionate about can offer me the same success while not absolutely hating myself along the way. To my high school Creative Writing teacher, I'm no longer a "sell-out" in yours or Holden Caufield's eyes!
Comparative Literature offers students intense critical thinking, language, cultural, writing, reading, and analytic skills that can be used in almost every career of choice. Reading books, discussing philosophical texts, and analyzing these sources down to even sometimes a few words of a sentence, is anything but "easy" and "unimportant". You try sitting down and reading Kafka or Freud or Levinas or the 4,374 pages of Proust that I read in my first semester of college. Yeah, I'm still proud of that!
Even if you don't major in the Humanities or a literature-oriented field, I can't stress the importance of expanding your mind through reading. Whether it be to take a break from school or to gain more information on a topic, everybody should read in order to better educate themselves in the long run. As Adorno said-one of the philosophers I've studied in my classes-what you do with your leisure time is supposed to aid to the expansion of the mind, so get off Twitter and read a book! Or at least the news!
And please, never insult someone's path of study. The only person that looks ignorant is you.