At an event at a GE plant in Wisconsin Thursday, President Obama reiterated his support for the manufacturing industry, saying that Americans could probably make more in that line of work “than they might than [with] an art history degree.” (The 6 percent of ‘one percenters’ with art history degrees would beg to differ.)
Art historians were not impressed. Linda Downs, executive director of the College Art Association, told Politico soon after the speech, “Oh my God, no. That’s just awful.”
The president quickly backtracked (perhaps realizing that the type of people that often come to mind when you hear “art history major” are the same type of people who come to mind when you hear “Obama voter,” regardless of either stereotype’s inaccuracies) adding: “Now, there’s nothing wrong with history. I love art history.” But what do the art history majors think of Obama?
Dana Gassner, sophomore at State College and art-history major: “I’m a big Obama fan right now. I really like a lot of his views. I like the way he’s going to pump a lot of money into education.”
Lo Bosworth, “Hills” star and art-history major: According to a 2008 article in the Boston Herald, “Not only is Bosworth a Brady backer, she’s bonkers for Barack Obama. And she’s soooo not impressed with the GOP’s vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin.”
Meghan McCain, daughter of John McCain and art-history major: “He’s our president and when the election was over and when President Obama won, all negative feelings were gone. I support the president.”
Prince William, future king and art-history major: Not sure. While the Obamas congratulated Will and Kate on the royal baby last year like the rest of the planet, there is only gossip about what the two couples think of each other (tabloids are pretty sure they probably hate each other because the President wasn’t invited to the royal wedding. They seem to be getting along in this picture though.
Michael Lewis, writer of articles about Obama and art-history major: “What I noticed is that that office takes your personality and exaggerates it — you become a caricature of who you are. And he has a personality trait that costs him politically, and it’s the personality trait of a writer. He really is at bottom a writer, and the trait is — he’s in a moment and not in a moment at the same time. He can be in a room but detach himself at the same time. It’s almost as if he’s writing about it at the same time he’s participating in it. It’s a curious inside-outside thing, and the charge that he’s aloof grows right out of this trait. So he’s got these traits that are of ambiguous value to the job, but you can’t do anything about it, it’s who he is. His politics — he’s essentially a pragmatist. His nature is problem solving. He’s not an ideologue, so it’s a little hard to get too worked up either way about his politics.”
Jill Kargman, novelist and art-history major:
Blue Balliet, novelist, former University of Chicago Lab School teacher, and art-history major: When she was asked if she stopped teaching at the Lab School before the Obama girls arrived, she said, “I did, sadly. I would have loved to have them as a family. I left just before.”
Amy Rule, former Art Institute of Chicago employee, wife of Rahm Emanuel and art-history major: At an event in Chicago last July that she headlined with Michelle Obama, the first lady called her a “dear friend.” She probably has many opinions about Barack, but has kept mum on them.