In what appears to be a new annual rite of spring, the New York Times has published a profile of the Brooklyn Brainery, described as "the Learning Annex in the age of D.I.Y. Brooklyn. " What kinds of things can one learn there? Well, nothing too useful. Pleassseeee.
They took the classic definition of a “liberal arts education” to heart; the closest one might get to an applied skill is making snow globes.
“That’s kind of the point,” [co-founder Jonathan Soma] said. “As soon as you start teaching something useful, eyes become dollar signs. We didn’t want that.”
(That sound you heard was the collective wistful sigh of a thousand suburban Times-subscribing parents paying rent on studios in Gowanus.)
But that commitment to the liberal arts is not the only way the Brooklyn Brainery resembles certain aspects of the undergraduate experience. There are the intriguingly named classes, like "Scents & Sensibility" or "Meats!" (“Our naming philosophy was that it was either a pun or a regular word with an exclamation point,” Soma explained to the paper.) There is also a familar-to-the-recently-matriculated reliance on a certain free online service in a pinch.
“I was mostly just looking stuff up on Wikipedia,” Mr. Soma admitted. This, he said, made for some rocky patches. “I taught a course on makeup,” he said. “I was going to talk about the chemistry of makeup, but the women wanted tips on how to apply mascara. We ended up at a bar.”
The most familiarly collegiate part of all.