the national interest

Obama Apologizes for Smearing Art History Majors

Apology NOT accepted, Mr. President. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

A couple weeks ago, President Obama used a speech about higher education to riff on the economic value of manufacturing skills as opposed to art history. You can see him immediately realize his gaffe mid-riff:


I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree. Now, nothing wrong with an art history degree — I love art history. [Laughter.] So I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. [Laughter.] 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 the training that you need.

Despite his immediate efforts at damage control, Obama received immediate push-back, including from advocates of art history, who defend the economic value of their field.

And now, according to University of Texas art history professor Ann Collins Johns, Obama has officially apologized for his remarks, sending her this handwritten letter:

Ann —

Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed.

So please pass on my apology for the glib remark to the entire department, and understand that I was trying to encourage young people who may not be predisposed to a four year college experience to be open to technical training that can lead them to an honorable career.


Barack Obama

The Obama apology tour continues! Basically, any group of people that hates America and gets worked up about it — Europeans, Muslims, art history majors — Obama will apologize to you.

Obama Apologizes for Smearing Art History Majors