Rachel Maddow: “History is Kind of King”

In a recent speech at Stanford University, television personality and political pundit Rachel Maddow urged students to master the “art of argument” and learn to write well by studying the humanities and liberal arts.  When asked what kind of major she looks for in a successful job candidate, Maddow said: “I look for people who have done mathematics. Philosophy. Languages. And really…History is kind of the king.”

Here is a taste of an article on Maddow’s appearance from the Stanford website:

Maddow, who noted that she likes “techies,” sees great value in an education in technology and engineering.

But she also insisted that an education in the humanities is equally, if not more, important. “We need people who are good at explaining facts, who are good at editing, and who can visualize things in creative ways. We need good artists and we need good writers.”

Above all, she said, we need people who can create things, who can come up with new content.

“It’s not to say that technological innovation is not a creative enterprise,” she added. “Google changed the world, absolutely. But it didn’t make the world. It organized it.

“And that’s great, but if you’re not creating things, and all you do is organize other people’s stuff, then you’re Wikipedia. And Wikipedia is awesome, but who is going to write the stuff that goes into Wikipedia?”

Nonetheless, Maddow praised technology for revolutionizing the way people can access content and locate facts: “The landscape for new cultural creation has never been richer because of technological and organizational advances.”

In the end, however, content creators win the day. “I need good writers rather than good web designers. And they are much harder to find.”

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