The United States is entering uncharted waters as a superpower, as it slowly climbs out of a crippling recession and faces an electoral showdown this fall between cautious globalism and a desire to retrench its economy against external competition from emerging third-world dynamos.
Scientists of all stripes have for years investigated the proclivities and behaviors of our primate cousins in order to gain insight into human behavior, and a recent study of rhesus macaques has added two more shared traits: the enjoyment of pornography and the worship of celebrities.
It is one of the most debated subjects of all time: What is art? Some might think it doesn't much matter whether or not consensus is achieved on this highly subjective topic, but the definition of art has an enormous impact upon how the arts are — or aren't — funded. The question of what constitutes art spills over into debates about art's value to society — whether access to the arts is right as basic as education or health care. In this live event from The Floating University, Bard College President Leon Botstein explains why it is essential to ask these questions and offers a sturdy basis for evaluating them. He goes so far as to suggest that engaging with art can give our lives meaning and purpose.
Cody Adams is the Managing Editor of The Floating University. Prior to Joining FU, he worked at GreenSource Magazine and taught at New York University. He graduated from Vassar College and New York University's MFA program.