The first time I met someone with a bachelor's degree that really didn't seem to me to be educated just underlined this for me. Don't get me wrong, it was that first university that opened the doors to knowledge for me--well, their library, mostly! And a few professors. But the acquiring or not of a degree is a quite different thing from the acquiring of knowledge. I have learned more outside of class than I ever did in class. In fact, with probably too much honesty, I used to tell my students when I taught classical guitar at university, that I could not teach them to play guitar--that they had to do themselves. All I could do was guide them, offer encouragement and criticism as needed and provide them with the appropriate materials. They had to do all the actual work!
I bring this up because I just read a very thoughtful article on the slow rot of the university credential titled "Death by Degrees". Here is a telling quote:
Introductory economics courses paint “rent-seekers” as gruesome creatures who amass monopoly privileges; credential-seekers, who sterilize the intellect by pouring time and money into the accumulation of permits, belong in the same circle of hell.Worth reading for what it reveals about the situation in universities today.
Of course blogs are a great threat to all those credentialed dispensers of knowledge because they can't prevent us from dispensing our knowledge. Or opinion, whatever! University departments of music tend to dispense a standard view of aesthetic value, though they usually call it 'importance'. So-and-so is an important composer and we will talk about him all the time while this other guy is not and we will never mention him. There is sort of a standard model of music history.
The nice thing about doing a blog is that you can present a NON-standard model. I can say on this blog (and have) that most of what John Cage did was a joke. And someone like Shostakovich is a thousand times better as a composer. Nothing sterile about my intellect.