Believe it or not, many people bash college. Some, like Forbes Magazine, describe a “College Hoax,” claiming statistics mislead Americans into thinking a degree will result in higher earnings later on (Forbes.com). Others decry that too many college courses are not even designed for teaching useful and demanding subjects, but simply to draw students. And with the following college courses, it’s easy to see why people would agree. While we disagree with the premise that argues against a college education, there’s no argument the 10 college courses listed here are some of the stupidest around.
Taught at the University of Wisconsin by David Salo, a linguist, the course explores the Elvish language. Salo is one of the world’s leading experts on the language and was a consultant on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Isn’t that like being an expert in Klingon?
Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame
Available at the University of South Carolina, the course explores “selected social issues related to the career of Lady Gaga” and her rise to fame. It goes on, “These social issues, furthermore, are explored from a scholarly perspective that is grounded in the theoretical traditions of sociology.” Sounds like a lot of academia to explain the obvious.
Taught at Stanford, Virtual People, or as it’s listed “COMM 266,” explores the “methods of constructing and using virtual people and methodical approaches to interactions with and among virtual people.” Umm, what? Maybe this is why Lennay Kekua went to Stanford.
Sport for the Spectator
Available at Ohio State University at Mansfield, this course “develops an appreciation of sport as a spectacle, social event, recreational pursuit.” What about Tailgating 101 and Beer Drinking 204?
Learning From YouTube
Taught at Pitzer College in 2007, the course consisted of students watching YouTube videos and then discussing them. Said student Darren Grose, “YouTube is a phenomenon that should be studied…You can learn a lot about American culture and just Internet culture in general” (techcrunch.com). Why go to school when you can stay home and do the same thing?
The Future is Lost: The TV Series as Cultural Phenomenon
Taught at Tufts in 2007, this Pass/Fail course examined the “economic circumstances that led to the development of the show, the societal context that it evolves, and the possible effects of the show on technology and the future of media.” We know it was fun to follow Jack and Locke and the gang on the island, but when did watching TV become a skill?
As taught at Occidental College in 2007, this course was a “survey of theories of the phallus…” Topics included “the relation between the phallus and the penis…the lesbian phallus, the Jewish phallus, the Latino phallus, and the relation of the phallus and fetishism.” Insert your own penis joke here.
Harry Potter: Finding Your Patronus
Taught at Oregon State University in 2010, students in the course received “college credit to study the books and films” while “also learning about real life applications of the imaginary wizarding world and how Hogwarts and OSU students alike go through all the same developmental phases.” True, the course is meant to bring diverse students together during freshman orientation, but college credit? Dumbledore would not approve.
UFOs in American Society
This class was available at Temple University, and taught by David Michael Jacobs, who has a Ph.D. in intellectual history. He is widely known in Ufology circles. Who knew there was even such a study?
Theory and History of Videogames
Taught at Swarthmore College by Assistant Professor Bob Rehak in 2011, this course “investigates the videogame medium in both its historical and theoretical dimensions…to build a portrait…of a unique moment in media evolution.” Next time your mom/wife/friend nags you for playing “Call of Duty,” point to this class and explain it’s a learning exercise.