Our graduates use their skills in many different ways, like Mark Takano, who has taken his MFA to Congress. In this profile in the New York Times, he dishes on how he uses his grammar and Jane Austen skills in office:
You were a high-school English teacher for 24 years, and you have notoriously marked up your colleagues’ writings with red pen. I’m very judicious with my red pen. The last time I did it was with Marco Rubio’s op-ed essay on net neutrality, and I just couldn’t resist. I have perfect grammar.
You do? I do! It’s like, People, the object of the preposition takes the accusative form! But the point of the red pen is to be clever in the way that we could criticize someone’s arguments. Senator Lisa Murkowski got mad at me once — she said that was the kind of thing that makes people mad about Congress, this hyperpartisanship. But she was holding up a bill that was affecting 11 million people.
What work of literature has stuck with you? I liked to teach “Pride and Prejudice.” I always wondered if Charlotte was a lesbian, so gay marriage was sort of what piqued my interest in Jane Austen. I look at so many young gays, and I think: You know what? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Before you rush into anything, read Jane Austen. A good man is really hard to find, you know?