Often when writing this column, I have to debunk some of the annoying stigmas attached to artists and the arts: self-indulgent, effete, irrelevant, boring, obscure, pretentious, a drain on the economy, a waste of resources — these are the more idiotic and trite dismissals. But there are numerous variations on the theme. A particularly persistent set of false assumptions regarding “arts” emerges when that word is prefaced with “bachelor of”. This week, the BA badmouthing rodeo was back in town. Step right up, folks! Same show, same horses and same riders. This time, however, the pretext was different. It started with the news that DA chief whip John Steenhuisen doesn’t have a university degree. The EFF rubbed its hands with glee; the media landscape is filled with unflattering articles about the party and its leaders, so they took the opportunity to remind everyone how many degrees they have between them. Steenhuisen’s defenders fought back, rightly saying that he is an excellent par...

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