In an October 10 editorial in the New York Times, philosopher Robert Pippin offers a very elegant defense of naive reading, in which he
Literature and the arts have a dimension unique in the academy, not shared by the objects studied, or “researched” by our scientific brethren. They invite or invoke, at a kind of “first level,” an aesthetic experience that is by its nature resistant to restatement in more formalized, theoretical or generalizing language.
As wonderful as Pippin’s piece is, it’s amusing, in a self-heckling kind of way, to remind ourselves not only of the challenges of graduate study in the humanities but of the real-world difficulties of finding and keeping a job, either inside or outside the academy, with an advanced degree in English or philosophy or whatever.
And for that you need to go extranormal.
(By the by, the bit about H. Bloom is below the belt, but still I chuckled throughout. And maybe you will, too.)