A Polymath Hosts the Oscars

The actor James Franco is something of an anomaly in Hollywood. He has the matinee idol good looks that should by rights should have him in a Twilight-like franchise but he seems distracted from La-La Land because of his thirst for education. Like most of us who fall into the mature student bucket we juggle school with work and life it’s just that Franco takes it to the extreme. In the last few years he’s balanced acting with launching a career as a conceptual artist, writing, and graduate school.  At one point Franco was enrolled in four graduate programs (film making at NYU, poetry in North Carolina, and fiction writing at Brooklyn College and Columbia) and now he is focusing on his Ph.D in English at Yale (and something arty at the Rhode Island School of Design), and of course his gig co-hosting the Oscars.

Franco has had some harsh reviews for his Oscar turn, and I’ll be honest the material wasn’t great and he looked distracted. There were times I thought I caught a familiar look. The one where your body is present (be it in a meting, grocery store or out with friends) but your mind is elsewhere churning things over. I spent most of last April in this state, and am in the process for gearing up for it again. Perhaps we should think of it as the ‘pre-exam state’.  Regardless of how well the Oscars went you can’t but admire someone who is so gung-ho about further education. Once you get sucked back in it can be hard to get out – there is always something else to study as one thing generally leads to another. I’m in my final few months (*gulp*) of my degree in Classical Studies, and whilst graduate school is still a few years away (I need to get some dead languages under my belt) I am toying with the idea of doing a diploma in Sociology or English in the interim. I’d love to hear from anyone who is taking these courses, or also has an addiction to education.

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