Adele Getting A Degree in English Literature on a Whim As It Correlates to Higher Education Being a Privilege of the Rich

Like working out regularly, as Adele does, getting an education in something you actually enjoy (as opposed to something you’re doing with the “I have to make money after this” mindset) is yet another privilege of the rich. Although it long has been, it seems with each passing year, once “basic” things, such as a implementing a fitness routine and pursuing an education in something you give a shit about, have become further out of reach for the so-called “common” man (or person). And yet, to be considered “common” by university standards (particularly American ones), a would-be student needs to have a mountain of cash to back up onto the campus in order to be warmly “received.” The same goes for taking the “online route” (ever-popular in the wake of coronavirus)—what Adele plans to use—of higher education. Which proves to be just as costly as the “in real life” approach.

Adele’s announcement of her intention to “take a break from music” after her Las Vegas residency is fulfilled (a commitment she seemed reluctant to go through with the slated first time around anyway) has likely touched a nerve within many. For it seems every time a famous person decides to show the extent of their true “depth” by going to college (e.g., the Olsen twins and Natalie Portman), it sets off news headlines in such a way as to make “ordinary” people wonder why they even bother. After all, as usual, a garden-variety act only seems to have weight or importance when a rich person (typically synonymous with a celebrity) does it. Where does that leave the rest of the “extras” of the world? The “stock characters” called People Without Millions of Dollars. And yes, tragically, that’s the “salary” (not that rich people get those, they’re just born with funds) it requires to attend college. Or rather, the parents’ salary, for we all know everyone else is relying solely on the indentured servitude guaranteed by student loans (since Joe Biden is patently full of shit about really “cancelling” them). Something Adele, in her position of extreme wealth, will never have to endure.

Even so, Adele is one of the few respected rich people among the celebrity cabal in that she didn’t actually start out that way. That’s right, she is that rare breed: a poster child for capitalism “working.” Which is to say, she was able to “pull herself up by her bootstraps.” A.k.a. enjoy the benefits of the fee-free British art school being a viable way to transition into a music career (i.e., famous person). In both her and Amy Winehouse’s case, that institution was the BRIT School. One she credits almost entirely with launching her into the limelight. Along with many others, for among her classmates were fellow future successes Jessie J and Leona Lewis. But, in Adele’s Cinderella story case, all it took was recording a three-song demo for a class project. In other words, the type of shit most people do in college, not at the high school level. At least when it comes to education in the United States of Kill All Artists.

Similarly to Lily Allen (in contrast to Adele, a benefitter of some industry nepotism) at that time, Adele secured a record deal thanks to MySpace, when her friend posted the demo online. This attracted the attention of XL Recordings’ “big boss,” Richard Russell. And the rest, as it is said, is history. Of course, there was some stalling and lagging at certain points of her early career, particularly with “cracking America” (which Winehouse managed to do via Back to Black without really trying). But once she made that 2008 SNL appearance, her international fame was secured.

Instead of keeping that momentum going, however, she cancelled a 2008 tour in the U.S. for a very Winehouse reason: “I was drinking far too much and that was kind of the basis of my relationship with this boy. I couldn’t bear to be without him, so I was like, ‘Well, I’ll just cancel my stuff then.’” Already acting like a rich person who didn’t need the money even then.

Being that Adele herself grew up in strapped financial circumstances (with her father having walked out on her mother, leaving her to figure out “money things” on her own), she likely never thought she would have this much disposable income to employ on something as apparently hoity-toity as dabbling in higher education. Yet she insisted to the audience she broke her news to, “If I hadn’t made it in my singing, I think I would definitely be a teacher. I think I’d be an English lit teacher… I definitely feel like I use my passion of English lit in what I do.” To be sure. For songwriters are the new Nobel Prize winners in Literature (ahem, Bob Dylan). With Taylor Swift likely to be on the horizon for a win in the future as well (to Lana Del Rey’s shock and horror).

All of this is to say that the (very costly) thing—a university degree—that should make the average person some money is really just a rich person’s recreational fallback when they get “bored.” And yes, it should be noted that it’s mostly celebrity women who decide to pursue such an avenue, perhaps forever fearful of the long-standing indoctrination that their advancing age will ultimately “ban” them from what they were once able to do/make money from in their youth. Ergo, why not have a “fallback” career thanks to a different “specialization.”

Nonetheless, Adele didn’t want anyone to get it twisted when she added, “But, even though it’s not like I’d go on to get a job from my degree, I wish I had gone to university, I wish I’d had that experience.” Proving, to an nth degree, that college attendance is very literally a rich person’s hobby. And when one thinks back to how these institutions began, with most of the attendees being the sons of well-to-do families wanting their progeny to become clergymen or doctors or lawyers, it’s all in keeping with the elitism that begat College in the first place. What’s more, “funding” for “the colonies'” earliest colleges usually came from moneyed families that could therefore influence who got in (their spawns) and what was taught (white supremacy theory).

To be “fair,” it’s not like Adele is a cunt, or whatever, for wanting to chase a different kind of pavement (likely to greater success than what that term infers). It’s “only” that, once more, the hoi polloi she once used to be part of so many decades ago must be reminded that their back-breaking effort to pay for college comes easily to those who aren’t even really that interested in it for the purposes of making money afterward. Money already being so effortlessly part of their lives.

To add insult to injury, she seems to think herself ultimately too good to be among the riffraff, remarking, “I won’t go to a university, I’ll do it online and with a tutor [much like getting fit with her personal trainer], but that’s my plan for 2025. It’s just to get the qualifications.” How nice that must be. To whimsically decide to “just” “get the qualifications” because one has the time and money to do so (not to mention the clout to actually be accepted). While the rest of the “lusterless” students drown in debt just so they can be considered for some shitty, low-paying job when it’s all over. One that, for whatever reason, requires a degree to sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day doing absolutely nothing related to what they studied.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Lily Allen balked at “spend[ing] a third of her life preparing to work for the next third of her life, to set herself up with a pension for the next third of her life.” But, again, she, too, had the privilege of balking at it as she jetted off to Ibiza during the years when someone like “Ernold Same” (a Blur reference) has to worry about “getting good marks” for college consideration.

Leave a Reply