Where Does The Term Underwater Basket Weaving Come From?

How did “underwater basket weaving major” become the quintessential useless major? Underwater? Never heard that before, it’s always been just “basket weaving”. I call this a real mans sport, yep me and the boys every morning at the crack of dawn! Did the joke start after a college actually began offering this course? Higher education is becoming very practical indeed. I can’t remember why I searched for this on wikipedia, but when I did I was surprised to discover that it’s a real craft. I guess the term is used by educational bodies as a sarcastic joke of sorts. The question remains whether anyone actually weaves baskets under water. You hold the reeds in a bucket of water so that they remain wet and pliable during the weaving process. The students who took the regular classes during the day referred to the adult education night class stuff as “basket weaving.” Never heard the “underwater” part, but “basket weaving” was used as a derisive term for easy majors at least a couple generations back, because I first heard it used by my mother. So whence the joke about UBW? With no phone, laptop, Xbox, or anything besides a pool of water and weaving materials, the alternatives to weaving are virtually nonexistent. The key concept here is that baskets – especially ones woven underwater – take time and concentration to weave. I often see the phrase used in reference to a silly hobby or useless college major.

 


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