The follow-up letters I receive from those prospective Ph.D.'s are often quite angry and incoherent; they've been praised their whole lives, and no one has ever told them that they may not become what they want to be, that higher education is a business that does not necessarily have their best interests at heart. Sometimes they accuse me of being threatened by their obvious talent. I assume they go on to find someone who will tell them what they want to hear: "Yes, my child, you are the one we've been waiting for all our lives." It can be painful, but it is better that undergraduates considering graduate school in the humanities should know the truth now, instead of when they are 30 and unemployed, or worse, working as adjuncts at less than the minimum wage under the misguided belief that more teaching experience and more glowing recommendations will somehow open the door to a real position.
This, in one succinct paragraph, is why I bailed on my PhD in music. I applaud people who stick it out because clearly they love it enough to keep going despite the reality of it all, but that simply wasn't me.
If this article does nothing but make those pursuing graduate degrees in the humanities think very hard about what they're doing and open their eyes to the reality of the path they've chosen, it's done its readers a great service.