America Despises Intellectuals

Danielle: the world needs leaders and scholars that understand the key questions about how to organize a society, how to parse problems, etc. how they’ve developed and how to be skeptical without being a nilihist, just as much as it needs engineers. Otherwise, what is the point of building a better aquaduct or whatever?

I sympathize with your view, but it often seems to me that the majority of Americans despise intellectuals. Just the other week a news journalist said with great scorn “Oh the asked Obama about thus and such but he answered like a Harvard law professor.” Well, duh… he is an intellectual. There is actually a 30 something white woman in my 27 story building near Wall Street who swears up and down that she really wants Rush Limbaugh to be the next president… and I questioned her carefully to see if she is being sarcastic, but she is dead serious. Rush sang a song to the tune of “Puff The Magic Dragon” with the lyrics “Barack the magic N!gr@” (take that you FB bots)… I have met people who want “Joe the Plumber” to lead the nation. Adelai Stevenson was a genuine intellectual. One admirer said “Mr. Stevenson you are EVERY thinking man’s choice.” And Stevenson answered “I know, but I need a MAJORITY to win. …. I GREATLY admire Wm Shatner since the 1960s in Twilight Zone. He has reinvented himself countless times. While it is true that he is a media whore, he is SUPPOSED to be a media whore for that is how he makes his living. BUT when you see him on stage with Palin doing a routine and walking off stage hand in hand, that means Palin is a media whore. Media whores do not make great world leaders. But look at what the world wants. They want 10 Judge Judy shows and 20 reality shows. They only want one Charlie Rose show and one Nova and one History Channel. I live in the heart of NYC, next to PACE and NYU. I haund bookstores. I talk to everyone I meet. You can hardly find a person who wants to talk about ideas. We life in a wasteland. Woodrow Wilson was the only president who ever had a PhD (ok I know he was a crummy president.) Nixon for all his problems had passed the bar and could read a financial statement. Sorry for my soap box… I am just kind of reacting to these threads with thoughts that seem somehow pertinent. Look what happened to Al Gore. Ok he won a Nobel. I guess he was an intellectual. Do we want intellectuals? When Obama was campaigning, some journalist said he would rather talk to a regular guy who would discuss his bowling score (honest to God that’s what he said).


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