Friday Rants: Intellectuals, I have had it with you

Intellectuals, I have had it with your crap. I have had it with your Laputan thinking and your Utopian fantasies. I have had it with the assumption that people who do not instantaneously agree with you are somehow mentally deficient.

I have had it with being lectured by people who know nothing of the subject about which they are lecturing me. Read a history or an economics textbook; they aren't that hard to find. Further, I read Paul Johnson's Intellectuals, and all the heroes you shove in my face -- Rousseau, Marx, and their ilk -- were actually philandering, maladjusted bastards. (And, yes, I realize that Johnson's work was hardly disinterested and highly selective. The term "hatchet job" might be reasonably applied to it. This is a rant, however; so bear with my crass generalization.)

To all intellectuals who intend to lecture me, I have the following response. It references an obscure source because -- post-modernists that you are -- parody and circumlocution are the only languages you understand.

In his play Man and Superman, Bernard Shaw criticized conventional British gentlemen and women as hypocritical, pointing out correctly that being conventional is not being moral. (Here is the passage to which I am referring.) With full realization that this description fits me as well, I paraphrase that passage as follows:

To the New York intellectuals (you know who you are):

Your friends are not beautiful; they are only hot. They are not healthy; they are only thin. They are not intellectual: they only read the New Yorker. They are not educated: they possess degrees. They are not worldly: they vacation. They are not moral: they are only conventional. They are not progressive: they are muckrakers. They are not even productive: they are only 'activists'. They are not original: they are only alternative. They are not articulate: they are only loud. They are not committed: they are only obsessed; not open-minded, only right-thinking; not critical, only argumentative; not generous, only ashamed; not self-respecting, only arrogant; not just, only egalitarian; not tolerant, only democratic; not intelligent, only opinionated; not funny, only cynical; not genuine, only exhibitionists; not happy, only self-satisfied. They are not even principled: they are just self-righteous, every one of them with every fiber of their being.


There you go, intellectuals. Suck it. You got served, Shaw-style. I have thrown down, and I challenge you to respond in equally obscure terms.

More like this

Are too many neuroscientists are trying to popularize the state of their science? Jason Zevin thinks so: At best, most of what is known is more complicated than I'm able to understand--much less explain to a general audience. And at least some of what I know about any topic in neuroscience is…
Sometimes I forget that not everyone who happens upon this blog today has been reading it from day one (I mean come on, why haven't you?). It surprises me, then, when people tell me they've seen no evidence that George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's conceptual metaphor theory is, well, wrong. I guess I…
Daniel Drezner: Public Intellectual 2.0: ".....The pessimism about public intellectuals is reflected in attitudes about how the rise of the Internet in general, and blogs in particular, affects intellectual output. Alan Wolfe claims that "the way we argue now has been shaped by cable news and…
One of the problems with intellectual conversations is that they are generally restricted to intellectuals. By their nature intellectuals tend to value reflection and some semblance of comprehension and consistency. This is a "curved" scale; I'm not contending here that intellectuals really…

Being a philandering, maladjusted bastard does not automatically make one wrong.

I think many of your many generalizations apply equally to Med students.

Trotsky is trying to sit up in his grave.

"Wow, can this guy rant. He reminds me of me."

Great post! Thanks!!

By Nebularry (not verified) on 25 Jan 2008 #permalink

I know it was a "rant", but, wow, is it ever funny to hear someone rant that they are open-minded and someone else is not. Sounds like a high school column about trying to be cool.

Come with me
And you'll be
In a world of
Pure imagination
Take a look
And you'll see
Into your imagination

We'll begin
With a spin
Traveling in
The world of my creation
What we'll see
Will defy

--Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley

man, I wish I wrote that.

By machinist (not verified) on 25 Jan 2008 #permalink

Being a philandering, maladjusted bastard does not automatically make one wrong.

Oh, indeed. The fact that the people mentioned we also totally wrong is merely incidental.

By Caledonian (not verified) on 25 Jan 2008 #permalink

While the targets of your scorn are fairly deserving, given the crass generalizations in question, I fear you'll find that most rants are like champaign: you regret them in the morning.

Two wise men once wrote, "A mode of thought does not become 'critical' simply by attributing that label to itself, but by virtue of its content." I liked that line (by Sokal and Bricmont in what was perhaps one of the longer modern rants:Fashionable Nonsense.

Shaw was a huge proponent of eugenics

I know it was a "rant", but, wow, is it ever funny to hear someone rant that they are open-minded and someone else is not. Sounds like a high school column about trying to be cool.

Posted by: Treb | January 25, 2008 1:32 PM

I got the same impression, but that's OK, just shows you are in touch with your emotions! Maybe it would help you to realize that no 2 people ever know exactly the same things. If someone says they are an intellectual and you are not therefore they are better than you, that is absurd! There are plenty of things you know that they don't. Acquired knowledge becomes important contingent on the circumstances. A person who considers themselves an intellectual and thinks that makes them more important than say, a garbage collector, will change their tune radically if the garbage collecting expert decides to not perform their function for a couple of weeks!
Dave Briggs :~)