Sunday, May 29, 2005


Scott at Lawyers Guns and Money threw off a phrase that got me to thinking.

"You may have the impression that I'm some kind of snooty pseudo-intellectual, and your impression is certainly correct."

This made me wonder why Americans are so uncomfortable calling themselves intellectuals. Who in America would make this claim of themselves? But I'm sure Scott is an intellectual in the same way that many progressive-academic bloggers are. People use pseudo-intellectual as an insult and we call ourselves that rather than just say that we are the intellectuals that we are? This reminds of the long history of anti-intellectualism in American life chronicled so long ago now by Richard Hofstadter.

I feel that I am an intellectual. I spend a great deal of my life in ideas of a certain sort. I may enjoy less head in the clouds pastimes such as baseball but even when I watch a movie, I'm thinking about it as a lot more than escape. I don't say that being an intellectual has a value per se, and I'm certainly not saying that being an intellectual makes me better than a mechanic or garbage man. But it does make me different and I'm proud to be different. I'm very satisfied with my lifestyle and I have no problem both saying that I am an intellectual and to say that those who have a problem with it can fuck themselves.