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01:26:16 PM

Satirical? Sadly Insightful? I think I'll leave it up to you to decide.

Dear Existential,

It pains me to see so many people being pseudo-intellectual in the wrong way. It desecrates the memory of the great poseurs of the past. And it is all the more frustrating because your error is so simple and yet so fundamental.

You have failed to keep pace with the current code of intellectual one-upsmanship. You have failed to appreciate that over the past few years, there has been a tectonic shift in the basis of good taste.

You must remember that there have been three epochs of intellectual affectation. The first, lasting from approximately 1400 to 1965, was the great age of snobbery...

Check out the rest of this column by David Brooks.

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Comments :v

1. Bob Balaban08/09/2008 06:27:35 PM

I disagree with Brooks. Clearly the current pseudo-intellectual snobbery is all about ignorance, if not downright stupidity.

Who has been President for the last 8 years (ok, you can argue that he was only really elected once, but still...)? Have you noticed how often he actually BRAGS about having been a C student at Yale?

And the presumptive Republican nominee for President? Have you noticed how he is positively PROUD of the fact that he graduated 5th from the bottom of his class at Annapolis?

Clearly anti-intellectual, anti-elite "snobbery" is back with a vengeance!

2. Richard Schwartz08/10/2008 10:40:35 PM

@Bob: The phenomenon you're talking about is of course very familiar. Paul Krugman's most recent column in the Times deals with it, but the first essay I'm aware of that talks about it is one that I read in college. It was written in 1975 by Garry Wills. Unfortunately, I can't find on-line copy other than these thumbnails of scans on the Harper's magazine site, with the full-size scans only available to subscribers. I do have a copy of it somewhere, though, and a few fair use excerpts could make the basis for another blog post. The gist of the essay is that the nature of the day-to-day business of politics and government is actually biased against excellence, favoring the mediocre candidates over the intellectuals; and that the Republican party has understood since the Eisenhower era, when Nixon labeled Adlai Stevenson the epithet egghed, that the average voter is deeply skeptical of candidates who are "too smart to be trusted". It seems to me that now, after a couple of generations of this, anti-intellectualism is deeply ingrained in the GOP's strategy and tactics -- seen of course in their derisive use of the word "nuance" with respect to Kerry, and it's predictably happening again in this year's campaign.

3. Bruce Perry08/11/2008 11:27:18 AM

So David Brooks is explaining the secrets of his success?

He needs to include the ploy where you just happen to get your own notion echoed by the last cabbie you encountered. He and Friedman seem to get a lot of mileage out of that one.

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