Anti-intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstatder

book coverAnti-intellectualism in American Life (1964)

Maybe it is intrinsic to American core perception of egalitarianism that leads to this hatred of the smart people. On a Bell curve, anyone not in the middle is treated with contempt by those in the middle. People hare and fear “dummies” but their true venom is reserved for anyone smarter than themselves. So they actively work to bully, ridicule, and shame people who are smart and driven to get good grades, pursue extraordinary dreams.

The principle exception to this is ATHLETES. If you are a good athlete your brain power or lack thereof is superseded by your physical abilities. I wish there was a similar elevation and appreciation for natural brain power on par with celebrity BALL stars (mostly men). These men make multi-million dollars while an artist starves (actually just has to have a day job or two; artists can’t quit making art, it is as essential as breathing.) or sells out so to speak. Live music is a joyful experience. To be able to create music is a magical talent. Witness the response to Prince’s death a few days ago. Such a loss. And a good person. Bullied and tormented and abused mercilessly, but he survived. And don’t give me that shit about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Only the bastards doling out the cruelty dare say such a thing.

I don’t recall who said it, but someone clever made the observation that they wanted a SMART president, not someone you could drink a beer with during one of W’s runs. This encapsulates perfectly how much hatred there is of intellectuals, that people think having an idiot you can drink beer with is sufficient criteria as qualifications for a president. Or Trump or Cruz, or Ben Carson (Gives me a queasy stomach just thinking about him, still don’t believe he made it through med school without cheating, plus his famous surgeries were, in fact, failures.).

Good book, must check out from library again to more fully discuss the ideas in it.

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