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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Friday, April 23 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Intellectual/ism, continued

Continuing to ring some changes on the discussion of "intellectual" and "intellectualism" started on Wednesday: a few observations. Though the definition I promoted last time, "given to study, reflection, and speculation; engaged in activity requiring the creative use of the intellect" would seem to apply to anyone who teaches anything from elementary school through college, anyone who prepares and preaches sermons, anyone who writes poetry, stories, or essays, or anyone who writes news stories for the media related to that pursuit...though that covers people we all know and are probably closely related to (if it doesn't apply to us ourselves)...despite that, most people don't seem to want to be thought of as "intellectuals."

Moreover, though he's a graduate of one of the country's top-four-rated and most expensive universities, Yale, President George W. Bush doesn't want to be thought of as intellectual and seems to be working hard at avoiding being perceived that way. Furthermore, I'm betting he can attribute much of his popularity (which seems by the polls to be a little bit more than he is hated) to that choice. I'm guessing here on both points. I'm not saying his Texas ways, his quick readiness to profess to reading no newspapers, his impeded speech after a lifetime spent among politicians and no-doubt sharp thinkers (not to mention being married to a sharp and charming wife), are not genuine. It's possible he long-ago chose to eschew the suave charm of the Harvard-educated Kennedys and the Oxford dropout Clinton, and succeeded. It's possible he's true Country-and-Western. But it's also possible his critics are correct in judging him lacking.

This isn't a political discussion; I mention the President just as an example, the best-known one we all might know, of a choice against the intellectual way of life. When he makes a speech (omitting his extemporaneous ones), it's apparent that he is "given to study, reflection, and speculation; engaged in activity requiring the creative use of the intellect." His success in governing one of the nation's largest, wealthiest, most-diverse states seems to fit his patrician background, and his success at turning around that state's educational system and winning millions of its Mexican-American voters to his side are no mean feats. (And at least, unlike his current main rival, he didn't pass himself off as a member of a nationality from which he has no ancestors to endear himself to Boston's Irish voters, or those of Texas.)

When I was in seventh grade at Big Bend School I lost my longtime best friend. Since third grade we'd been on the same wavelength mentally; we went to the same church where we were often the only grade school kids in attendance. But all of a sudden he became country and western. That was something I couldn't understand or relate to. To me it meant becoming anti-intellectual, and if there was one thing Blacklick Valley didn't need, it seemed to me, it was more anti-intellectuals. A few years ago I helped plan our high school class 40th reunion and was surprised to see him listed among the graduates. We had drifted so far apart that I didn't even remember him being still a member of our class of less than 40 members.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Country wisdom (end of series)

Most of the stuff people worry about never happens.

—Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz 

Thought for today

If you want government to intervene domestically, you're a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you're a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you're a moderate. If you don't want government to intervene anywhere, you're an extremist.

— Joseph Sobran, Editor of the National Review in 1995 
Sent by Trudy Myers 

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