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Sunday, November 14, 2004

The Intellectual Quagmire

There are so many people trying to be profound with layers of meaning and all kinds of metaphor thrown into the mix. Now, as someone who is actively writing a philosophy thesis on Disney films I can almost sympathize with the cheap, near pornographic intellectual thrill one can get by divining meaning from the skeleton of general themes. But sometimes a cigar is a cigar, and Swingers isn't a postmodern commentary about the vapidity of the modern male's constant quest to seek fulfilment through sex. Reading authors like Don DeLillo and Martin Amis one gets the distinct impression of people trying way, way too hard to say something relatively simple - but to act as if it's been emblazened across the sky, gospel style, in fire. Masking a lack of incision with a thousand pages of prose does not make someone intellectually superior, except in the counterfeit way a scientist who fakes an experiment might be.

In the wake of the election there's all this animosity directed towards the plains states, and the "south," emblematically written about in what is a fairly amusing rant about the intellectual and moral superiority of the industrial northeast. On some level, every condemnation I've heard has this tone of hysteria about it. It seems like people took this election as a million little referendums about the quality of each voter as a human being - if you voted for Bush, you're some ignorant hick with no concept of anything and should have your right to vote taken away, so that the intellectual aristocracy can get back to ruling the country. Democrats seem to love the poor, except condescendingly feel as if they need to be cared for and are incapable of making their own decisions. The complaint, then, about how Bush is catering to the rich seems to a bit hollow - it almost seems like the self-titled liberals are just mad that they're not the ones who get to be in power.

I'm just not sure when "intelligence" became the absolute barometer for people. I may be just hanging out with the wrong crowd, but the value people put in this seems sickly cultlike.

cranked out at 1:25 PM | |

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