On Public Intellectuals

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A host of British public intellectuals have sounded off on the question of public intellectuals… again. For some reason this topic has become something of a refrain for the British (the Americans as well). We are meant to think there is some tremendous mystery to be solved: the French, we are told, love their intellectuals – fête them even – but the British hate their intellectuals; they look at them cock-eyed, or askance, or sometimes even askew. The journalists ask: why this difference? John Naughton, for example, has reviewed some books that return to this depressing cliché, dragged out every so often and wheeled around like the sad, emaciated final elephant of a bankrupt travelling circus. The fact that the whole theory is a giant pile of garbage does not prevent it from being meticulously picked through, over and over, usually concluding with the staggering revelation that it is, in fact, garbage. Continue reading “On Public Intellectuals”