The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

I really want to try to avoid getting political on this blog. I really do. I would like to demonstrate that there are many things we can all talk about without arguing or debating. But walking up to work today, I swear to God, I thought my head was going to explode. One coworker was convinced we were all going to be in the midst of a civil war tomorrow. Another was lamenting the funding of libraries. Not the LACK of funding. The funding. He feels that there’s no more need for libraries, now that we have the internet. A third thought all senior citizens were going to be put in concentration camps. I wanted to say, “If we can’t afford libraries, how will we afford all these concentration camps? And where are all the family members who would allow granny to be trundled off like this? Sitting in the libraries, or off to civil war?” But I bit my tongue.


I bite my tongue a lot lately. There’s no sense in arguing with these people, because they have one thing in common. Anti-intellectualism. They think the intellectuals are the source of all our ills, and that people with college degrees can’t be trusted. As if knowledge and learning in general are sources of evil. It’s impossible to have an intelligent conversation with someone who thinks intelligence is a problem.

Excuse me, but isn’t that what groups like the Taliban condone? They won’t even allow girls to go to school. Isn’t ignorance what we’re trying to get AWAY from? Lack of education and training is one of the very things that keeps third world countries in the third world. Is that really what we want to emulate?

My mother is probably spinning in her grave. As a first generation American, she prized learning above all else. Without an education, how are you supposed to lift yourself up out of poverty? She was preaching college to me from the age of six. It never occurred to me not to go. Many people come to this country so that their children will have a better life, so they can go to school, so they can do better than their parents did. People die every day trying to get to this country for those very reasons.

And yet there is an ever increasing number of people in this country who are holding up ignorance as if it were a goal to be strived for. If that’s the case, I weep for the future.

The most depressing thing about this particular blog entry is that I have no solutions. I wish I did. And I suspect that people who take the time to read blogs are most likely not the people that need to be convinced. But who knows. Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then. So I will leave you with this definition, for those who have never looked at a dictionary, courtesy of


[in-tl-ek-choo-uh l] adjective

1. appealing to or engaging the intellect: intellectual pursuits.

2. of or pertaining to the intellect or its use: intellectual powers.

3. possessing or showing intellect or mental capacity, especially to a high degree: an intellectual person.

4. guided or developed by or relying on the intellect rather than upon emotions or feelings; rational.

5. characterized by or suggesting a predominance of intellect: an intellectual way of speaking.

7 thoughts on “When Did “Intellectual” Become a Dirty Word?

  1. I think it became a dirty word when Bush… the second one… was president. During the first Obama run for the office, the Republicans began saying he was an ‘intellectual’ like it was a bad word. Which is funny when you recall they were running Sara Palin, the lady who could see Russia from her house in Alaska… not even on the coast of Alaska, mind you. And she couldn’t think of one thing she had ever read.

    1. I suppose when a guy like Bush gets “elected”, TWICE, you have to wonder about the nation’s intelligence level.

      1. You said it, I didn’t, but yeah, you do.

  2. Kind of reminds one of the doublespeak in the book 1984.

  3. Oscar says:

    This is something I’ve seen this year in Colombia. I guess we’ve been in this state forever, but only just now have I realised it. Corrupt politicians won the election once again because they excel at manipulating all the uneducated people. This is vicious cycle to which I see no end. They are in power because people are stupid, and people are stupid and manipulable because the governement have kept us that way for centuries.

    1. That’s exactly it, Oscar. Thank you for reminding me that this isn’t only happening in the United States. But on second thought, that’s not exactly a comfort to either of us. Best wishes to you all, and continue to vote, for all the good it does us.

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