Make Intellectualism SexyOctober 1st, 2011
I was inspired into productive rage by an article by Benjamin Spall. He tells of the pleasures of working in a stationary store, and our love/hate relationship with new school supplies. I love what Mark Robertson said in the comments,
“High stationary,” it seems, leads to lower literacy–the irony that we can buy our way to knowledge. I think an RSVP pen, a Kindle, a booklist, and a passion, is everything to teach “still water / to move.”
I think Mark nailed it; what’s missing from our school supplies lists is not something you can buy in a store. What we’re lacking is intellectual vigor. No one wants to put in the work anymore. Finding the easy way out has become more important than taking an afternoon to read a book. We are deep in the culture of the Cliff Note. Why read a book when you watch the movie -or better (worse) yet, read the two paragraph plot synopsis on Wikipedia?
One of my theory professors has a great line, “You are in charge of, and the motivator of, your education.” No one can force you to study. And beyond that, what is the worth of reading and studying if you’re not processing the information? We don’t place enough value into thinking, into taking the time to create connections between works. Even, heaven forbid, do research beyond what is required simply because you found an interesting thread to pull.
Mark says we need a pen, a Kindle, a booklist, and a passion. With reliance on a good library, you could get by with just the pen and a pad. Our society has been pushing ignorance for too long. Kids are taught early on that being smart has a negative connotation dangerously close to the social-life ending “nerdy” and “geeky”.
What the Saturday morning cartoons are missing in the unpopular nerd stereotype is that those intelligent/creative kids are the ones who shake up the world. We don’t need much more validation beyond The Social Network. Nerds are the success stories.
It’s time to make intellectualism sexy.
You can’t buy your way out, but you could read your way out.