It has recently occurred to me that it may be time to further our distinctions of the types of intellectuals, or free-thinkers if you prefer *eyeroll*, that exist in today’s society. I believe we can now make three distinctions.
They tend to look like this dude and hang around libraries and university campuses. They tend to be gathering “data” in “the field” a lot. Often they’re professors or work at non-profit think tanks and research institutions. They like writing books and reeeeeeeealy long articles about reeeeeeally complex stuff and things, that most people don’t seem to care about, even though they probably should. They can be black too. They can be female as well. They can be non-binary. They tend not to have a lot of likes and and followers, because, well, you don’t really get lots of likes for being an intellectual, and trying to further human thought. In fact, you generally get told you’re being negative, and should try some tummy tea, or re-aligning your chakras.
I like to lump myself in here somewhere. Along with the knowledgeable artist , the investigative journalist, the weirdo activist at all the think tank events, who also raps, but also paints, and does community work in Mitchells Plain regularly.
Seeing as I’m making this up as I go, I should note here that when I define this, I’m not using the “Pseudo” part as an insult. It’s just to separate those who dabble in intellectualism (and dabble well), but don’t pursue it full time. You know, you’re Immortal Technique types. You’re highbrow creatives. People who engage with intellectualism regularly but don’t necessarily pursue it as a a career, and probably spend a little less time on campus and more on the internet selling you healthy super-foods, because they studied Botany in a past life or something. People in the economy of likes and followers, but not necessary down with it. People who write philosophical novels and stuff. That kind of thing.
This is the designation I believe we used to give to the Pseudo-Intellectual, but the internet has given us a new breed of super super super mutant pseudo intellectuals, whom we shall refer to as Pop-Intellectuals.
The oh so desperate to be a free-thinker that I absorb everything pop culture tells me because I actually believe pop icons are intellectuals and/or free thinkers. Free thought can only come from those who are rich and famous. A professional philosopher could never have a free thought worth my time, but I better check Billboard’s No.1 pop track for my next dose of Epistemology.
The fake outragers. The, this deep issue is trending now, I better jump on it, and freak out on the internet quick, so I can get likes and more followers (okay fine, we all do that from time to time hehe).
He Who Should Not Be Named and his cult following. The type to gleefully inform you that you can separate art from the artist, and think they’ve blown your mind. Really, I mean really? Wow I certainly never knew that, and I definitely don’t have my own mind, and my own thoughts that dictate when I will and will not decide to exercise my right to separate art from the artist. Oh yes I better listen to that thing you’re trying to force me to listen to, because, OMG, I can separate art from the artist. Amazing.
The Pop-Intellectual doesn’t seem to like books a lot, or the library, or even googling anything they talk about. This is because they apply no rigor to their alleged intellectualism. I mean, who needs research when celebrities are experts on every single topic that ever existed, like ever, since, like, the beginning of all time when the earth was flat and stuff.
They never dig their heels in on a single issue and see it through. They seem to believe they can solve complex issues like racism and sexism, by not going to Starbucks for a couple of days. They’re lazy about real issues. They need them to go away fast, so they can go back to posting about how woke they are, and throw in a misquote of a philosopher like a Ayn Rand (seriously…ewww, don’t abuse philosophy for your narcissism, it’s gross man).
As soon as their favorite pop-icon or corporation issues a weak apology, or new album, all is well, and justice has been restored to world. They take economic advice from famous fashion models. They take medical advice from reality stars. They always have the loudest mouth, but their utterings are void of substance. They’re, as Greg Puciato would say: a mouth without a heart – an action without meaning.