Anti-professor bias

After reading this article on the use of “professor” against Obama, I am thinking it would be a good time to read Hofstadter’s Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. Have any readers of this blog read it?

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4 thoughts on “Anti-professor bias

    • You know, I must have had in on my mind because of reading your blog, because it triggered this “oh yeah, I should read that” re-ping in my head.

      I’ll put it on the stack…

  1. I think calling it anti-intellectual is reading too much into it. It’s more like, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Obama “isn’t,” in the sense that he’s not perceived as effective, a man of action. That might or might not be unfair, but that’s not a bias against intelligence. This so-called anti-intellectualism is traced back in the article to Buckley and his famed quote (which is misquoted in the article, not a very intelligent thing to do when 10 seconds of fact-checking could fix it). Buckley was not a person not lacking in either wisdom or intellect, someone often himself called a leading intellectual. It would be hard to paint Buckley as less intellectual or even less professorly than Obama. Wisdom is a product of experience, and no one’s ever accused Obama of having an excess of experience. So calling him “professor” is noting that Obama’s main actions seem to be lectures, not governance. Perhaps that’s a false perception, but you can’t blame his opposition for capitalizing on it.

    • I don’t think the opposition that uses the word “professor” in this context (e.g. Sarah Palin) would find Buckley that appealing either. Perhaps in ideas, but not in style.

      I don’t think anti-intellectualism is confined to the “right” either — it’s pervasive in the US.

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