29 April 2005

Gore on the judiciary

Al Gore's recent speech transcribed in Salon.

Gore's situation is an example of the anti-intellectualism of this country. The other Gore (Vidal) pointed out, helplessly, that something ... has made Americans contemptuous of intelligence whenever they recognize it. I've similarly blamed it on this country, suspecting that we don't want to imagine that some things aren't created equal. Some people are smarter than us, thankfully, and some people are more well-read. We can achieve an equal level of study, but others will simply have a more keen skill at making the connections. We should be grateful for that--and yet at the same time still be cautious enough to question those conclusions.

Instead, we get lost in a power struggle with a testy "you think you're better than me?!?"

Al Gore's writing always reads very clearly to me. He presents his ideas with the research that formed them--allowing the reader to question the conclusions--yet doesn't create a dry restatement of facts. And he often presents the doubtful areas of his suppositions within the text itself. His clarity is both of presentation and of ideas (many of which I am biased towards).

Sarah Vowell, in one of the essays from The Partly Cloudy Patriot [Amazon], compared the 2000 election to Revenge of the Nerds, but where, unfortunately, the jocks win. I've heard conservatives defend Bush with statements such as "at least he has smart people surrounding him" (as if a puppet would be a favorable option for president) and "he seems like a regular guy." I'm a regular guy too, but believe me, you would want someone smarter in office.

(I was recently pointed to a book that seems to fulfill the anti-intellectualist bend called A Reader's Manifesto: An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose [Amazon]. The author supports his position based on difficulties Oprah Winfrey had while reading a Toni Morrison book.)

[ posted by sstrader on 29 April 2005 at 1:10:50 PM in Politics ]