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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » I’m that guy

I’m that guy

Confessions of a Middlebrow Professor:

What has been lost, according to Jacoby, is a culture of intellectual effort. We are increasingly ignorant, but we do not know enough to be properly ashamed. If we are determined to get on in life, we believe it will not have anything to do with our ability to reference Machiavelli or Adam Smith at the office Christmas party. The rejection of the Great Books signifies a declining belief in the value of anything without a direct practical application, combined with the triumph of a passive entertainment—as anyone who teaches college students can probably affirm.

I fully agree with this. I have recently trudged through some of these ‘greats’ and hated it. But what I learned from them counterbalanced it -if even for the allusions I can make now alone. Some of it I quite enjoyed (Plato, for instance) and some of it put me into a coma (Milton). Having a solid foundation in this sort of thing does wonders for critical thinking though, even outside of literature. (This is sort of a “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” deals.)

Also, I’ve never been afraid to reference these ‘greats’ at a social gathering, even if it makes me look like some kind of snarky little smarty-pants.

I’m knee deep in Foucault, Nozick, and William Blake at the moment. Also, Spanish. Good times, good times.

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