April 22, 2008

The Top 100 Public Intellectuals.

Selected by Foreign Policy. Now, you can vote for your favorite 5.

Let's see. Al Gore....


rhhardin said...

The important thing is to appear to be an intellectual yourself.

Simon said...

Without meaning to diminish him in the slightest, is Gary Kasparov really an "intellectual"? Chess is an intellectual sport, conceded, but his primary accomplishments are in chess, and his secondary activities are political with a distinctly activist rather than intellectual stripe.

J said...

"They must have shown distinction in their particular field as well as an ability to influence wider debate, often far beyond the borders of their own country"

OK. Why isn't GW Bush on the list?

tituswantsababy said...

Good morning fellow republicans

How was everyone's morning loaf?

Mine was substantial.

Two little floaters that congregated together on the side of the bowl and one huge sinker that plunged to the bottom where it stewed and leaked a little.

Thank you.

tituswantsababy said...

The two little floaters clung to each other for their lives until I flushed them.

Thank you.

ricpic said...

Thomas Friedman: oh yeah, there's a deep thinker.

No Ann Coulter, of course.

Only standard issue left-liberals allowed.

tituswantsababy said...

No Kathryn Jean Lopez on that list either. Obviously liberal biased.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Salmon Rushdie, Noam chomsky, Al Gore....

High comedy.

(can we please ban Titus?)

George M. Spencer said...

Lee Kuan Yew is no liberal, nor are Samuel "heavy bombing" Huntington or Soroush.

What about Dutch politician Geert Wilders, director of 'Fitna'? bin Laden? Carla Bruni? Murdoch? Jobs? Branson? Bill Cosby, profiled in the new Atlantic? And whoever runs Youtube and Facebook (responsible, accd to the WaPo above, for organizing hundreds of thousands of Egyptians).

tituswantsababy said...

No Madonna either.

Swifty Quick said...


Simon said...

ricpic said...
"No Ann Coulter, of course. Only standard issue left-liberals allowed."

Oh, yeah - the only reason to leave Ann Coulter off a list of public intellectuals is liberal bias. Nope, can't think of a single other reason. Ditto in reply to J - it isn't remotely hard to see why Bush isn't on a list of public intellectuals. Leaving the U.S. President off a list of people of influence - as I think Time magazine did not long ago - would be out of bounds, but including Bush on a list of public intellectuals would be absurd. What was the title of Bush's last book, again? I mean, if publication wasn't a prerequisite of inclusion, that's a problem in itself. Even Coulter meets that hurdle.

Ann Althouse said...

Titus is an excellent writer. That gave me olfactory hallucinations.

Kirby Olson said...

Amartya Sen, Ayaan Ali, Umberto Eco.

I wrote you in, Ann.

Henry said...

Aren't all these people about 5 years past peak? I've heard of too many of them.

Anonymous said...

Any such list that includes the Goricle and does not include Henry Kissinger or Stephen Hawking, for example, has been carefully defined in order to include Gore and others of similar dubious quality. The obvious invisible-but-present criterion for inclusion is mainstream media darling (and maybe a friendly definition of "intellectual").

al said...

Only standard issue left-liberals allowed.

General David Petraeus doesn't seem to fit into that statement.

Swifty Quick said...

Has Patraeus ever expressed his political views?

KCFleming said...

As always, I wrote in Rocket J. Squirrel.

Laura Reynolds said...

I used to have a higher regard for intellectuals. It must be the "public" qualifier that's diluting the field.

Chip Ahoy said...

Kirby, Umberto Eco is on the list, but I too would have liked to see Ayaan Ali on it.

Simon, since you asked, the name of the book was A Charge to Keep. But there are other books he coauthored and still others written from things he said, entire careers built on his speeches (whether or not he actually wrote what he said in speeches is doubtable), and of course, on his missayings an enduring source of amusement for all. Simon, you did ask, so here goes:

United We Stand: A message for All Americans

A Charge to keep by George W. Bush, Karen Hughes

*Forever Texas: Texas, The Way Those Who Lived It Wrote It by George W. Bush, H. Ross Perot, Phil Gramm and Dale Evans ← not sure which Bush.

(24 Used & new from $0.38) Ha ha ha ha

The American Spirit: Meeting the Challenge of Septermber 11 by Editors of One Nation; Bush, George W.

(134 Used & new from $0.01) Ha ha ha ha

A Charge to Keep: My Journey to the White House by Beorge W. Bush, Mickeyi Herskowitz

*Renewing America's Purpose: Policy Addresses of George W. Bush, July 1999-July 2000

*More George W. Bushisms: More Verbal Contortions from America's 43rd President

*Presidentil (Mis)speak: The Very Curious Laguage of George W. Bush: v. 1

*We Will Prevail: President George W. Bush on War, Terrorism and Freedom by George W. Bush, Peggy Noonan, and Jay Nordlinger

*Freedom: A History of US by Joy Hakim; George W. Bush; Laura Bush ←could be 41

*A Fresh Start For America: Policy Addresses of George W. Bush

*George W. Bushisms: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of Our 43rd President Bush, George W.; Weisberg, Jacob

*Complete Transcript of the Address of George W. Bush to the United Nations General Assembly Septermber 23 2003

*A Man of Faith: The Spiritual Journey of George W. Bush by Bush, George W.; Aikman, David

*More George W. Bushisms: More of Slate's Accidental With ad Wisdom of Our Forty-Third President by Bush, George W.; Weisberg, Jacob

*George W. Bush Speaks to the Nation: Speeches Selected by Alan Gottlieb by George W. Bush, Alan M. Gottlieb

↑ May contain 20% possible confusion between Bush 41 and Bush 43.

vbspurs said...

Bad news: Al Gore, Malcolm Gladwell, and Paul Krugman are on the list.

Good news: William Kristol, the son of Gertrude Himmelfarb and Irving Kristol, a man who breathed intellectual fumes in his pram, was left out.

My choices, of the paltry ones listed:

Benedict XVI
Jürgen Habermas
Mario Vargas-Llosa
Vaclav Havel
Bernard Lewis

Greatest living female intellect IMHO:

Jacqueline de Romilly, who not only is perhaps the greatest living Hellenic expert, but also a member of the Academie Française, having been chosen only the second woman ever, after Marguerite Yourcenar.

Obviously, she didn't make the cut...


vbspurs said...

Oh, I didn't see Umberto Eco, front and centre. So Professor Lewis is nixed. Sorry, sir.

TMink said...

I recognized about 8 names on the list, color me out of touch. I would have liked to see Thomas Sowell on there, and I appreciate some of the other names listed.

It is interesting to me that NONE of the leading neurological researchers were on the list. These folks are doing amazing hard science research on personality and relationships and the brain. It is revoloutionary, and gets nary a mention.

All my materials with the accurate names are at home, not work, so I cannot even mention them here. But there seems to be more theory and thinking than research and measurement on the list.


Michael The Magnificent said...

Gore? An intellectual?

Gore's Grades Belie Image of Studiousness

Not to mention he only managed a Bachelor of Arts in Government, flunking out of both divinity and law school.

vbspurs said...

It is interesting to me that NONE of the leading neurological researchers were on the list. These folks are doing amazing hard science research on personality and relationships and the brain. It is revoloutionary, and gets nary a mention.

Scientists are not considered "Renaissance man/woman" enough.

It's ridiculous. But then so are Top Whatever polls on intellectuals...

Anyone care to guess which Top 5 will be the "winners" on May 15?

1. Noam Chomsky
2. Umberto Eco
3. Al Gore
4. Vaclav Havel
5. Christopher Hitchens

You know it.


Simon said...

Chip, assuming dubitante that he actually penned "A Charge to Keep," the first edition was published in 1999, with a slightly revised 2d edition in 2001; I can't but wryly quote Amazon's review, as it seems to apt to the matter at hand: "George W. has been labeled a lightweight by some; A Charge to Keep will do nothing to dispel that notion. It features lots of Bush family memories...."

So, he wrote a memoir a decade ago. He - or rather, David Frum sub. nom. George W. Bush - wrote an introduction to "The American Spirit"; according to the TOC, it begins on page 8 and the next chapter begins on page 12, so we're hardly talking A Tale of Two Cities. Ditto "Forever Texas," a collection of essays to which Bush contributes at most three pages (again, to go by the TOC, Bush's contribution begins on page 287 and the subsequent essay begins on page 290). The balance are either books about Bush or collections of speeches (including "We Will Prevail"), which, it goes without saying, he didn't write. This is not the resume of a public intellectual. By contrast, at the other end of the scale, Richard Posner (who is on the list, and could scarcely not be) has written fifteen books, to say nothing of cranking out two supplemental editions of Economic Analysis of Law, a second edition of his book on antitrust, coediting I think two books, and, of course, dozens and dozens of opinions for the U.S. Seventh Circuit in his spare time.

Bush seems like a fundamentally decent man, but one who's way out of his depth, and he's run an administration that has lurched from the mediocre to the downright incompetent, studded with occasional shining moments of clarity, acuity and even, very occaisionally, brilliance. As the temperature fades over coming decades, I fancy that history will judge him more kindly than his peers. But it will not judge him a "public intellectual."

J said...

"including Bush on a list of public intellectuals would be absurd"

Not using FP's criteria. From the link:

"the criteria to make the list could not be more simple. Candidates must be living and still active in public life. They must have shown distinction in their particular field as well as an ability to influence wider debate, often far beyond the borders of their own country"

We can (I certainly would) debate the validity of that definiton, but GW Bush certainly meets those criteria, particularly the last, as well as anyone on the list.

Cedarford said...

1.E.O Wilson - Sociobiologist whose work has profoundly impacted other fields of study.

2. Vaclav Havel - Who rationalized and anchored lasting E European democracy.

3. Lee Kuan Yew - The true template now guiding Asia Rising, not Mao.

4. Pope Benedict - Because true thinkers matter more than "rock stars" if their message is embraced. Busily laying the bedrock for the modern intellectual renewal of not just the Catholic Church, but Christianity.

5. Toss-up between Umberto Eco and Bjorn Lomborg. The novelist who calls out much of the prevelant human memes as full of shit, or the scientist who stood up to the Tidal Wave of True Global Warming believers, and is still standing?

(I would have voted Kissinger as the torch carrier of the modern world Nixon ushered into being)

Unknown said...

OK. Why isn't GW Bush on the list?

Funniest thing I've read in April. :D

Trooper York said...

Isn't AL Gore busy running for president of Zimbabwe, I hear theres a big recount going on.

tituswantsababy said...

"OK. Why isn't GW Bush on the list?'

"And why isn't Ann Coulter on the list?"

That is hilarious and a little scarey.

al said...

Has Patraeus ever expressed his political views?

Those serving at Petraeus' rank do their best to not express their political views. It helps them to keep their distance from whichever administration they are serving. The General just doesn't strike me as what passes for a modern liberal. It's nothing I can prove so I suppose we'll see for sure after he retires should he choose to talk about politics.

JackWayne said...

Any list of intellectuals with Francis Fuck-yo-mama in it is crap.