Note to all Fraysters: the Fray is offline right now because of technical problems. We're sorry about that, we know how many of you rely on your daily Fray fix, and we hate to disappoint you. We're working on it, and we'll be back online as fast as we possibly can. Keep checking back, and we'll try to get you back your boards, and to keep you informed. And when we do get the Fray back, we're looking forward to hearing your views on the re-design of Slate.
In the meantime, you can look at some recent Frayposts on the "Politics" article on race, here, the "Technology" item on essential software, here, and the recent "Fraywatch" column, below. Again, apologies from all concerned for the inconvenience.–MR…9.00 a.m. GMT
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008
"Politically speaking, 'elite' just means 'just as educated and rich as us, but in the opposite party.' This was a useful definition from justicepsych but not one that was going to meet with a lot of approval. Some of us have not been able to get to the "XX Factor," let alone its Fray, in recent weeks, so it was certainly time to drop by and see which cool intellectual debates were going on there. Whoa, take that back, the word intellectual has proved to be as controversial as almost anything in Slate this election year, and cool isn't exactly the right word, either. Rachael Larimore's "Thoughts on Intellectuals and Anti-Intellectuals" in the blog was the focus of endless discussion on—well, on intellectuals and anti-intellectuals. Amazingly, apparently you can insult someone by calling them either of these names. Throw in "elitist" and you have a full-scale flame war.
Ophymirage posted a splendid disquisition on intellectuals. Naturally we're going to quote the funny bit:
When it comes down to it, Intellectual are a harmless bunch. About the worst thing that intellectuals are going to do to this country is to stage a pretentious community-theater production of "Titus Andronicus" with giant puppets.
But also a serious, if possibly idealistic, bit:
The best thing that intellectuals can do for this country is to show everyone the way to the tools that are necessary for genuine self-knowledge. And one of the chief benefits of knowing yourself is that it makes it a lot harder to hate other people.
There's a long discussion here on whether we want elites ruling us or not. Go here to find out who's an intellectual, who an engineer, and who could run a gas station. At what might be called the far edges of the discussion: What was that again about the Labrador going to duck-collecting college? No, didn't quite get it. Lubbesuh says there are too many intellectuals, and even those with opposing political views seemed to agree.
The splendidly-named HopefulCynic had this to say—