Distribution Automatique

Saturday, July 21

Further comments on *There is No Such Thing as Intelligence* The Kugelmass Episodes

It’s hard to imagine a more passionate defender of “brilliance” than Bloom, so I can see why you you brought him in. But I still think his *The Anxiety of Influence*has a lot to offer.

Some of my thoughts about your essay come out of working as a school social worker in NY for 25 years. I often get the feeling that in schools, and in society in general, the less people recognize the given talents and abilities of others, the more shrewdness is a valued and admired substitute for thinking.What happens when there is no status to be earned by intellectual accomplishments, according to the common sense idea that “if you’re so smart why aren’t you rich?” I just finished reading Gissing’s *New Grub Street.* In part, it seems to me, the book is an indictment of contemporary culture’s inability to benefit from the talents of those who cannot transpose their intellectual abilities into saleable skills. What would Gissing say now? I’ll bet there are not a few poverty stricken bloggers out there; and who can make a living as an adjunct? Edwin Reardon, the main character in *New Grub Street* dies clearly as a result of disease brought on by malnutrition. He had written a couple of brilliant novels and waited too long to take a job as clerk because, if he didn’t work as a brilliant intellectual, how were people to know he was one? In a rational and responsible society, it seems to me, it would be considered unethical to underrate people because the visible results of their talents do not match who they are as persons. People would then appraise others according to what they have to offer, not according to what they have been able to sell in themselves.


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Free Fall

The publisher, Mark Young, had this to say about Free Fall:

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