December 26, 2005

Becoming Famous Public Intellectuals: A Stolen Idea

A good while back, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” mentioned that we pine to become illustrious public intellectuals—the sorts of fellows and lasses who are sufficiently famous in the world of letters to spend alternate Tuesdays bashing Pat Buchanan on “Hardball.” For this, naturally, is how you can tell if you are a really serious intellect.

Anyway, given the recent spate of e-popularity this humble “weblog” has enjoyed since its impressive last-place finish in the 2005 Weblog Awards, we have been contemplating all the more ways to vault into intellectual superstardom. After literally minutes of brainstorming, we are embarrassed to admit that we haven’t come up with much. For some reason, every time we attempt to channel a deep thought, visions of turkey jerky get in the way. Odd, isn’t it? We blame Ron Popeil.

Still, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” did recall one famous intellectual’s sure-fire advice for becoming fellow members of the public intellectual tribe. David Brooks, the New York Times columnist chiefly known for offering watered-down versions of conservatism to the knuckle-dragging paleo-liberals in his reading audience and paying the price with a massive stack of hate mail, wrote the much-discussed tome Bobos in Paradise. If we recall correctly, the book offered a witty description of some of the most noxious people on earth, and then claimed that they are wonderful.

More importantly to our designs, Brooks argues that the way to become a famous public intellectual is to write a completely implausible article. This will compel your fellow hacks to rebuke you, and ensure that you will be a big player in the small world of intellectual superstardom. Brooks’ humorous example was Francis Fukyama, whose “End of History” article was about as plausible as Madonna being a virgin.

So, we thought to ourselves, Brooks may be on to something. After all, Maureen Dowd is a famous public intellectual, and she’s never even penned a mildly convincing sentence. If you may permit us to invent our own memorable quip, every word Maureen Dowd has ever written is a lie, including “and” and “the.” Take that, Mary McCarthy, Lillian Hellman, and Dick Cavett.

Okay, okay: It isn’t a bad idea. As such, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” must now drum up a beautifully incorrect article to publish. But what theme should we pick? What will really draw the ire of our fellow public intellectuals?

Herewith, dear reader, we present a few humble ideas for articles. We have offered them in the form of zippy titles, so that you can get a good sense of the brouhaha we intend to start up. Without further ado, then, we are pleased as petulant pigs to present:

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Titles to Utterly Nonsensical Articles Aimed at Making the Crack Young Staff Famous Public Intellectuals

1. “Figs: The Real Source of the Problems with the Bush Doctrine”

2. “Flatulence: Your Way to Popularity with the Ladies”

3. “Ten Reasons Why Michael Scheuer Isn’t a Complete Ignoramus”

4. “Ending the War on Terror by Encouraging Pre-Teen Homosexuality”

5. “Art School: The True Path to Success”

6. “Joseph Stalin Was Right about Everything”

7. “Lose Weight and Stay Fit with the Circus Peanuts Diet”

8. “Wilson Philips: The Geniuses of Western Music”

9. “Howard Dean—Now More Electable than Ever”

Now, if we can only get The Atlantic Monthly to print one of these steaming heaps of garbage…

Posted at December 26, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack