On the Bullying of the Intelligensia

While scrolling through my Facebook feed the other morning, I came across the following link: https://mysticonion.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/big-words-small-mind/

In the interest of time, I’ll give a brief summary; although I recommend you read the link for yourself. Basically, the author asserts that being smart and capable of grasping larger concepts and advanced vocabulary is akin to being small-minded, with borderline narcissistic personality disorder.

I’ve worked my entire life to educate myself, not only because I believe in using and expanding the capabilities of the brain the good Lord gave me, but because as a female I’ve always been generally treated as inferior, either by men that assume my vagina and ovaries impede the intellectual process, or by females who can’t stand that I am both pretty and smart.

I won’t lie. The blog pissed me off. It still pisses me off over 24 hours later, so here I am, response in hand.

To the author of the linked post, and those who were quick to hit “like” before thoroughly processing what was said, I offer you the following to think about:

Sometimes, when someone speaks with an elevated vocabulary about advanced intellectual or philosophical topics, it’s not because they are trying to make themselves look superior. Sometimes, it’s because they understand the topics they are engaging in and the words that are used. Simply put, they are intellectually superior.

This neither makes them egotistical or hateful. It simply makes them better educated. Furthermore, being intelligent and educated is not something to be ashamed of, and should not be hidden because others may not understand.

Perhaps, instead of just assuming or accusing them of having a small mind, or trying to talk down to the plebian masses, one should instead seek to learn from the “small-minded,” or at least use the feeling of inadequacy as a catalyst to motivate oneself to seek knowledge on their own.

If one doesn’t understand quantum string theory, or is unfamiliar with antidisestablishmentarianism, one should refrain from criticizing those who are and should instead educate themselves until those formerly unfamiliar things become understood.

It boils down to a simple concept: If you feel stupid, that’s your own fault.

If feeling stupid bothers you, then exercise your options.

Your first option is to disengage from contact.

A better option is to simply ask if you don’t understand. Most rational human beings will gladly do their best to explain their position. (Most often, those snotty smart people believed to intentionally be elevating themselves don’t even realize their manner of speech is elevated, nor to they realize it is making you feel poorly.)

Best yet, exercise option #3. Libraries and dictionaries are free. Go find one educate and yourself instead of demanding others “dumb it down.”  I paid good money for my education and I will be damned if I’m going to refrain from using it because someone feels inadequate. Especially when those who feel inadequate use disjointed and gramatically incorrect blog forums to rail against the “scourge” of the intelligentsia.

Smart does not equal haughty. Smart does not equal narcissist. Smart does not equal petty.

Smart-shaming, however, does.

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