A little while ago Sheila started a wonderful discussion on Robert Conquest’s book The Great Terror: A Reassessment (yeah, yeah, I know; big shock there, Sheila starting a great discussion. Work with me here.). My lovely bride, after only the slightest of hints on my part, was kind enough to get me the book for my birthday, and I took it with me to Brazil to read on the flight and during the various amounts of ‘downtime’ that one always has on business trips, especially when one is travelling alone.
Brief aside: find the geek in the following scene…Rio de Janeiro, middle of the summer. You’re poolside at the swankest hotel in Copacabana. Your eyes drink in the tanned twenty-something ladies frollicking in their tangas (not that, technically speaking, there’s all that much that can accurately be described as being in a tanga), the corpulent sixty-year-old men with their tanned twenty-something ladies purring about in their tangas, the tanned slim men lounging together in their tangas, and the pasty white fellow sitting in his LL Bean swim trunks under a large umbrella with a caipirinha in one hand and The Great Terror in the other…

One point that Conquest brings out again and again is how completely ill equiped the intellectuals are to deal with the real world, with Stalin’s world. Oh, in realms of theory he is hopelessly outclassed, and both he and they know it, and they revel in rubbing his nose in the fact, they, the political scientists who study the science of history, and debate the science of marxism and the science of economics. Towering intellects who can look back and make brilliant predictions about things in the past, who can expound dense, complicated treatises on matters of arcane yore with such confidence and total conviction of right…by god they know!
But in the realm of…the realm, it is he, Stalin, that theological school dropout from Tbilsi, who brilliantly plays their egos off against one another until he can quite literally liquidate every last one of them.
And how often have we seen this tale repeated? These extremely intelligent people, who can spin brilliant theories that dazzle the mind with their webs of intricacies; people with enormous egos who constantly deride those of less intelligence…ah, they are constantly consumed by their “lessers,” and it drives them to new heights of foam-flecked hyperbole.
Look at the pages of the NYT, at 60 Minutes, at Teryy MacAuliffe and his merry band at the DNC, at the BBC; look at the Ivory Tower of Theory’s latest wunderkind Ward Churchill. Completely out of touch and unable to cope with, let alone understand, the real world that the rest of us live in; full of immense bile and venom that the ‘stupid’ people do not immediately recognize the divine and perfect nature of their intellects and instantly ascribe all power and authority unto them.
And completely unable to fathom how a fella who espouses no multi-syllabic ideas, who doesn’t subscribe to the cult of obfuscation (let alone Newsweek), is able to eat them for lunch.

5 Responses to “Academedia”

  1. I always did have a feeling Marxism was a SICK joke played upon people who SHOULD know better, but go out of their way to prove they refuse to know better.

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    Hi Sahron! thanks for stopping by 🙂
    well, in many ways they are as crazy and glassy-eyed as the ‘fundie’ religious folks that they love to attack, except that instead of having a divine that they have faith in, they invented a rigid belief system, and since they are so ‘intelligent’ and it is ‘scientific’ then it is, and by extension they are, infallible.
    much like the grammar in my run-on sentences…

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    ‘sharon’ i mean. damn you to hell fumbly-fimgers! man, i really really really need to check what i typed before i post…

  4. NJ Sue says:

    I sincerely hope that you were “drinking in” Conquest’s narrative far more avidly than the sight of the tonga-clad young lovelies at the pool. You see, that was my fiendish plan in giving you the book in the first place.

  5. Mr. Bingley says:

    of course, my love. my eyes never left the pages.

Image | WordPress Themes