Monday, January 31, 2005

One blogger's modest beginnings

As we lament the recent passing of Susan Sontag, as well as that of Edward Said last year, there is much confusion and chaos, as that most important of questions is pondered: who is America's greatest public intellectual? Oh, sure, many will opt for Cornel West, Stanley Fish, perhaps even the bow-tied visage of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. Worthy candidates all, certainly, but may I throw one more ballcap into the ring? That's right, yours truly, the Red River Red, would like to stake his claim to the homestead of America's Greatest Public Intellectual.
Credentials, you ask. A worthy question. First of all, I have never hired a nanny, much less failed to report said hiring or hours worked thereof. Additionally, I have a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University, where I finished with a 2.9 average. I believe it imperative that America's Greatest Public Intellectual have a college degree. Like many of the other candidates for this position, I also attended multiple colleges and universities in the process of earning this credential: the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Humboldt State University (in California), Goddard College (in Vermont) and LSU. If you notice, the four are split evenly among red and blue states, a moral necessity in a fractured nation like ours today. The Ivy League, University of Chicago, Stanford? Blue, blue, blue.
I also read a lot, and very widely, both generally accepted traits of the cultivated intellectual. Just in 2004, I completed 29 books. I also referred to several others while preparing my three-week presentation on "Corporate Globalization and the American Century" at the local Methodist church. Only two of the books were about sports, and only five were graphic novels. I try to keep the escapism to a minimum, and stick with serious, scholarly works of literary and historical import. This is a tradition I will continue as America's Greatest Living Public Intellectual.
Finally, like Susan Sontag, the Red River Red is prematurely gray, giving his boyish good looks a hint of wizened eminence. This will give me an advantage in the foreign intellectual capitals of the world, as we Americans suffer from an image problem in the, shall we say, intellect and emotional maturity department.
Susan Sontag will be missed, as were John Dewey and William James and Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thomas Paine before her. But the republic must press on, even in these dark times, and I am ready to pick up the baton. Sincerely, the Red River Red, America's Greatest Public Intellectual