Monday, July 14, 2008
Is this the most laughable list ever created? What, after all, is an intellectual? Dawkins is in there and I seem to remember he came top of some previous Prospect poll. But, love him or hate him, I can't imagine any definition of 'intellectual' that captures him. I would have thought, for example, that scope/range was one essential attribute, but he has none. And, on this latest list, where's Roger Scruton, John Gray, James Lovelock or Nassim Nicholas Taleb, all friends of mine and all, if the word must be used, intellectuals beyond the imaginings of almost everybody on this list? 'Intellectual' is such a sweet-sounding, seductive word that people just can't leave it alone. 'Thinker' doesn't come close, though 'smart ass' might work if we are to justify the Prospect list. I have one other nomination - Brother Mouzone from the second series of The Wire. He's a real intellectual, a voracious reader who, in his spare time, is one of the most ruthless killers on the eastern seaboard. A glaring omission, I'm afraid, Mr Prospect.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:27 am