Intellectual tourist*


We have to replace a dogwood down by the street (in the verge? right?), but it will be paired with a variant that survived and has maroonish rather than bright green leaves like this one that’s a volunteer from our uphill neighbors’ tree. Actually the stump that remains has sprouts, so maybe I can train one or two of them to become the replacement tree…. Hmm….

There’s a description you do not want to be tagged with.

A friend and I have discussed a continuum between dolt and dork, and I have to confess I’m not sure where I’d put “intellectual tourist” in that sequence.


BTW, I keep hearing extremely fine things about Brunonia Barry’s first novel “The Lace Reader,” which she daringly self-published (and is now being sold by William Morrow). (Here are links to the NYTimes review and, for the adventurous, the first two chapters; Barry’s book-page is a design extravaganza that I refuse to link to because there’s so much pretty before you get to content. Sorry; I’m cranky that way.) I have put a hold on a copy through the county library, so I can check the story out for myself….

* I got this phrase from Brian Leiter, John P. Wilson Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law Philosophy and Human Values at the University of Chicago, in an open letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education, reacting to an article by Russell Jacoby entitled “Gone, and Being Forgotten,” which you need a subscription to read. I don’t and I haven’t. Leiter says the Jacoby article begins with:

How is it that Freud is not taught in psychology departments, Marx is not taught in economics, and Hegel is hardly taught in philosophy? Instead these masters of Western thought are taught in fields far from their own. Nowadays Freud is found in literature departments, Marx in film studies, and Hegel in German. But have they migrated, or have they been expelled? Perhaps the home fields of Freud, Marx, and Hegel have turned arid. Perhaps those disciplines have come to prize a scientistic ethos that drives away unruly thinkers. Or maybe they simply progress by sloughing off the past.

In short, Jacoby contends that these classics aren’t being taught, and Leiter rebuts this contention thoroughly. And in the process calls Jacoby an intellectual tourist….

I don’t know if the phrase is original to Leiter, or if I’m just so outside the flow of knowledge and information and lingo that I’ve missed it….


  1. Pooh says:

    And here I thought it was just a tourist who actually read those signs in the park. I guess I’m only a smarty-pants tourist, not an intellectual one, as I hardly ever see park signs referring to Freud, Hegel, or any of the Marx Brothers. 😉

  2. jcb says:

    Redbud? Not dogwood?

  3. Sammy says:

    Total botanical brain-fade. The photo is a REDBUD. We have to replace a REDBUD. Thanks, bud!