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Author Topic: Odd paragraph in the new book
AB
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Quoting from the 2nd chapter
"No, my good soldier, we do not all think. Thinking is rare and growing rarer, ***especially in the universities. It's just like the universities. *** Students succeed here to the degree they can convince idiots that they think just like them."

Did you really mean to say the university comment twice like that?? It sounded weird to me. [Dont Know]

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jongo05
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Not related to this university comment but in the scene after Captain Coleman meets with Mrs. Malek at the house he refers to Malek as Captain Malek when he's a Major at this point, isn't he?
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Orincoro
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I thought the odd thing might be OSC's persistent little jabs at intellectualism, even though he now has a professorship of his own...

Oh I know, the characters are saying it, the characters! of course!

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Omega M.
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Yes, I don't see what "It's just like the universities." adds; we're already talking about the universities. I noticed a few other grammatical mistakes (such as singlular subject + plural verb); might this not be the final copy?
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CRash
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I also noticed punctuation errors while I was reading it, but I think you're right, Omega, and this isn't the final edit.
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Orson Scott Card
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This is not the copy-edited manuscript, this is raw. The copy-edit won't be done till later this week. At that point, we'll replace these five chapters with the edited version.

Since this is the raw manuscript, including fingering errors, etc., and the worpos that result from moving sentences and phrases and forgetting to check the rest of the sentence or paragraph to make sure it still flows, I think I did pretty well <grin>.

It's true that I have nothing but contempt to people who consider themselves "intellectuals" and think they are a breed apart. I have found that most of them simply don't have the tool set to justify their pride in their intellects. And most of them determine who they think is intelligent based, not on thought process or methodology, but rather on whether they subscribe to a particular set of consensus conclusions. Thus what I despise are self-styled intellectuals who are not particularly intelligent, merely "educated." But I am not the only person in the world who despises such people. What should astonish you is not that I have a character in Empire who has attitudes toward this group that resemble mine, but that I have had the self-restraint to have few other characters in my entire oeuvre who express such ideas.

IN the case of Reuben Malek, I would have had to lie to depict him as NOT having these attitudes. And it won't kill you to actually read a novel in which such attitudes are expressed. AFter all, I have read HUNDREDS of novels in which all positively presented characters affirm even the most idiotic of Progressive Intellectual ideas, and I managed to live through the experience.

The only reason my novel shocks and offends you is that almost NOBODY ELSE IS LETTING POSITIVE CHARACTERS IN FICTION SAY THESE THINGS.

Excuse me for shouting. But there are many, many thousands of people - very smart, well-educated, and influential people, I might add - who have ideas similar to Reuben Malek's, and the fact that you are shocked and offended by hearing them suggests you don't read enough - or you deliberately shield yourself from people who might actually challenge your current opinions.

My feeling is that I NEED to read things that challenge my opinions, or I'll spend my whole life stuck with the ones that were locked in early on. We call people who never examine opposing ideas and never entertain the possibility that their own ideas might be wrong "bigots." But, once again, that is a word that a certain class of bigots believes can only be applied to people they disagree with, and never to themselves ...

Etc. etc. The circularity is amusing, if so many of these circular thinkers didn't have tenure at public expense ...

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Launchywiggin
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Shouting excused. Though I enjoyed it immensely :-)

I always look forward to reading Card's ideas from the conservative viewpoint. The problem I face, though, is that I've met very, very few people that can present conservative viewpoints intelligently and with an open mind. This is largely due to (as I've learned over the past 3 years) the liberal-dominated ideology forced upon college students at my University.

However, it remains that (most) of the conservatives I've met tend to be less well-spoken and less educated on world issues. I really do want to meet more conservatives like you, Orson, so I can challenge my opinions too.

But for now, Hatrack will do. :-)

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Edgehopper
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quote:
However, it remains that (most) of the conservatives I've met tend to be less well-spoken and less educated on world issues. I really do want to meet more conservatives like you, Orson, so I can challenge my opinions too.
It seems to me that wherever you are, it's generally the political minority that seems better educated on world issues, usually out of necessity. You don't have to know anything to defend a liberal viewpoint among New Yorkers or San Francisconians, and you don't have to know anything to defend a conservative viewpoint in, say, Augusta GA or Tallahassee. No one from the other side's there to challenge you.

So, at Princeton it was the conservatives who seemed more knowledgeable and educated on world issues, while when reading the Augusta Chronicle (my grandparents are from there), the conservatives come across as ignorant hicks.

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Launchywiggin
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I do live in the bible belt of Southwest Virginia, but also in a college town (Blacksburg, VA).

My post sounds a little arrogant to me, so I'll apologize for that now. It's just hard to have a conversation about politics that isn't all of us confirming each other's liberal opinions.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Orson Scott Card:

It's true that I have nothing but contempt to people who consider themselves "intellectuals" and think they are a breed apart. I have found that most of them simply don't have the tool set to justify their pride in their intellects. And most of them determine who they think is intelligent based, not on thought process or methodology, but rather on whether they subscribe to a particular set of consensus conclusions. Thus what I despise are self-styled intellectuals who are not particularly intelligent, merely "educated." But I am not the only person in the world who despises such people. What should astonish you is not that I have a character in Empire who has attitudes toward this group that resemble mine, but that I have had the self-restraint to have few other characters in my entire oeuvre who express such ideas.


My feeling is that I NEED to read things that challenge my opinions, or I'll spend my whole life stuck with the ones that were locked in early on. We call people who never examine opposing ideas and never entertain the possibility that their own ideas might be wrong "bigots." But, once again, that is a word that a certain class of bigots believes can only be applied to people they disagree with, and never to themselves ...

Etc. etc. The circularity is amusing, if so many of these circular thinkers didn't have tenure at public expense ...

But OSC, you react here as if I were

1. Saying that I thought "intellectualism" is what you say it is. I don't. What is the word for the person who reads varying opinions, strives to achieve an individual voice, defines himself not according to a school of thought, but in acknowledgement of many different attitudes. A person who IS knowledgeable, and not in the narrow, picky and absurd way you suggest a "Progressive Intellectual" is. What do we call this person when people like you have turned the world "intellectual" into an epithet rather than a praise. Where is your praise for those who do get a round view of the world? All those things you mentioned "thought process and methodology," are things I associate with being intellectual, not in the pejorative sense as you use it. I don't know why our experiences have been so different. I am younger and less experienced, but I think I know the difference between a prof or a lecturer, or a grad student, who is a follower of a scholastic religion, and one who actually thinks for himself, and defines himself according to his own work. I also know that I have met both, and no academic has ever earned my respect by appearing to be the latter. Ever. These are not intellectualls, as you say, they are not even particularly intelligent. What do we call the people who are? I have met more of THEM, and you make it sound as if you believe that I have been duped. I know when I am smarter than someone, when I have the tools someone else doesn't. It happens, occassionally, but it isn't the rule, it isn't even common to my experience. You describe the "self styled intellectual" whom I have yet to meet in four years of university life. That's it basically, your assertions are absent any common experience between us. I can read them, but its hard for me to see where they come from when you continually generalize. Tell me a story! Make me see it! Am I not as perceptive as you? Have you had SUCH horrible experiences?

2. That something in this makes me say: "back away, be very afraid." No. Nothing is going to stop me from reading your books. I find it a tad odd, yes, that you are a prof. at a university, and yet you continue to generalize against a group which you ought to identify more with, that I think you should get to know better. Maybe more of them are like you than you know. But there I'm cheating, because I know your opinion (at least generally) and I can tell when it is being expressed, even if a character of yours is expressing it. Not fair of me, I'll grant you.

Never in what I said did I say that I would shy away from questioning. We've debated academic music on this board, and though I thought you were wrong, and ill-informed, I still took you seriously and debated the issue, or tried to. This isn't a debate though, this is just confusing. I've always seen these positive attributes you mention as being a part of academic life. For me anyone who doesn't acknowledge the other side, or care enough to imagine that there is a world outside one discipline, is not a real academic.

Your definition of intellectual and academic are
all bound up with these (sometimes justifiable) opinions about people you've known. Let's create a positive language to describe the people who we think are doing good. Let's stop tearing at the people who may be trying, sometimes very very hard, to be educators, writers and enlightened people.

Edit: to add that I immediately see it as unfair to ask you to defend your views of intellectuals this way. Perhaps I am responding more to what you have just said than to what I felt you were doing in the book, which is yours to do with whatever you like, obviously. And yet its like you see what you think of as bigotry in others, and you BECOME bigoted against them and everybody who looks like them. Thus I think you slip into dangerous territory when you make these grand statements about people, and you don't give them a chance to respond, or you take their hostile (in like tone) response as a further proof of... something. Its what really galls me, that you seem SO perceptive and so in touch in your writing, and its as if arguments only work when you get to write both sides. Very platonic maybe, nice models for thought, but not funtional in the varied world of the real. I don't know what I'm even saying anymore... any thoughts? I hope you respond.

[ August 12, 2006, 11:21 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Icarus
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The quoted passage doesn't refer to the specific subset of pseudo-intellectuals, but to virtually all professors, and to virtually all students who are successful.
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Orincoro
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Yeah, icky that's what I mean. I don't think in this case that the reasoning is entirely clear, its a statement about students in general. It may not be "osc" saying it since its a character, but his defense of the sentiment here, admitting that it is a shared view based on his view of intellectuals seems odd to me. He is part of the academic community, and he doesn't consider himself to be defined in those terms. Why should anyone else be?
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lynn johnson
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I'm an adjunct prof at a division 1 state university. (I make much more money doing other stuff but I teach out of a giving back commitment) There is much truth to OSC's characterization of Malak. When I tip my hand by saying for example, that Iraq isn't the worst thing we have ever done, and I do have hope it will slowly work out well, the horror I see on liberals' faces when they are in the presence of a Ph.D. with a moderately conservative POV is amazing and disappointing. There is a good deal of uniformity of thinking in psychology (my field) and other social sciences, and that uniformity is not helpful. If a professional soldier attends the university, there is a good deal of outright persecution. So Malak's POV is a reasonable one and resonates as very believable.
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Orincoro
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And yet you, as an academic, recognize that kind of group mentality as unproductive. Sounds like a general criticism of any group of people, and not one that applies more particularly to school than to, say, the military, even if the opinions are reversed.

Yes, I agree, people can do all these things. I am arguing that the idea that it is a particularly "intellectual" habit is ridiculous- for me dogmatic thinking and bigotry are not intellectual. The people OSC bashes are the psuedo-intellectuals, the so-calleds; I'd like him to make the distinction.

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