Posted by mouthyb | Posted in academic , feminism , Neeeeeeeerd | Posted on 2:39 AM
I've been giving myself something of a break from my favorite blogs recently; every damn time we try to have a conversation about feminism, social science or society, a mass of semi-literate (as evidenced by the caliber of thought and by the inability to make a sentence) assholes descend on those blogs to demand that their ignorance is just as good as anyone else's actual learning.
They are, in fact, quite proud of their ignorance, and resent any attempt to provide them with information. And perhaps I have something to laugh at myself about here: I provide research studies, expecting them to recognize the work which goes into the process and the rigor associated with that work. That is a little unrealistic, I think, but I keep expecting them to care that there is something they do not know.
I realize this isn't an isolated phenomenon, since any subject which requires nuance or learning runs smack into the wall which is our apparent collective hatred of thinking here in the US. These sorts of things do, however, happen more often with those three topics.
In fact, were I to draw a Venn diagram of these subjects, I'd be willing to bet that by frequency, the intersection receives the most concentrated stupidity, with feminism moderately to strongly correlated with a large bit of that frequency.
This is where I have to raise my hand and say that by the US definition, I am an intellectual snob. I am not a snob because I want to be better than everyone (the most common explanation for snobbery). I could give a shit except that I am well rated, professionally, and that my colleagues, friends and lovers think well of me.
And why could I give a shit? If there's anything teaching has taught me, it's that I cannot actually make anyone care and that I cannot expect people to see me like I do. Sometimes, this is a good thing because it helps me see my own errors.
Sometimes, I wish to beat my head against a wall: I can't compete with an onslaught of bad educational experiences and twelve odd years of being told to value not thinking about life, not being curious and not being prepared. I can't compete with feelings of inferiority, or smug dismissal, or the allocation of all studies of humans to useless information.
I think this is a point a lot of people get to: when you've worked tremendously hard to learn something and no one else gives a shit, it stings. It also stings when they believe they're sincere, despite doing everything in their power to be disingenuous.
Perhaps that is the most irritating part. It is easy to get more and more cynical about your average person, and ascribe to them a brain-melting stupid which must be avoided to retain one's sanity. It comes back to the gulf education creates by virtue of demanding introspection and the lessening of the ego (to learn, you have to be wrong), and the urge to be similar. I crave conversations with people who share my knowledge, if for nothing else than the ability to have a conversation without the need to pull out a white board and explain the simplest of concepts so that I can start to have an interesting conversation with the person I am talking to. I also crave these conversations because I want to learn, to be comforted from the daily grind of all the ways I notice I am different than others, and the failures which introspection has a lovely habit of reminding me of.
In a factual sense, I'm on my way to belonging to the three percent of the nation which has a doctorate: 158,558 persons from 2009-2010. I'm also earning advanced degrees in multiple fields, which is a considerably narrower sliver of that population. Professionally speaking, it's a little lonely out there.
These are selfish desires, but at least I can have them with the idea that I contribute in a way which is a little unique. Really, that's much of what makes crushing debt, a ridiculous work load and being overworked and underpaid bearable : I'm planning on making the world a little better place.
It is, in my biased opinion, less selfish than the refusal to learn.