Hidden Intellectualism Gerald Graff Summary

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Hidden Intellectualism,” by Gerald Graff, is an essay in which the former English professor discusses the misconceptions of the ideas of intellectualism amongst society. He primarily focuses on the way adolescents view intellectualism as a negative trait that only “nerds” strive for. He also elaborates on his experiences in revealing his own hidden intellectualism, while in college in a literature class, after growing up in the “anti-intellectual” 1950s. However, through a method that Graff and an eleventh grade high school teacher are developing, they hope to make students think and debate argumentatively as intellectuals would. They do this in an attempt to have the students see their true potentials as intellectuals themselves. Throughout …show more content…

At that time, the 1950s, smart girls were seen as “stuck up” and smart boys were thought of as “sissys.” As a result, to avoid getting beat up by the tough guys in school, he acted dumb. Unbeknownst to him though, the inquisitive discussions that Graff had with his friends at the time, away from the fear of cruel judgment, were actually training him to be an intellectual. In fact, it wasn’t until he read Michael Warner’s Voice Literary Supplement that he had an epiphany. This work covers Warner’s strict Pentecostal upbringing and how he felt that religion helped him develop argument, yet still held him back from achieving full intellectualism. Through growing away from his austere past, Warner is now a self-described “queer atheist intellectual.” This piece made Graff realize that he was just as intellectual as the rest of his classmates, but in a different way. For example, Graff writes that, “It was in arguing about toughness and other such concerns with my friends, I think, that I started acquiring what Warner got by arguing theology with his parents—the rudiments of how to make an argument, weigh different kinds of evidence, move between particulars and generalizations, summarize the views of others, and enter a conversation about ideas.” Graff then understood that his fascination with sports had also greatly paved the way for his intellectualism through debates about teams with other fans and comparing player

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