Leonid Fridman's 'America Needs Its Nerds'

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“America Needs its Nerds” Analysis Leonid Fridman’s use of irony, the rhetorical triangle, and rhetorical questions in his article “America Needs its Nerds” develops his argument that American society should be more accepting of intellectuals. His tone is critical of society’s values, which is seen through his use of phrases such as, “there is something very wrong with the system of values,” (1). Through his reference to Harvard University, a “prestigious academic institution” (11), he demonstrates that society tends to look down upon intellectuals by revealing that many students are “ashamed to admit” (13) the amount of time they spend on their studies. The fact that even at Harvard, a school known for its focus on intellectualism, students still perpetuate the anti-intellectualism stereotype shows the extent of the problem with the values of America’s current society. Additionally, he…show more content…
He also asks how America can remain a leading world power if parents are “ashamed” (48) of their children studying or reading political economists rather than dancing or playing baseball. These questions challenge the audience to work at finding an answer through changing their values and stopping the use of derogatory terms such as “nerd” and “geek” (3) to describe those who place a great emphasis on academics. Furthermore, they evoke a sense of nationalism by stating that the United States’ status as a world power may be at stake if society continues to discourage intellectuals, creating the desire to begin advocating for change and to create a higher emphasis on academics than athletics or social
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