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To Sound Smarter, Use Your Middle Initial

And if you want people to trust your kid, give him an easy-to-pronounce name: studies

(Newser) - Want to be seen as an intellectual? Here's an easy first step: Start using your middle initial in writing. Doing so, a study finds, boosts "positive evaluations of people's intellectual capacities and achievements." The study—run by researchers Wijnand A.P. van Tilburg and Eric R.... More »

Obama's Brain Too Fast for His Mouth

He has an 'intellectual stammer': Meghan Daum

(Newser) - President Obama's tendency to sputter a bit and drop in "uhs" during his speeches has some critics arguing that he's inarticulate. Not so, writes Meghan Daum in the Los Angeles Times . "It's not that Obama can't speak clearly. It's that he employs the... More »

Palin No Intellectual Match for Obama: Juan Williams

Conservatives react to Fox correspondent's analysis

(Newser) - Conservatives rushed to Juan Williams’ aid when NPR fired him—but now, he’s taking heat from the right for saying Sarah Palin “can’t stand on an intellectual stage with Obama.” On Fox News Sunday, the onetime NPR commentator said the field of Republican candidates was “... More »

Sarah Palin Could Learn Something From Marilyn

Maureen Dowd: We shouldn't aspire to be ignorant

(Newser) - One of Sarah Palin's greatest sins is that she's "made ignorance fashionable," writes Maureen Dowd. Palin, in fact, revels in it. "You struggle to name Supreme Court cases, newspapers you read and even founding fathers you admire? No problem." It just proves you're not some Ivy... More »

How the Wackos Think

Five kinds of political thinking that don't lead anywhere sane

(Newser) - Our political discourse hasn’t exactly seemed logical or intellectually sound lately, has it? Michael Weiss, writing for Reason Online , sees five lines of bad political thinking poisoning the water. They are:
  • Tragic Manicheanism: These see everything the government or society does as evil, everyone who opposes it as good.
... More »

Jeb Bush: Sarah Palin Not 'Intellectual' Enough

'I don't know what her deal is,' ex-governor says

(Newser) - Jeb Bush doesn’t think too highly of Sarah Palin. Asked how he felt about Alaska’s ex-governor in a recent Newsmax interview, Bush replied that Palin was a “natural” with a lot of “charisma.” But to be a good candidate for higher office, she’ll need... More »

Calling Obama 'Professor' Is Palin Code for 'Uppity': Prof

Palin's brainy slam is really a racist slam, says longtime pal

(Newser) - When Sarah Palin told Tea Party activists last week that President Obama was "a professor of law standing at the lectern," she wasn't just tapping into populist anti-intellectualism—she was also making a not-so-subtle attack on the president's race. So says Harvard professor and longtime Obama pal Charles... More »

GOP Needs Its Brains Back

(Newser) - Republican sycophants may think Sarah Palin’s resignation was brilliant, “but don’t kid yourself,” writes Robert Eisinger in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The GOP is in trouble.” The party has lost its intellectual coherence, and if it wants it back, it’s got to look beyond... More »

Diplomatic Obama Our Own Spock

Cool-headed 'cultural translator' appeals to Star Trek generation

(Newser) - With the release of Star Trek tomorrow, we’ll be seeing a lot of Spock again—but we’ve been watching his earthly counterpart all year. President Obama is our own version of the charismatic half-Vulcan, writes Jeff Greenwald for Salon. His cool head and appealing intellect tie him to... More »

Sontag's Early Journals Mesmerize

Journals tell a touching tale of earnest self-creation

(Newser) - The newly released diaries of a young Susan Sontag provide an invaluable glimpse of how the writer-to-be came to be, critics say. “I do not just express myself more openly than I could do to any person," the late Sontag writes of journaling. "I create myself."... More »

Turkish Thinkers Sorry for Armenian 'Catastrophe'

(Newser) - A group of about 200 Turkish intellectuals today issued an apology on the Internet for the World War I-era massacres of Armenians in Turkey, the AP reports. The group of prominent academics, journalists, writers and artists avoided using the contentious term "genocide" in the apology, using the less explosive... More »

Gladwell on Success: It's About Luck

Journalist-guru's latest book is 'closest to his heart'

(Newser) - Journalist and pop guru Malcolm Gladwell brings other people's big ideas to the masses, and in that way, “I’m a parasite,” he says. In his new book, the author takes modesty to a new level, crediting his success—which, by the way, manifests itself in a $4... More »

A Thinker in Charge, for a Change

Obama veers from longstanding American anti-intellectualism

(Newser) - Since Adlai Stevenson, America has recoiled from intellectuals in power—but maybe Barack Obama, “an open, out-of-the-closet, practicing intellectual,” can change that, writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. “Smart and educated leadership is no panacea,” Kristof notes, “but we’ve seen recently that... More »

13 Stories