Critical, Clever, or @$$hole?
Oh goodness this is an excellent post. I confess to having been on both the giving and receiving end of the circle of @$$holeness. It’s vicious. But I’ve also consciously moved toward being a part of what I like to think of as a circle of niceness (S-USIH). The latter has been MUCH more rewarding.
The author is right about “cleverness” being the common disease of academia. But this brings to mind Critical Theory—that the world benefits when reflective people take critical stances in relation to the surrounding culture, society, political, and intellectual milieu. We should not confuse that deliberate stance with mere cleverness or @$$holeness. Being critical is vitally important. As I noted another time, we can all benefit from dissent—we’re sharpened by it, so long as it’s well-thought-out and not reactionary. And it’s the reactionaries that are most often either merely clever or just @$$holes. – TL