Hidden Intellectualism is an essay that suggests a manner by which being street smart can be integrated with the academic world. It provides arguments and points that shows how being involved in non-academic matters such as sports, fashion, and music can help the student develop his academic way of thinking. Such thinking requires the development of arguments, analyzing situations, and applying one’s thoughts to the subject matter in order to come up with one’s own rationalization.
The author uses his own experience growing up in order to depict how anti-intellectualism can be turned into intellectualism by allowing the students to get involved with subjects that they are clearly interested in. In the author’s case, his involvement in sports allowed him to see that by continuously discussing and reading about sports, he was, in effect, developing his intellectual skills. Also, the mere reading of one’s favorite magazines is a way by which one’s literacy skills are developed.
However, merely asking students to write about their favorite topics is not enough to help them develop the necessary intellectual skills. The important concept that the author points out is “not to simply exploit students’ non-academic interests, but to get them to see those interests through academic eyes. ” What this means is although using such non-academic interests as center points of discussion is useful for attracting the attention of students, such move does not translate to the development of the students’ academic and intellectual skills.
The author points out that the development of academic skills is relies on the ability of the students to write on their topics of interest in a reflective and analytical way. The most important concept that the author discusses is the fact that when street smarts are given the necessary intellectual skills they become more powerful in the real world. The reason behind such assertion is that street smarts have knowledge that they can actually apply to real world scenarios and when they have acquired the logical and analytical skills that come with intellectualism, they become more able to see reality and how to adapt to it.
On the other hand, mere intellectuals may possess the most abundant knowledge about the most varied of things but they may not have the ability to apply such knowledge in real world settings. Without the ability to communicate with the real world, the intellectuals cannot integrate themselves with the topics and subject matters that are concrete and not mere abstracts as what they might have studied in school.
What the essay is trying to point out is that in order to develop a student that is highly effective in the real world, the non-academic interests of the student must be combined and integrated with the academic way of thinking. Such way allows the student to combine culture with intellectualism which will become his ticket to understanding society and the real world better. Graff’s essay is highly effective in bringing a connection between begin street smart and being intellectual.
His choice of words and flow of discussion allows readers to see that the concept of anti-intellectualism does not really exists for even those who talk about non-academic thinks possess the innate ability to discuss and rationalize ideas and thoughts. By narrating his own experience, the author is able to show readers that his concepts and ideas are indeed present in reality and not mere abstractions. Making the essay more personal allowed the author to establish a deeper connection with readers which made his essay more effective in conveying his thoughts.