Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


October 1, 2012

STUMPTALK: Sophomorism or arrested intellectual development, part II

CROSSVILLE — One of the most annoying things about sophomorism is its cloying sense of concern about the less fortunate, which began with the civil rights movement but has now turned into debate stifling political correctness, so that many people are afraid to speak frankly about certain issues for fear of being labeled racist, sexist, homophobic, or insensitive. Oozing sophomoric concern began when misguided adults convinced many baby boomers that they were the smartest generation ever. This made them think than no other generation before theirs thought as carefully or understood as deeply as they. They believed that before their time America was a wretched place. They saw their duty as rescuing the rest of us from our dishonorable past. They demonstrated and still demonstrate this attitude using an acting technique from Constantin Stanislavski, who developed method acting, which is taught at the Actor’s Studio and which has produced actors like Marlon Brando, probably the most famous.

Using Stanislavski or Actor’s Studio methods, the typical sophomoric concern oozer affects a painful frown, under which we are supposed to discern deep feelings for the poor, the oppressed, women, minorities, redheads, or the victim du jour. Recently, the most fashionable victims are homosexuals. Concern for all these victim groups may even produce croaking voices and tears. President Bill Clinton famously bit his lip. One time in an unguarded moment he was caught on camera laughing at a funeral while talking with friends. He then discovered the cameras, after which appeared the frown, the oozing concern, and the lip biting.

Sophomoric elites also ooze concern for the environment. Their latest environmental fad is man made global warming, now called climate change because of inconvenient declines in the earth’s mean temperature. Again, as with atheists, all the smart people believe in man made global warming.

These days one finds most sophomoric thinking in the Democratic Party even though many Republicans have been affected without their knowledge. Republicans have been so intimidated by accusations of racism, sexism, and other opprobrious ‘isms that they speechify sophomorically. For example, Republicans like New Gingrich praise FDR and Martin Luther King, Jr., regularly holding forth about the virtues of FDR, especially his taking the country into World War II. As for MLK worship, Gingrichian sophomores use his name so often that someone from Mars might think they participated in King led civil rights marches.

To this list of Republican sophomore sins can be added those of the Bushes: both wars in Iraq, raising taxes with Democrats (the first Bush), the war in Afghanistan, the budget breaking prescription drug law, and most infamously, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a program that could have been begun by any number of sophomores and is criticized by Democrats only because George W. Bush created it. An interesting speculation here: if Democrats had invented NCLB and someone had objected, they would charge, “Oh, you want children to be left behind!”

Another characteristic of the sophomoric mind shines forth when they speak about ordinary people of whose ability they have little regard. Ordinary folks cannot look out for themselves and therefore need big government nannies.

And on and on, the list of sophomoric sins is endless. Sophomorism then is not a coherent or rigorously developed system of thinking but rather an example of arrested intellectual development, a shallow catechism learned first in college and then reinforced in big city wine and cheese parlors, on the pages of big city newspapers, on network television, on television dramas (Law and Order, for example) and in fashionable urban neighborhoods. And speaking of fashion, sophomorism is mostly fashion, something that characterizes “all the best people.” Unfortunately it now dominates much of American culture and is rapidly destroying it.

Text Only
  • Lion and the Lamb: Our war on women

    Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has had quite an impressive career as an author. His first book was published in 1975, and he has now written a total of 37 books, 23 of them after his presidency. He has set a high example for other past presidents, especially those who would like to find ways of being as beneficial to their nation as possible in the days after their retirement.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

    Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

    April 21, 2014

  • Stumptalk: It depends on what you mean

    A writer’s headline asks, “Do we really believe in democracy?” To which I answer, “What do you mean by democracy?

    April 21, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice