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Sullivan 1 Sabrina Sullivan English 101 Professor Bolton October 17, 2013 Intricate Arguments on the Views of Intellectualism

Arguments are basically opinions that are being thrust upon us every day about almost anything. There are arguments that are not so obvious but that are influencing your opinion none the less. When a makeup ad says that you need to wear their brand because it is dermatologist tested and has better coverage than other brands, this is a form of argument. An argument can be a motivational drive to foster change and stand up for things. Arguments need to contain logos, ethos, and pathos to be effective. The authors Grant Penrod and Gerald Graff have different viewpoints when they argue over how intellectualism is interpreted by society. Penrods AntiIntellectualism: Why We Hate the Smart Kids argues that there is outright disdain for the educated harbored by much of society (754). While Graffs Hidden Intellectualism argues that one of the major reasons why schools and colleges overlook the intellectual potential of street smarts: the fact that we associate those street smarts with anti-intellectual concerns (198). Both Penrod and Graff provide interesting claims and adequate reasoning, but Graffs essay is a more effective argument because of its use of logos and convincing reasons and evidence. The first key component of Graffs argument is his use of logos. Graff says that Real intellectuals turn any subject, however lightweight it may seem, into grist for their mill through the thoughtful questions they bring to it, whereas a dullard will find a way to rain the interest out of the richest subject (199). This means that not only is it possible to wax intellectual about Plate Shakespeare, the French Revolution, and nuclear fission but that it can also be about cars,

Sullivan 2 dating, fashion, sports, TV, or video games (199). Graff points out that students would be more prone to take on intellectual identities if we encouraged them to do so at first on subjects that interest them rather than ones that interest us (199). It makes sense that it would be an intellectually smart move to make assignments that would actually interest someone who is involved in todays culture. By sparking the interests of students, a teacher could expand a students academic capability, by assigning essays on topics they actually want to write about. Graffs use of logos is effective because it appeals to the way people think about studying as a student and as a parent. Another key component of Graffs argument is his plausible support for his argument by using convincing reasons and evidence. These reasons provide the reader proof to believe that Graff is trustworthy and knows his topic well. Graff effectively uses anecdotes as convincing reasons and evidence: Until I entered college, I hated books and cared only for sports.I was your typical teenage anti-intellectual.I have recently come to think, however, that my preference for sports over schoolwork was not anti-intellectualism so much as intellectualism by other means. (199-200) Graff is saying that although he preferred sports magazines to school work, it does not mean his passion for sports made him a less intellectual person. Graff talks about his childhood and how intellectualism was not something to brag about or display in abundance to ones peers: I was desperate for the approval of the hoods, whom I encountered daily on the playing field and in the neighborhood, and for this purpose it was not at all good to be book-smart (200). Graff states, I still recall endless, complicated debates in this period with my closest pals over who the toughest guy in the school (200-201). Graff shares that It was in these discussions

Sullivan 3 with friends about toughness and sports, I think, and in my reading of sports books and magazines, that I began to learn the rudiments of the intellectual life: how to make an argument, weigh different kinds of evidence (201). Graff supports his argument by saying that he became aware of the intellect it takes to understand sports knowledge while having long chats with his friends. Graff says that much later it dawned on me that the sports world was more compelling than school because it was more intellectual than school, not less. Sports after all was full of challenging arguments, debates, problems for analysis, and intricate statistics that you could care about (202). Here Graff further explains that intellectualism can be found outside of the academic world. Graff does not agree with the schools that do not see knowledge/enthusiasm for cars, sports, fashion or street smarts as he terms them, as a sign of intelligence (198). Graff feels that schools are limiting themselves and students by not expanding the curriculum to things that would actually interests the kids. Graff pretty much says that schools are basing intelligence on aptitude tests on subjects that have no meaning to most students. In contrast, while Graff uses logos and convincing reasons and evidence in Hidden Intellectualism, Penrod does not. Penrod sticks to statistics and dramatic pathos in his argument for Anti-Intellectualism: Why We Hate the Smart Kids. Penrod uses generalizations to talk about intellectuals getting put down and no praise: Intellectuals constantly see their efforts trivialized in the rush to lavish compliments elsewhere. However, such occurrences present only a faint silhouette of true antiintellectualism; trivialization seems insignificant when compared with the outright disdain for the educated harbored by much of society. (Penrod 754) Penrod is saying that intellectual people get no praise and are only looked down upon. This statement is unconvincing because he does not provide real evidence to support his claim.

Sullivan 4 Penrod says that anti-intellectualism stems from social stereotypes, public examples, and monetary obsession (755). Penrod says that from these factors the result is a crushing disregard for the lives and achievements of fellow human beings (755). This statement is a pathos which tries to persuade readers that intellectuals are being devastated by harmful social stereotypes such as the idea of the geek or nerd of the class is a familiar one to most students, and it is not a pleasant one (755). While it is true that a number of people have suffered at the hands of these callous and stereotypical words, Penrod is saying that a majority of people use these words against others. Penrods pronouncement of the populace looking down on all intellectuals is a hasty generalization fallacy. Additionally, Penrod undermines his own credibility by making such general and dramatic statements that cannot speak for every school, or every student, or every academically inclined person. Penrod states that nerds are excluded from social activity because of their label, and that label in turn intensifies through the resulting lack of social contact (755). The logic in this statement is flawed because it is a hasty generalization of societies labeling of nerds and Penrod provides no support to back up his claim. Even Penrod knows his logic is flawed because he says a quick backtrack sentence to try and save his biased opinion: Of course, not all nerds are socially excluded; most high school students could readily name a few intelligent people with at least a degree of popularity (755). Penrod is undermining his argument once again by writing a statement completely opposite of the purpose of it. Not all intellectualists have been ostracized for being smart; a lot have even been highly praised. Some people are praised for their book smarts more than their street smarts. Penrods argument is weaker because he does have convincing reasons and does not supply enough evidence for his generalized claims.

Sullivan 5 In a word, Graffs argument makes more sense in the world we live in now. Our culture accepts intellectualism and appreciates it. How we choose to appreciate or enhance that intelligence is the question. Graff says that intelligence can be found outside of school, in where peoples interests lie. Penrod has the more negative aspects on intelligence while Graff is more uplifting with his approach. Overall Graffs argument was stronger than Penrods, due to his convincing use of logos and reasons and evidence.

Sullivan 6 Works Cited Penrod, Grant. Anti-Intellectualism: Why We Hate the Smart Kids. The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings and Handbook. 3rd ed. Ed. Marilyn Moller. New York: W.W Norton & Co., 2013. 754-757. Print. Graff, Gerald. Hidden Intellectualism. They Say I Say. 2nd ed. Ed. Gerald Graff, and Cathy Birkenstein. New York: Norton, 2010. 198-205. Print