I have a problem with the word ‘intellectual’. I have a particular, scathing, tear-my-eyes out, secretly, passively fuming problem with an individual using the word ‘intellectual’ to describe themself, or their actions, or their pursuits, or really anything that allows for an individual to scion out the word ‘intellectual’ like sticking a hot knife into butter and twisting, luxuriating in the creaminess of the posh reputation they’ve now bludgeoned out for themselves.
I think about how a rising sense of anger and annoyance and desire to duct-tape shut his mouth completely overcame my rationality in a disastrous discussion with AM, and I think I can trace it back to AM and that word, intellectual, which he just so happened to use. I have intellectual conversations with my friends, he said. It’s fun. It’s what I do for fun. Something about it. Something about it. Did I feel like he was implying I did not do those things for fun? Maybe a little. Or did I feel like he was invalidating my conversations, even the ones I call intellectual inside my head where my despise for pretentiousness can’t whole-heartedly detect? Maybe a little. Did it push the button of insecurity that flares up in thinking that AM is more intellectual than me, or no — that’s not right, I realize now; the problem is that I hate that AM thinks he is more intellectual than me.