Thursday, 13 August 2009

Public intellectuals

Let's hear it for the public intellectuals - those splendid thinkers who can not only think deeply and originally about a subject, but communicate it to the general public without dumbing it down. In other countries, it seems, they are better at appreciating intellectuals, particularly philosophers. But perhaps, as David Gauntlett argues, it's something about the way the arts are funded? Or is it just that we are a nation of lowbrows?

Whatever it is, let's ignore the zeitgeist and celebrate those British public intellectuals.

Three cheers for Jonathan Miller, Roy Porter, Simon Schama, Ronald Hutton, Iris Murdoch, A S Byatt, David Attenborough, Stephen Hawking, Alain de Botton (yes I know he's Swiss but he writes in English), George Monbiot, Melvyn Bragg and the fabulous In Our Time programme, and many more. I know that Bo will say that Rowan Williams should be on this list, but I would argue that he shot himself in the foot with his comments about sharia law. But he can be on the list, I guess.

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