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Because the Washington Post is worrying about nerds, or more specifically, why Americans don't respect math and science.

The nerd stereotype is a peculiarly American prejudice, which Anderegg (with substantial help from historian Richard Hofstadter's "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life") traces back to our nascent literary days. Indeed, he places the blame for American nerd aversion squarely on the shoulders of Washington Irving and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson, in the seminal 1837 speech titled "The American Scholar," gave "voice in the loftiest academic diction to a repeated theme in American history: that Americans are, first and foremost, men of action, not men of reflection." Irving had already put imaginary flesh on those bones, in the person of Ichabod Crane, the awkward scholarly schoolteacher scared out of town by his romantic rival, the pretend pumpkin-head Brom Bones, "a new American type: the anti-intellectual hero." Anderegg very seriously advises that "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" should not be taught until college for the damage it could cause to young psyches.

Okay that may be a bit much. Or it could just be that another element of anti-intellectualism that we reward books that are shoddily researched. *coff* Everything Bad is Good for You anyone?

Seriously, the real problem with anti-intellectualism in America is that we have to have fucking debates on teaching science. in. public. schools. Which means by the time kids get to college they are woefully unprepared in science and mathematics. And then we wonder why our kids' scores are shit next to those of other countries.

If the little fuckers are actually taught, then they will all be "nerds" and actually able to make a living wage, and then the Big Companies won't have to outsource cheap IT labor etc to India. And I bet they wouldn't like that. Pardon my cynicism.

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