Sometimes I think I must be really fucking creepy.  I like to sit in coffeehouses and stare at things.  Although it’s less that I like to stare at things than I end up staring at things.  Before I know it some unsuspecting person has entered my field of vision, and suddenly it seems like I’m staring at them.  People don’t concern me, but the view of the hills to the northwest of Ann Arbor covered in summer haze and the setting sunlight from the bar counter of Sweetwaters does, damned if anyone interferes with my line of sight.

Maybe I’m not that creepy after all, although it seems to me like people spacing out is creepy in and of itself to a lot of people.  Like somehow, staring at the trees, I’m not all there.

I recently read this article in the American Scholar discussing the fact that the romance of intellectual discourse has been shunned by our society.  Fixated upon the physical rather than the intellectual, the populist rather than the elite, William Deresiewicz decries the fact that in popular literature and film, the relationship between the professor and the student is generally illicitly erotic, for the simple reason that Plato’s “eros of souls” is something that is really frowned upon by our populist, egalitarian overlords.  (Ha, that’s ironic, innit?)

It’s an interesting point, and like I said, maybe the idea that I look like I’m wandering off inside my mind is frightening because something profound is going on there.  I suppose it’s legitimate to say (and more probable in the public consciousness) that I am sitting there, wandering off into the far reaches of my mind, populated by terrifying ideas and destructive impulses.  I really don’t look that scary, it’s just nowadays everybody is a terrorist.  I don’t mind being re-imagined as a pathological creep now and then, but I can’t imagine it’s good for my public image.

Recently I “converted” Brendan from being an avowed populist to “the dark side” of the (would-be?) intellectual elite.  He said that it mostly had to do with Lou Dobbs melting his cerebral cortex, but I’m more than sure that years of wheedling away at this confidence in the rightness of the popular had something to do with his breakdown.  Being better than everyone else rules, and even if you aren’t really better than everyone else, finding a community of people who will reaffirm your delusions is pretty awesome too.

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