Aaliyah JacksonENG 112Ms. Morgan3/1/19 Why We Don’t Hate the Smart KidsBeing a smart kid in society isn’t easy, as what Grant Penrod says in, Anti-Intellectualism: Why We Hate the Smart Kids. In his essay, he argues that intellectuals are despised by people known as the anti-intellectuals. He believes that the smart kids are never recognized or complimented for their efforts like how the non-smart kids are. Penrod also focuses on why anti-intellectualism exists and how intellectuals are judged and affected based off the stereotypes that were made for them.
But Penrod’s argument is unconvincing since he generalizes that if someone is smart then they are stereotyped as a nerd, and negative things will happen to them. They will become what society thinks a nerd should be. Or, if you are someone who isn’t as smart, then you definitely hate the idea of intellectualism. He incorrectly assumes that if you are a smart person, you are overshadowed and disliked by the general public.
Penrod’s questionable argument that smart kids are anti-social because their label results in the lack of social contact, is simply not true. Based on one online venter that he talks about, Dan6erous, nerds don’t have lives socially because they are always concerned for their grades. Penrod thinks that this absurd belief is true. Though he states that not all smart kids are socially excluded, he believes that a few have at least a degree of popularity (760). This is unreasonable because he doesn’t take other people’s cases into consideration. There are many smart students that are social butterflies, they might even be the most popular in their school. It looks like Penrod is viewing social life in every school as a typical high school movie, where you have the jocks, that are the most popular and unintelligent, and the nerds that are super smart and have little to no popularity. In one of Penrod’s examples, he unconvincingly claims that public figures fuel the idea of anti-intellectualism. He lists certain well-known cultural icons that dropped out of high school such as Kid Rock, Christina Aguilera, L.L Cool J and Sammy Sosa. Penrod believes that these public figures are responsible for anti-intellectualism because the image presented by modern celebrities [suggest] that intellectualism has no ties to success (760). What Penrod doesn’t tell us is that even though these celebrities might not be smart at subjects in school, they do have some type of talent that makes them successful, something that they are an intellectual at. He also doesn’t consider that there are also celebrities that dropped out of school but are super smart and successful such as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. In addition, Penrod generalizes that if you are not intelligent then you automatically believe in uneducated success. But students that aren’t intelligent would definitely not just drop out to become as rich and famous as someone who did, because uneducated success is pretty hard to obtain if you aren’t an intellect at something.Penrod’s illogical arguments in this piece makes it appear that society as a whole looks down on smart kids. He generalizes the attitudes people have towards nerds as a world wide hatred for them. But not everyone in society looks down on those individuals who help it to progress, [excluding] its best and brightest (762). Penrod also argues throughout his essay that smart kids can never academically express themselves since people do not notice or appreciate them at all, which is preposterous. He does not realize that most intellectuals are not only looked up to in society but they do not need to prove themselves to anybody. Smart kids do not succeed academically just to be recognized and drowned with compliments, they do it because they want to be successful in school, their jobs, and life in general.Though Grant Penrod’s essay is very well-written and has very few agreeable points, it seems he bases his argument off his own experiences and opinions. In a sense, the argument he makes seems biased. Based off the first paragraph of this essay, Penrod was clearly a smart, hardworking student in one of the teams that were never recognized. Throughout his high school life he was probably treated poorly from others because he was smart. His school might’ve been built on typical stereotypes that portrayed intellectuals as anti-socials, people that only care for their grades, and ones that are generally unaccepted by society. But in reality, other high schools and life in general is nothing like this. Maybe for the sake of both smart kids and the society as a whole, Penrod needs to lay off a little. Works CitedPenrod, Grant. Anti-Intellectualism: Why We Hate the Smart Kids The Norton Field Guide to Writing With Reading. Edited by Richard Bullock and Maureen Daly Goggin. W.W. Norton & Company, 2016, pp 759-762.