ProFootballTalk is frequently anti-athlete, and engages in mockery of just about anybody involved in football for a whole host of reasons. And I suppose there's a place for that. But one particular form of PFT's mockery stinks of anti-intellectualism. PFT makes fun of Tiki Barber for using big words; essentially, PFT makes fun of Tiki Barber for sounding smart.
Currently, when the main writer at PFT uses a word or phrase that might sound smart, he'll insert "thanks, Tiki" in parentheses directly afterward. Today "(thanks, Tiki)" appeared after the word "extemporaneously." On August 19th "(thanks, Tiki)" appeared after persona non grata.
The main writer at PFT has claimed that he makes fun of Tiki's vocabulary because Barber is a fake intellectual, using big words pretentiously (ah, thanks Tiki?) to sound smart. As I showed, I'm not so sure. After all, if he's made fun of for using big words, how exactly is Barber supposed to show that he is a legitimate intellectual?
I'm not sure what an athlete or ex-athlete would have to do to convince PFT that he/she is a legitimate intellectual; it's possible that "intellectual athlete" simply doesn't fit into PFT's schema.
I guess I'll leave it to you: do you think PFT's mockery of Tiki Barber's big words constitutes a negative attitude toward intellectualism (whatever that might mean)? Or does Tiki Barber deserve to be mocked for his supposedly pretentious vocabulary?
Anti-intellectualism is a problem in our country. Science is frequently rejected for non-scientific reasons (evolution, global warming). Political candidates seem to deliberately dumb down their diction to appeal to the masses. Too many people speak of academia and intellectual pursuits with derision. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I see PFT engaging in this very problem in its mocking of Barber's diction.
ADDENDUM: One of the early words (though possibly not the first--another similar critique shows up a few hours earlier) in Barber's vocabulary that caught PFT's ire was "bloviate" in late October. Not a common word, but easily understood in context.
But here's the sure sign of an anti-intellectual bent: if a speaker uses a word you don't know, why is the speaker at fault?
If somebody uses a word that you don't know, you should not assume it is the speaker who has a flaw: you should assume it is you, for not knowing the word. To hold it against the speaker, rather than yourself, shows an animosity toward the person for being (at least in this case, for knowing a word you don't know) more intelligent than you.