Sometimes I worry about whether I’m intelligent, or more precisely, I worry about whether I am sufficiently demonstrating my intelligence. “I’m smart!” I want people to know that, but then again, what difference does it make? Who cares? Most people are intelligent. It isn’t very interesting.
It seems to me that academia is a lot of posturing and reminding people how smart you are. This frustrates me. Can’t we talk about movies? Social welfare? Poetry?
I think it is important to be able to talk to anyone about anything. Not because you know everything about everything but because you can listen with awareness and sensitivity and engage with people on their own turf. This seems like a peculiarly female way to look at intelligence: it’s dinner party intelligence. But how much do you really want to talk about, say, Lacan?
This is why I often think I am not cut out for academia. There are people who really do just want to sit around and argue about Heidegger all day, every day. We can talk about Agamben if you really want to. But let’s talk about painting, or textiles, or birds.
This is also a departmental divide… why I feel completely at home in neither Comp Lit nor English. Running into a Buffalo Comp Lit person at the coffee shop would inevitably lead to a West Side Story dance-off of theory terminology. But then you can’t just throw around words like deterritorialization in an English Department like UVA’s– and sometimes one does actually need to use those words.
Now I’m just babbling…