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Jacoby s The Last Intellectuals starts with a clearly stated premise public intellectuals have declined with suburbanization of the U.S and the academicization of writing With such a clear thesis, one could expect a book to have a clear and rigorous argument, but here Jacoby, much like the public intellectuals he is discussing, is much looser That is not to say that the book is not enjoyable it is There are insightful discussions of suburbanization s effects on writing as an industry, the Jacoby s The Last Intellectuals starts with a clearly stated premise public intellectuals have declined with suburbanization of the U.S and the academicization of writing With such a clear thesis, one could expect a book to have a clear and rigorous argument, but here Jacoby, much like the public intellectuals he is discussing, is much looser That is not to say that the book is not enjoyable it is There are insightful discussions of suburbanization s effects on writing as an industry, the long march through the academies as well as capsule criticism on Mumford, Velben, Mills, Jacobs, and a few other key early 20th century public intellectuals as well asincisive commentary on William Buckley, David Harvey, and Marshall Berman.The book suffers from two key problems the first is that amount of material covered limits Jacoby s rigor in any given area, and often Jacoby proffers opinions as explanations, and the second is that the book is quite dated now as many areas of discussion are evensharply divided The long march through the academy that Jacoby bemoaned in the likes of Harvey and Wallerstein that happened with the professionalization of the New Left is long over Their ideological children will be unlikely to find stable employment in the Academe as there just isn t as much of it left This has forced some leftist intellectuals back out into the open world, but not nearly enough and in panoply of current voices, they are but drops in the sea While the first concern is a limitation of Jacoby s choice of topic and presentation, the second is a function of time Still the simple premise and the complicated conclusions drawn from it are worth the time of this book Indeed, one would be so lucky if Jacoby or someone who listened to him were to pick this back up and complete what has happened since the mid 80s and how muchaccelerated what Jacoby was discussing has become For someone of my generation born in the 1960s this was a fascinating read about the intellectual giants that passed out of history in the 1950s, who were not academics but were public intellectuals It is an interesting story, how demographics, and other social trends drove a professionalization of intellectual pursuit in the universities that had the effect of making their writing unreadable by the public Social commentary on the Left for the most part disappeared into scholarly journals For someone of my generation born in the 1960s this was a fascinating read about the intellectual giants that passed out of history in the 1950s, who were not academics but were public intellectuals It is an interesting story, how demographics, and other social trends drove a professionalization of intellectual pursuit in the universities that had the effect of making their writing unreadable by the public Social commentary on the Left for the most part disappeared into scholarly journals as the Left conquered academe Ultimately leading to the triumph of the Right in social comment evinced by The New Criterion, Commentary, City Journal, etc.The book explains the catastrophe of bad writing people in my generation who went to college in the 1980s were subjected to by the tenured radicals I stopped reading this book The book isn t bad yet it is out of date Maybe Jacoby needs to put out a new edition that takes the Internet into consideration Easier said than done, I know. This treatise on the disappearance of the public American intellectual holds up quite well despite the passage of time since its publication mid 80 s The arguments are sound and still valid, for the most part Jacoby s enthusiasm for his topic does lead to the odd no longer relevant tangent and a dated reference or two but with no great harm done to the over arching thesis. The basic point is the loss of public intellectuals to academic intellectuals, the latter group seldom writing for the public as they have become hyper specialized and deterred from writing for the public At the same time, the internet age has bred tens of thousands of bloggers, youtube videographers, alternative media, etc., which may be displacing the dominant attention of society away from main stream televised media and any past idea of public intellectuals Talk radio seems to have sur The basic point is the loss of public intellectuals to academic intellectuals, the latter group seldom writing for the public as they have become hyper specialized and deterred from writing for the public At the same time, the internet age has bred tens of thousands of bloggers, youtube videographers, alternative media, etc., which may be displacing the dominant attention of society away from main stream televised media and any past idea of public intellectuals Talk radio seems to have survived as it is easily converted to the new podcast format, while the old tech of TV media suffers, being clipped and copied by online videos and streaming Overall, while the voice of a few prominent public intellectuals has been lost to the disorganized cornucopia of mass internet noise, it is possible that the greater quantity of conversation and idea dissemination may yield superior ideas, the problem for the 21st century is filtering the noise to distill better intellectual products.Video review of interesting points to come gets the job done, but it may be a touch out of date but still, give it a whirl An account of the eclipse of public intellectuals in America Jacoby is persuasive when connecting changes in post WW2 physical and cultural American geography to the quality and impact of academic scholarship and writing in general His chapter on the decline of bohemia is absolutey enthralling and enlightening Most convincing, perhaps, is his contention that the University system itself discourages radical thinking and lucid prose better for one s career to tow the line, fit in, thank coll An account of the eclipse of public intellectuals in America Jacoby is persuasive when connecting changes in post WW2 physical and cultural American geography to the quality and impact of academic scholarship and writing in general His chapter on the decline of bohemia is absolutey enthralling and enlightening Most convincing, perhaps, is his contention that the University system itself discourages radical thinking and lucid prose better for one s career to tow the line, fit in, thank colleagues abundantly, and employ outrageous jargon in the useless and scarcely circulated sub discipline periodicals of one s discipline, than to explore contentious public issues Independent public intellectuals, according to Jacoby, cease to exist when they become career professors, for the only way to achieve tenure is to embrace the insularity of one s discipline What disturbs the author the most is how professionalized and bureaucratized the New Left intellectuals became after joining the establishment although, he doesn t suggest an alternative, other than poverty Unfortunately, the trends Jacoby identified in 1987 have continued uninterruptedly This book is scathing, caustic, and perfectly delightful a sight for sore academic eyes This book really gets at many of the problems in academia I disagree with many of Jacoby s assumptions and premises especially that intellectuals need to be Marxists or leftists , but he incisively dissects some of the problems afflicting professors and universities A motif is that intellectuals have abandoned writing for the public and have taken enclave in universities for the prospect of tenure, salary, and reputation I find nothing wrong with that goal, but the problem is in pursuit of t This book really gets at many of the problems in academia I disagree with many of Jacoby s assumptions and premises especially that intellectuals need to be Marxists or leftists , but he incisively dissects some of the problems afflicting professors and universities A motif is that intellectuals have abandoned writing for the public and have taken enclave in universities for the prospect of tenure, salary, and reputation I find nothing wrong with that goal, but the problem is in pursuit of tenure, intellectuals are forced to specialize into sub micro fields of disciplines that fade into irrelevance, toe the orthodoxy, etc While the chapter on the decline of the bohemian lifestyle is breathtaking, I find nothing glamorous, virtuous, or sustainable about it The gentrification of intellectuals is fine with me However, the problems that Jacoby touches on are critical in relation to the drive for tenure Conservatives often decry leftists professors that have overtaken universities and academe That rallying cry is not inaccurate there are many universities with substantiallyliberal professors than conservative professors, as measured by party affiliation There are mentions that there is no American left and that is exemplified by the professor profession Instead of becoming and retaining a strong left identity, they ensconce themselves into a specialized profession and write technical books and articles for each other, instead of educating the public like good leftists The mention that there is no American left rings quite true American liberals are not leftists like their European counterparts, who are Socialists American liberals are left of center, at best Jacoby dedicates two chapters to the presence of leftists and Marxists at universities, concluding that they have subsumed themselves under the university structure The focus on Marxism is petulant but a tenet of the book I was hoping for analysis on conservatives in academe, but the first 200 pages are devoid of that I am disappointed by the lack of analysis concerning think tanks Perhaps their place isprominent today, but the scholars and authors who are employed and funded by think tanks with certain ideological purposes are certainly necessary in Jacoby s analyses This book is rich with many themes, ideas, and examples It jumps from comparing mid century New York and non New York intellectuals to lamenting the decline of independent intellectualism and the dearth of public intellectuals in the current day The current day for Jacoby is the 1980s, but I would disagree with Jacoby on this contention I believe there are public intellectuals strongly entrenched in the United States They do not have to be full time professors many of them are authors columnists for the major newspapers and magazines, and they make many television appearances Steven Pinker, Paul Krugman, George Will, Fareed Zakaria, Christopher Hitchens, etc Public intellectualism might not be valued in the way that Jacoby wishes it were, but I believe public intellectualism is alive and well I also am of the belief that an intellectual need not be an extremist ideologue like Chomsky, but Jacoby gives clear preference to the leftists Many parts of the books are excellent, disputable, informative, and provocative I would love to see a contemporary study by Jacoby on this same topic, as it has been a generation since this was published The language is not only lucid, but it Jacoby s trenchant criticisms of certain people, ideas, and trends are hilarious `Free E-pub ⇷ The Last Intellectuals: American Culture in the Age of Academe ⇶ Argues that there are no longer intellectuals working outside of the academic world, criticizes the New Left, and explains the decline of bohemia Touch Not the Cat criticizes the New Left The Charmer’s Box and explains the decline of bohemia