Hidden Intellectualism Summary

Kyle Cooke


September 5, 2103


In Hidden Intellectualism, Gerald Graff begins with the age-old argument of the difference between “book smarts” (intellectualism) and “street smarts.”  Graff explains that in many cases, these book smarts can take various forms and hide in what people call street smarts, hence the “hidden” intellectualism. For him, he realized that he was intellectually gifted when he noticed that he was using reason and argumentative strategies while discussing sports with friends. Graff describes that through his arguing and reasoning, he was showing his intellectual side. He also gives the reader another example of the discovery of hidden intellectualism by telling the story of Michael Warner, a man who also realized his intellectual side through his arguing except instead of sports, he was arguing the Christian Pentecostal views of his parents.

Graff then transfers to a bit of a darker tone by discussing that intellectualism is often looked down upon and is labeled as being nerdy or geeky.  He explains that as a kid, he was afraid to show his intellectual side in fear that he would be the target of name-calling and bullying so he suppressed that side of him. However, by continuing to talk about sports (the cool stuff) he was just building upon his hidden intellectualism.

Lastly, Gerald Graff describes to the reader how important it is to teach this intellectualism to kids who do not notice the intellectualism inside of them. By bringing youth culture into the curriculum, Graff explains, the kids can make an easier transition into more intellectual subjects. He goes further that by saying that if kids can passionately argue about sports, music, and pop culture then they can hopefully channel that passion to discuss classic works of literature and other more scholarly subjects.  He closes by saying that helping kids become an intellectual rather than just finding it within themselves is still a work in progress.

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One Response to Hidden Intellectualism Summary

  1. Benjamin Wiley

    Excellent summary, Kyle, you hit all the main points that Graff makes. I think you captured the heart of Graff’s impetus to make this argument when you say that “through his arguing and reasoning [about sports], he was showing his intellectual side.” I’d say that he’s not only showing his intellectualism, but developing it as well.

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