A completely reliable source that I found on Google suggests that there were roughly 152 million blogs on the internet in 2013 (or 15 web years ago.) For context, if every person in Russia had a blog, then you would still have 8,000,000 unclaimed blogs. So you can imagine my hemming and hawing when it came to choosing a blog title and theme that had not already been chosen. (There was a lot of it.)
I have created several different blogs, so you might expect that I would remember how painful and overwhelming this process can be. You would be wrong. I fired up my WordPress account, ready to take on the world by keyboarding storm. Completely forgetting that between me and saving the world stood an empty, nameless, blackhole of a blog. I spent so much time worrying about what ingredients make a website successful that it was at risk of no longer being relevant by the time I finally decided. (Or being nuked in an arms race started at the Twitter suggestion that Donald Trump’s hands are smaller than a toddler’s. Whichever came first.)
As is often the case when you fall down an internet rabbit hole, I stumbled onto a little nugget of promise as I researched variations of liberal, feminism, bluestocking, and intellectual. Buried in a pile of related Google searches was the word, “egghead.”
Based on a hodgepodge of sources including, but not limited to, Urban Dictionary, I learned that the term has been used to describe intellectuals, journalists, and academics. The liberal elite, if you will. The term rose dramatically in popularity in 1952 when Richard Nixon, while running for president, used it to describe his Democratic competition Adlai Stevenson. (Also, Stevenson was bald. So, points for being on the nose.) In 1964, Richard Hofstadter’s, “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” examined the rise in resistance to intellectualism as it was perceived to be out of touch with every day Americans. The resistance was rooted in the idea that Americans did not have to be professors, writers, or highbrow academics to be considered an expert on something. (A fair reservation to hold.)
This very specific moment in American political history appealed to me as I sat there, creating a blog in 2017 because so little has changed in our discourse and political leanings. Except, as I see it, the degree to which some Americans have taken literally the need to diverge from intellectualism, fact, and expertise.
Consider the Evangelical Baptist tendency to interpret the Bible literally. I will draw from personal experience to paint an accurate picture for you. I was enrolled in a fundamental Baptist school during 6, 7, and 8th grades. Our science class relied heavily on the Bible to provide context for our lessons, so the content was geared towards a literal interpretation of the passages. In one lesson I will never forget, the Old Testament teaches us that men lived to be many hundreds of years old. How could this be possible when the average human life expectancy with modern medical technology is a mere 70-80 years old? The answer lies in the extra canopy of oxygen that surrounded the Earth before the great flood. This canopy provided super nutrients that made humans live to be, roughly, 900 years old. (Also, dinosaur fossils and radiometric dating were put on Earth by Satan to trick us into believing the world is older than 5,000 years old. Science!)
This is a complete departure from the idea that everyday Americans wanted to feel recognized for their contributions to society without giving lectures or writing books. Instead, we are creating laws and regulations based on the whims of Americans who, at the very least, appear to distrust science, facts, and data, if not outright disdain them altogether. We have a mountain of evidence proving that climate change is real and happening very fast. Yet we now have an administration that scoffs and seeks to remove barriers that would protect the environment. Data proves that safe, comprehensive, and affordable reproductive care for women means fewer abortions. But here we are, having to ask how easy it will be for Trump and his administration to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
All of this is to say:
If believing in climate change and the need for laws that protect the environment makes me an egghead, god damn, I’m an egghead!
If believing that women should have full control over their destinies AND ovaries, then god damn, am I an egghead.
If knowing that truth, reason, equality, and justice are essential to the fabric of American democracy, then god damn, I’m an egghead.