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College Walk Archetypes: Chain-Smoking Intellectual

Remember the glory of Butler Archetypes? We missed them on Bwog so we’re bringing them back with an eye for College Walk (and being incredibly liberal in our definition of “College Walk” such that it basically constitutes anything between Butler and Low). First up, we asked Features Editor Alexander Pines to give us the chain-smoking intellectual (because he’s taking U.S. Intellectual History so #expert), with illustrative help by Leila Mgaloblishvili.

chainsmokerIt’s cold, it’s grey, you’re a little terrified of sliding halfway across campus on your face courtesy of the aesthetics-at-the-expense-of-walkability granite and brick surface covering most of our cosy Ivy Bubble, and all of a sudden you can’t see a thing.

Don’t worry, it’s just a chain-smoking intellectual.

Wait, is that a whiff of clove you smell? They haven’t sold those in years, right?

He brushes damp hair out of his eyes with fingerless gloves, adjusting his beanie and pulling out one of his headphones. Yeezus or a Noam Chomsky podcast, of course. “They repackaged cloves into cigars. It’s basically the same thing,” he says, pulling out a nearly empty (but still pristine on the outside) pack to show you. American Spirits must be too mainstream.

“Aren’t you late to class?” you ask, temporarily wishing that you could steal his maroon colored Docs for the traction (you’re a little surprised he’s wearing them post “Wrecking Ball,” but maybe Miley’s so far below his consciousness that he hasn’t seen the video yet).

He smiles, adjusting the strap of his leather messenger bag–bulging with Foucault, “good ol’ Judy,” and that Banksy book you saw on your Cool Friend’s coffee table a few weeks ago. “It’s philosophy,” he says breezily. “I’m there in spirit.”

You leave, bolting up the steps to make it to lecture in time–your spirit form hasn’t figured out how to take notes yet. As you start moving toward Avery, you turn back–he was cute, after all. All you see is a cloud of fog, effervescing like so much bullshit into the cloudy afternoon. On your way home from class, you pause to see if he’s still there. There’s nothing but a crumpled pile of cigarette butts and a few discarded pages from a Moleskine. Maybe next time.

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12 Comments

  • Gnome says:

    @Gnome Chomsky**

    1. Alexander Pines says:

      @Alexander Pines Oops. Thanks, fixed.

  • Assignment for you!Do if u want says:

    @Assignment for you!Do if u want These are people who are, in the logical sense of ‘or,’ either subscribers to some form of epistemological constructivism who therefore refuse to believe there is any true inherent reality we can know beyond the appearances structured by the schemata of our minds or social constructivists who see social notions as, well, mostly nothing but social constructs, generally imposed by those in power (à la one reading of Thrasymachus on justice). As such, they seem to me to tend to be relativists, skeptics, idealists, maybe even phenomenalists, agnostic or atheist, moral anti-realists, post-structuralists, deconstructionists, and certainly leftists (though probably not orthodox Marxists!), etc. These people, for some reason that escapes me, seem to ooze way more coolness than those who do NOT explicitly subscribe to some version of constructivism. Why do you think this is? Aren’t more intellectual people supposed to be less cool? Why are these people the exception or this mean they must be wrong about their beliefs? If you do not agree with my overall assessment of the archetype, please explain why.

    Discuss using references to three readings from your social science and/or humanities classes or, if you prefer, with from one reading from a natural science class and one reading from a humanities/social science class. Single-spaced. No extensions.

    Due by 8AM. Post here, will grade as soon as I can.

    Prof A (though I don’t give them out easily)

    1. I have a question says:

      @I have a question What might be the relation between one’s beliefs/subscriptions and perceived coolness? Why might it be inconsistent for these archetypes to be both agnostic/atheist/relativist/skeptic etc and ‘cool’ at the same time?

      1. Thing is... says:

        @Thing is... That is the question. You’re supposed to answer it.

  • Prof A says:

    @Prof A Also, smoking is bad, do not think I consider it cool. And, to be clear, I am not a real prof.

    1. No, but says:

      @No, but with the # of credits you have in the subject, you could easily be a CC instructor I think..

    2. No, but says:

      @No, but Also, prof D, dont you have a deadline looming…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Can’t tell what is more unoriginal and exhaustingly overdone: people who act like this character or people who mockingly write about them.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Maybe it’s the people who meta-complain about the complaints.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Where does that leave you?

        This is getting out of hand.

  • Recursion says:

    @Recursion Stack overflow

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