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to say that England is anti-intellectual?

(133 Posts)
ChickenLickn Mon 12-Sep-11 21:02:26

If you are bright enough to do a degree, you get treated worse than the unemployed - no income, but you dont get state support, you get DEBT.

And then you get taxed an extra 9% of your earnings for practically the rest of your life - even if you have below average earnings.

People then end up having to lie that they dont have qualifications in order to get jobs!


Andrewofgg Mon 12-Sep-11 21:15:57

To the man in the street, who I'm sorry to say
Is a keen observer of life
The word intellectual suggests straight away
A man who's untrue to his wife

W H Auden.

LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 12-Sep-11 21:28:00

Gee, thanks Andrew! No women need apply, I guess.

FabbyChic Mon 12-Sep-11 21:30:38

Does my son pay 9% of his earnings to pay off his student debt? Jeeez. Well he thinks it was money well spent, if not for his degree he wouldn't be earning so much.

PuspornInBoots Mon 12-Sep-11 21:30:43

Except when it comes to Stephen Fry, ee's an instichooshun innee ven?

Kayano Mon 12-Sep-11 21:33:50

Stephen Fry not getting Geordie 'wor drums' is still my fave QI moment. YouTube it lol

GrimmaTheNome Mon 12-Sep-11 21:36:35

Being 'bright enough to do a degree' isn't synonymous with being an intellectual nowadays (if it ever was).

ChickenLickn Mon 12-Sep-11 21:36:43

Fabby - if he is earning so much, he will pay extra tax anyway on his higher earnings.
But if he hadn't got a good job and did something he didnt need a degree for, he would get less take-home pay than anyone else who didnt have a degree.

EggyAllenPoe Mon 12-Sep-11 21:39:40

no, to the contrary, though there is a an anti-interllectual undercurrent 'university of life' etc, just try and get a decent job without a degree - possible but very very difficult.

motherinferior Mon 12-Sep-11 21:40:02

PMSL at the equation of 'degree' with 'intellectual'. I thought you were going to start talking about that French barechested philosopher or something.

FabbyChic Mon 12-Sep-11 21:41:17

He did need a degree for this job, he done Maths, but he could have done Engineering and got the same job. And yep he pays higher rate tax too. But to him it's all worth it.

ChickenLickn Mon 12-Sep-11 21:41:52

University is an intellectual activity - concerned with training the intellect.

Bloody hell, some people even object to the use of the word itself!

FreddyG Mon 12-Sep-11 21:44:24

You make it sound like two things. There is no "and then". You get into debt doing the degree and they pay it back once you are earning a good wage. If you don't get a good job, you don't have to pay it back. Seems fair to me.

motherinferior Mon 12-Sep-11 21:44:34

I'm genuinely not sure how much some degrees do train the intellect. I do think that England has quite an anti-education tradition; learning, and study, are quite decried.

But no, I don't think a first degree equips one really to think of oneself as An Intellectual. Certainly not the ones I've taught on.

I quite madly would like to be an Intellectual myself but (despite having a couple of degrees) fear I am too philistine and lowbrow to qualify.

Nancy66 Mon 12-Sep-11 21:45:32

You don't have to be particularly bright to do a degree though.

FreddyG Mon 12-Sep-11 21:46:04

I think Britain respects doers more than thinkers.

ChickenLickn Mon 12-Sep-11 21:59:17

I think its more a "know your place, dont get ideas above your station" attitude.

motherinferior Mon 12-Sep-11 22:01:58

I think it is, overall, an anti-education bias.

LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 12-Sep-11 22:04:40

I think it is true you don't have to be 'particularly' bright to do a degree. But I also find the way that someone will always state that fact on threads like these quite depressing. Why does there always have to be a rush to insist that anything educational at all is really nothing special? Why not be happy for people?

I think if someone has enjoyed their degree, and now feels it was worthwhile (not just financially), that is great. It doesn't make it less great just because loads of people have degrees, or because it's hard to get a job (and hard for graduates and non-graduates alike) atm.

Tchootnika Mon 12-Sep-11 22:04:40

V. interesting thread....
I think England is anti-intellectual, for sure.
I think that there is a very English idea that education should be directed solely at training for professions, that there is little value in learning for its own sake.

motherinferior Mon 12-Sep-11 22:07:40

I think degrees should be quite stretching, actually. I don't think they should equate to financial reward, but I do think they should make demands on the intellect, and I think quite a few don't and that this is a pity.

I personally am like Adrian Mole, in that 'my problem is that I am an intellectual but at the same time I am not very bright'. I have this image of myself as a glamorously saturnine Simone de Beauvoir-ish figure, with a touch of Astrid Proll in there too, which alas does not mesh with the reality.

WillPenn Mon 12-Sep-11 22:11:59

As a university lecturer, I do think Britain is strongly anti-intellectual. There are many manifestations of this, but the two best I can think of are
1. The Research Assessment Excercise (RAE) which demands that all lecturers produce four pieces of research every 7 years in order for our institution to get more research money. Also, the quality of our research is measured in large part by the "impact" it has on wider society. This is the only country in Europe (the world?) where we are monitored like this. The fear in anti-intellectual Britains is that if we are not constantly chivvied we may revert to being the useless spongers churning out obscure work that we of course naturally are(!)

2. People constantly thinking I am a useless sponger because I am a lecturer - asking me what I do in my "holidays" when the students aren't there. Teaching is only 50% of my job - I spend the other 50% of the time writing books and articles and going to archives. And I have to fit admin. duties in somewhere too.

Rant over. Can you tell I agree with the OP?!

Tchootnika Mon 12-Sep-11 22:11:59

I think degrees should be quite stretching, actually. I don't think they should equate to financial reward, but I do think they should make demands on the intellect, and I think quite a few don't and that this is a pity.

I completely agree with you, motherinferior.
I think that making degrees easier for students who really don't want to be challenged has to do with lack of state support for universities, though.
Colleges have to get bums on seats, and they have to demonstrate that students are 'progressing'. Necessary, then, apparently, to make degrees 'easier', so as to survive.

(I don't think you're much like Adrian Mole, though, btw...)

TrillianAstra Mon 12-Sep-11 22:13:20

Not the bit of England that I'm in,

<never moving to where you lot live>

LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 12-Sep-11 22:15:31

mother - I agree, I do think this is a pity. But don't think the standard of particular degrees fully explains people's attitudes to degrees in general.

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