Public Intellectualism 101

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Florida Atlantic University has created a new doctoral program for “public intellectuals” designed to turn out a steady stream of prognosticators, cultural critics, and otherwise sharp-witted pundits with an eye toward signing on with The McLaughlin Group or The New York Times op-ed page. But as Tom Scocca explains in Lingua Franca (March 1999), you don't need to be too heady to apply. The degree, he says, “is defined in terms of the recipient's ambitions, not his or her knowledge.”