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Taylor Olson
Mr. Hamilton
AP Language and Composition
30 September 2015
Anti-Intellectualism: Why We Hate the Smart Kids Evaluation
Grant Penrods essay, Anti-Intellectualism: Why We Hate the Smart Kids, was written
for his college language and composition class in 2003. In the essay, Penrod states that antiintellectualism is on the rise. He explains about this arising crisis by using examples from
multiple different sources, stating the extent of the issue. Through these examples, Penrod
creates pathos by illustrating what so-called nerds have to deal with. Besides the facts,
Penrods ethos clearly shows the significance of the issue, putting it in perspective of the average
person. While Penrods essay is very effective in its terms, it has a few flaws. While the
examples do show the extent of the issue they are not from the most credible sources and
sometimes are not appropriate in the context. The issues states are fairly minor but really hold the
essay back in the fact of effectiveness.
Penrods examples are different but prove to be effective in multiple ways. Penrod quotes
one user that goes by the screen name ArCaNe from the website talkingcock.com, an online
anonymous forum board. ArCaNe exclaims his hate to nerds and goes as far as to talking about
having a tommy gun and blow[ing] each one of their heads off. This example normally
would be ineffective in the context but, the forum board is anonymous so this quote reflects the
poster on a much more personal level than if it were something posted on a public social media
account. Penrod repeats this type of example later quoting Dan6erous and is effective once
again due to the anonymity, proving that this is not just one single person from an anonymous

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forum board posting about hate to nerds. Finally, Penrod uses celebrity dropouts such as
Christina Aguilera, Sammy Sosa, Kid Rock, and even George Bush to display the origin of antiintellectualism in most people. He explains that intellectualism loses the respect that its rigor
would otherwise tend to earn it, because people see dropouts that have become so successful
due to other reasons than intellectualism. The use of examples like these could be seen as
ineffective until the smaller details are realized making them effective.
Through the examples in the text, Penrod incorporates a good amount of pathos into each
example for the audience to sympathize with the intellectuals. The example from ArCaNe
shows the extreme side of this anti-intellectualism, the statement that he makes about shooting
nerds with a tommy gun is inappropriate to both intellectuals and athletes alike. Nobody
deserves to be treated like that or even threatened like that especially for just being smarter than
a peer. Readers can sympathize with intellectuals for how they are mistreated and scold athletes
for speaking of such horrific things. In comparison, readers can again feel sympathy for
intellectuals after Dan6erous mocks geeks for getting a 1600 on an SAT or being in all AP
classes. Essentially it follows the same rules of the previous example in a much calmer, less
violent manner. Finally, readers can emphasize with intellectuals with the first example Penrod
opens with. Penrod illustrates that the football team won state last year and it was accompanied
by, banners, assemblies, and even video announcements in their honor, but then goes on to
state that the Science Bowl Team, the Speech and Debate Team, and the Decathlon team had
achieved the same rank and were recognized ten minutes in total at the beginning of a sports
assembly. Readers may have had similar experiences in their own schools and can emphasize
with intellectuals or the readers may have heard many stories akin to these allowing them to

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sympathize with Penrod and intellectuals. Through the examples, Penrod makes it easy for
people to feel similar pain, or at least see this pain, due to his effective pathos through examples.
Between all the logos and pathos, Penrod manages to maintain great ethos throughout
nearly all of the essay. Throughout the essay, Penrod uses intellectual language using words such
as veritable cornucopia, unbeknownst, and academias proponents. The transitions
between paragraphs and examples are very smooth. The essay is guided by the use of his
transitions so the reader is never left wondering why the tone switched or how the current
argument applies to previous ones. Finally, Penrods ethos is most solidified by the fact that he
has witnessed this first-hand as stated with the first example with which he also opens with. This
opener explains how sports teams got more recognition than academic teams did but, the school
being described is Penrods own school. This can be deciphered from the point of view he uses
while speaking about Arizona State University. After Penrod points out his own schools antiintellectualism, he begins to find other examples of anti-intellectualism while also
acknowledging opposing view of anti-intellectualism, all strengthening his own ethos. His strong
diction and good transitions shows that he has done his research and put quite some time into this
essay. Secondly, Penrod experiencing anti-intellectualism first-hand gives him the benefit of the
doubt since he knows more than the average person without even researching other examples.
Without Penrods ethos, the essay would not be effective due to the sheer amount of credibility
he has throughout.
Even though the examples pulled are useful because of the anonymity there is still only 2
of them and they could still be from most trusted sources. An intellectual paper quoting people
like Dan6erous or ArCaNe may not be the best examples. In contrast, since it is anonymous,
people are more free to say whats on their mind so they will most likely speak differently than in

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public so they would have a different name than they would in public also to remain anonymous.
Secondly, the poem and the placement at the end of the essay was ineffective for a few reasons.
First, the poem has misspelled words, most likely on purpose but still not fitting in the
environment. Second, the poem just feels tacked on last second to the end, very little context.
Finally, the poem hurts his ethos due to the fact that he did not close his essay with his own
words. The essay would have been more effective if Penrod had found different usernames at the
least and closed with his own words.
With all of the pieces together, Grant Penrods argument that anti-intellectualism is rising
in Anti-Intellectualism: Why We Hate the Smart Kids is effective. The minor misuse of a poem
is not enough to deteriorate the argument created within the other six paragraphs. The different
sources and examples of logos gives raw evidence of the situation. In comparison, the examples
also create pathos to the reader to make them want to sympathize with intellectuals. Lastly,
Penrods ethos gives a more down-to-earth glimpse into the situation at hand. Penrods argument
that anti-intellectualism is rising is effective due to good examples, pathos created from
examples, and ethos shown by Penrod himself.

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