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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 42

An Open Mind

The making of a modern public intellectual.
Words by Rachel Connolly. Photograph by Oliver Mayhall.

Obvious self-promotion feels tawdry. This is especially true in the age of social media, when constantly marketing ourselves (to whom, exactly?) has become so easy, addictive and sophisticated. 

This is what makes the concept of a public intellectual contradictory. Too many TV and radio appearances; the churning pressure of a weekly column (bound to consist, partly, of mundane meditations); tweeting too much or in a way that tries too hard to be funny; going on a comedy quiz show. All of these things risk denigrating the standing of an intellectual and transforming them, in the public imagination, into the sort of person whose career has “pop” as


This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Two

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