Well, I’m basically a literary and philosophical humanist myself, not a journalist or scholar or expert of any kind, so I do personally regret that people like me don’t have and never again will have the cultural authority that the New York intellectuals had. But history has moved on, and there’s still a place, after all, for us humanists to practice the honorable activity of applying the really matchless moral resources of literature and the philosophical tradition to criticizing society and culture. Still, the work on the front lines now needs to be done by others, the investigative journalists and maverick scholars, people who can do deep reporting or­­­­­­­­ work in the archives. Those are activities that classical public intellectuals—Bourne, Russell, Camus, Sartre, Silone, Nicola Chiaromonte—didn’t have the time or the temperament for. So even though I personally will never be a Glenn Greenwald or a Noam Chomsky, I’m supremely grateful to them. They’re doing what I think needs above all to be done. Cultivating and expounding the humanities will always be essential to the moral health of society. But politically speaking, the literary intellectual is now a kind of auxiliary

George Scialabba. Someday I’ll find time to explain why I don’t agree.