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How the Internet is changing the definition of what it means to be a public intellectual

by AirTalk®

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A copy of George Orwell's novel '1984' is displayed at The Last Bookstore on January 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Once upon a time there were people in the public eye who used their personal philosophies to write about a range of topics affecting the world.

Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Mary Midgley, Isaiah Berlin...the list goes go on and on - but it starts to thin out the closer you get to modern day. So what happened to the public intellectual?

Daniel W. Drezner’s new book “The Ideas Industry” investigates the modern shift away from an “intellectual scene” and a new trend in what he calls “thought leaders” - people with big ideas on a certain topic, the kinds of people on a TED Talk stage. What caused this shift? And how does it impact how our society filters information? Do we need “great thinkers” for this generation?


Daniel W. Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts University in Massachusetts, and Washington Post contributor; he is author of the book, "The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans and Plutocrats are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas" (Oxford University Press, 2017)

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