Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Egghead was a term invented by a Blockhead

When Isaac Asimov first started writing science essays for the magazines, he wrote straightforward articles - as you can see if you check out his first science anthology book, Only a Trillion (featuring essays from Amazing and other magazines), and his first Fantasy and Science Fiction essay anthology, Fact and Fancy. By his second year as a regular contributor to F&SF (1960), he had taken to starting each essay wtih a couple of paragraphs of personal anecdtote - and he kept to that ever since, and its one of the things that make people like his essays so much.

In "Battle of the Eggheads", published in July 1959, Asimov makes it clear what he thinks of people who refer to intelligent people in derogatory ways:

"After the Soviet Union placed Sputnik I in orbit on October 4, 1957, the egghead (to use a term invented by a blockhead) gained a sudden, unaccustomed respect. Suddenly everyone was viewing American anti-intellectualism with wild alarm."

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