Too Smart To Understand

Here is a meme I would very much like to see die forever. I’ll be reading book reviews and come across people gushing about how great the book was — and they know it’s great because they couldn’t understand any of it.

In “Greatly Exaggerated” he is so fucking smart that I couldn’t even read the essay, because I am not, and never will be, his intellectual equal.

—from a review of A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments

So many 5 star reviews describe a book as incomprehensible.

I want to shake them. You’ve been tricked! Intelligence isn’t about hiding your ideas in an impenetrable shroud! It’s about laying insights bare so that anyone can understand them. Great writing is a combination of interdisciplinary mastery and clarity.

Where do people get this notion of intelligence-as-obfuscation from, anyways?

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