In August, commenting on a post of mine -- Exploring the mind ..., Melville Goodwin cited Joseph Epstein as a worthy, contemporary counterpart to Montaigne. In last week's edition of The Weekly Standard, Epstein had a piece titled "The Culture of Celebrity" that goes a long way to support Melville's claim. A key paragraph:
Far from being devoted to ideas for their own sake, the intellectual equivalent of art for art's sake, the so-called public intellectual of our day is usually someone who comments on what is in the news, in the hope of affecting policy, or events, or opinion in line with his own political position, or orientation. He isn't necessarily an intellectual at all, but merely someone who has read a few books, mastered a style, a jargon, and a maven's authoritative tone, and has a clearly demarcated political line.
But, as Glenn Reynolds would say, read the whole thing. (Hats off to the indispensible Arts & Letters Daily.