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Caroline Hartmann: Death of the intellectual

Joe The Plumber seems like a nice guy. He’s easy to talk to and he probably doesn’t ask too many questions (not that he knows what he’s talking about when he does). But he isn’t just a rhetorical icon designed by clever speech writers to win your vote; he represents something much graver for this country: the death of the intellectual. Sure, he’s a handy guy you’d like to have a beer with, but what the hell would you talk to him about? Don’t worry, this isn’t an attack on the service industries of America. And to be fair, Joe sparked a media frenzy worth giving credit to — but why? What made this character such a ubiquitous image in politics and pop culture practically overnight?