Before the information revolution, writers and thinkers like John Dewey and Albert Einstein not only worked in their fields of study but also weighed in on the political, cultural and social issues of their time. City Weekly asked Kobe Cohen, visiting Salt Lake City from Oklahoma City, Okla., if there are any public intellectuals in our day and what role they play in public discourse:
We are bombarded with information now, which everyone—if they want to—can get their hands on. This is a good thing. The problem is, there’s just so much information that people usually aren’t able to name any public figures like they used to. Everyone has an opinion, and they can spew their thoughts out every day of the week. But the public can hardly tell which opinions are informed and which are poppycock.