Arsene Wenger: public intellectual

February 27, 2008


Word reaches me that Prospect magazine are inviting submissions from prominent types for their second Global Intellectuals Poll. The last one, in 2005, had Noam Chomsky, Umberto Eco and Richard Dawkins in the medal positions.

Not being one of the prominent types in question, I haven’t been asked to give my recommendations. Were I to be though, I would only have one man in mind. Our most important living public intellectual is clearly Arsene Wenger.

Think about it – he’s got it all:
– As thoughtful as Sen.
– As witty as Hitchens.
– As iconoclastic as Dawkins.
– The broad appeal of Chomsky.
– The patriotism of Havel.
– The ability to stir up a shit load of fuss of Rowan Williams.
He’s got that turns-out-he-was-right-after-all thing the best intellectuals always have. And he’s probably given more to public life than the rest of them put together.

ps. This is not – heaven forbid – an Arsenal thing. I say this as a Spurs fan. We can afford to be magnanimous these days.