Hannah Arendt Public Intellectuals

Powerful Essays
Public Intellectuals and Impassioned Publics

The 2012 film Hannah Arendt depicts the struggle between passion and reason. Hannah Arendt’s safety is directly threatened because of her articles on the trial of Adolf Eichmann. The public saw her stance as being too sympathetic to Eichmann, since she describes him as ordinary and mediocre. The impassioned belief that Eichmann must be an evil, scary monster was not affirmed in her writing. Due to this, the public lashed out against her. The mentality was: if you don’t believe that Eichmann was a terrible, evil person, then you must be sympathizing with the Nazis, and thereby disowning your Jewish community. This stance was very understandable, due to the still-reeling public after the atrocities
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This hatred and admiration from different impassioned publics occurs simultaneously and separately. Every statement from public intellectuals is qualified through the beliefs and value spheres of these impassioned publics, and thus every statement made by intellectuals either helps further their ideas, or is against them and seen as wrong. Twitter and other social media outlets broadly show that the kinds of messages Hannah Arendt was receiving is not exclusive to her time or her situation. Public intellectuals receive death threats, hate-filled messages, angry rants, and general condescension from impassioned publics for all to see on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. Any comment made online can receive backlash because there are so many impassioned publics on any imaginable issue. Impassioned publics often instigate altercations with public intellectuals so that their public’s views can be spread to the large audience of internet-connected people. The altercation usually does nothing to resolve the conflict in question, but instead brings attention to the fact that there is a passionate group of people with different beliefs than the public intellectual. Then, the altercation itself can be commented upon and argued about. This type of altercation does not only occur regarding political statements, but also opinions on art, society, and
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