"Between Ugug and Einstein stretches a long line of intellectuals, great and small, able to supply nothing but ideas. These ideas, however, make everything else possible--including attacks on intellectuals, for these very attacks depend on a series of ideas dreamed up by such visionaries as the inventors of the alphabet or those 19th-Century lunatics who worked out the equations that have made radio and television possible. In a way the rest of us, no matter how industrious or transiently used, are parasites living luxuriously on the work of a handful of superior minds."
A Lover of Puns
Fadiman also is a lover of puns, which he calls "the rhymes that try men's souls." In an essay, "Small Excellencies," he noted: "In 'Animal Crackers,' Groucho Marx recalled that when shooting elephants in Africa he found the tusks very difficult to remove--adding, however, that in Alabama the Tuscaloosa. To the contrapuntalist such a statement is quite irrelevant; to the propunent it is pleasing because it shows what language can produce under pressure, in this case showing both the marks of strain and the strain of Marx."
Fadiman continued: "Once on the television show 'This is Show Business,' George S. Kaufman got himself mired in the word euphemism. After playing with it for a few seconds he turned to his fellow panelist Sam Levenson, declared, 'Euphemism and I'm for youse'm,' and closed the discussion."