After this piece, on the “open secret” about Donald Trump (and the Congressional Republicans) that Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury revealed; and then this one, on the way people whom the world views as “like, very smart” tend to describe themselves; and then this one, on whether Trump’s history-agnostic “shake things up!” approach might bring rewards, I’ve received scores of interesting messages. For extraneous deadline and editing reasons, I’m not likely to be able to do anything with them until the end of next week, around January 20.
This is a placeholder note of thanks until then, and an announcement of an intention to choose at that point from them a sampling of ones whose insights have survived the news cycle.
And for the moment, two brief samples of material that has arrived.
First a “party girls” hypothesis on why Trump might be going out of his way to say “I’m actually smart”:
I agree with you in general that geniuses, or people who are skilled in some way, or even people who have certain personality traits, never really need to go around saying they are XYZ.
However, I do think there might be an exception for when outsiders or "enemies," or what have you, challenge those traits.
For example, there's a girl who I often tease as a "party girl" even though she insists she doesn't party a lot or isn't wild like some of her friends think she is. She constantly tells me that she is well-behaved and that she is good, when I tease her. My response is always that "good girls or well-behaved girls don't need to tell people that they are well-behaved. People just know." Of course, I am joking with her about being a party girl, but I can see why if someone has an inaccurate perception of you, you might strongly protest.
So, I suppose if someone is constantly ragging on your intelligence or your curiosity, you might protest. Or challenge people to an IQ showdown. I personally think that's childish, but then again, I don't have people challenging my intelligence left and right. (This is not me saying that I am a genius, just that nobody calls me the opposite.)
So yea, I guess my bottom line is that if someone is challenged on character trait XYZ, then maybe that someone might feel compelled to defend themselves constantly.