The Prodigy and the Press: William James Sidis, Anti-Intellectualism, and Standards of Success

  title={The Prodigy and the Press: William James Sidis, Anti-Intellectualism, and Standards of Success},
  author={Stephen Bates},
  journal={Journalism \& Mass Communication Quarterly},
  pages={374 - 397}
  • S. Bates
  • Published 1 June 2011
  • Sociology
  • Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
William James Sidis was a reclusive former child prodigy whom the New Yorker found in 1937 and mocked as an eccentric failure. Sidis sued the magazine, leading to one of America's landmark rulings on invasion of privacy. Analyzing themes in the New Yorker article and other news coverage of Sidis, this study finds both anti-intellectualism, including disparagement of Sidis's masculinity, and deference to psychological experts. Some coverage also indicates that the press sought to impose a… Expand
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