From a story in today's Japan Times print newspaper titled "America is one of the few cultures with insults for smart people," by editorial cartoonist, columnist and author Ted Rall.
Language and the cultures that speak them
Languages tend to evolve to reflect the cultural and practical priorities of the societies that speak them.
You can tell a lot about a culture from its language. I had stumbled across a revealing peculiarity about American English: We insult people for being intelligent.
Europeans make fun of dumb people. Americans elect them to high office.
Scientific geniuses like the late Stephen Hawking are framed as cultural curiosities to marvel over rather than heroes to be emulated as are football players, rappers and movie stars (specifically buff men who act in action movies).
One can reasonably argue over which country, the U.S. or France, is superior in various respects. But how, as we transition to an information-based economy, can we doubt that elevating intelligence as a social-cultural ideal is, well, smarter than elevating buffoons?