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"A Meeting of the Anti-Intellectual Guild"

Peter Paul Rumdens

Always eager to raise a few florins for another drinking bout, Rumdens took a commission to do up the chancellors of Amsterdam's oldest and most revered anti-scholastic organization. Rumdens, a life member, is shown to the right in this painting. Breaking from tradition, he did not charge the organization for this.

The Anti-Intellectual Guild was formed to counter the growing movement toward literacy that was plaguing Holland and the Netherlands during the early 17th century. The widespread popularity of printing was blamed for improved test scores and the rise of newspapers, magazines and paperback books aimed at the working classes, distracting them from their misery and relentless toil.

The Guild sponsored activities like Illiteracy Volunteers, which helped people overcome their reading dependence and return to more uplifting habits like drinking, fighting, superstition and spreading malicious gossip. They also founded the home de-schooling movement, which allowed parents to overcome the effects of public education, and funded the highly successful "Readers Got No Peters" ad campaign to build anti-literacy peer pressure among teenage boys.

Rumdens has depicted the chancellors at one of their favorite pastimes.Whenever one of their inner circle found a printed word he couldn't define he was given a chance to hit Aristotle in the nose with a dart. If he succeeded the company immediately repaired to the nearest bar for a prolonged drinking session. Rumdens reported this to be one of his favorite painting commissions, as he was very bad with words and very good with darts.


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