Is Michael Mann not then an "intellectual?"
I believe my definition of an intellectual is more accurate: "An intellectual is a person who is an expert at finding excuses for telling other people what to do."
I've always liked Wolfe's commentaries.... I'll have to read _Bonfire someday (unless someone with many titles on his reader can suggest a better title).
I do like his take: I've looked at this same problem from Boorstin's point of view, typically, but that's back when those of intellectual achievement stuck to their guns and still employed a bit of humility. I guess in the age of celebrity and 24/7 media barrage, even the intellectual has felt the need to "up" his game/image/status!
"The hero was distinguished by his achievement; the celebrity by his image or trademark. The hero created himself; the celebrity is created by the media. The hero was a big man; the celebrity is a big name." -- Daniel J. Boorstin
Wolfe's statement supports the argument from authority fallacy, suggesting that one should not speak out in fields other than those where his expertise is relevant.
Bonfire is great as is "I Am Charlotte Simmons." Before I abandoned Conservatism, t'was included on my list of the (exactly) five conservative novels of all time.
I'm going to defend the quote by highlighting the term "only." The intellectuals chided use their authority by expecting t to transfer into every field.