Hey, what are you wasting your time here for? Pop on over to Reality Based Community and listen to Keith Humphreys remember Dr. Omphalos. It's a tale almost canonical in structure and content and yet when I try to pick it apart, I am puzzled. In my experience (fairly long) most academics are pretty insecure, hungry for approval, contemptuous of so much of the approval they get, always listening to the little bird on the shoulder that says "you know, you really ought to be back in Poughkeepsie scraping gum off the bottom of bus seats." And yet our profession is structured so as to engender monsters of vain self-conceit. We talk, they take notes: the wonder is not that there are so many blowhards in academic life, but that there are so few.
On second thought, I suppose these two stories can be woven together. It's precisely because so many of us are so needy (affectionwise) that we are so stung by displays of dismissive pomposity among our betters. One thing is clear: it's hard to imagine a profession so rich in opportunities to generate a lifetime of animosity among people of whose very existence we are scarcely aware.