Things I hate today (High School 'tude edition)

Anonymous... and anyone else who dares to use my comment section to accuse Bryan Adams of being a "Stupid Nerd!"

I don't mind repeating myself, but my readers might mind me repeating myself. Still, by provoking me on the subject of Maltese-Canadian Superstar Bryan Adams, you force me to repost the most utterly manly rock 'n' roll video ever made:

Anyone who plays with a knife and an apple while contemplating a sweet dame, just minutes before their eyes meet suggestively pretty much has staked out his claim on Planet Virile for eternity!

Wave that flag, Bryan. Wave it high!

The hollow concept of Stupid Nerds...
I use the term to indicate a person who acts "weird" in a nerdy way even though he isn't actually unusually smart or intellectual.
Thanks dumbass. In other words, a "Stupid Nerd" is anyone upon whom you looked down in high school, because he reminded you of yourself but got lower grades.

To momentarily join this quibble over definition, I would suggest that by definition, nerd does not actually imply intelligence... rather that a nerd is by definition, stupid, otherwise he or she would not have allowed him or herself to be boxed into the image of a nerd. I mean, isn't the whole point of Real Genius, the definitive work on this subject, that real geniuses don't act like nerds?

Further, the essence of being a nerd is narrow-minded devotion to studies and "book smarts" while in high school, thus describing much more a work ethic (vorwonklichheit) rather than natural talent or ability. This is harder to find nowadays, perhaps because of the excess pressure on kids to become "well-rounded" as part of the college admissions sweepstakes. In other words, yesterday's nerds are now today's humane society helper, food bank manager and liaison to the Wilmington-Huangzhou sister-city project.

Of course, since Somin and Taylor (I got more nauseous wading through Taylor's blog than I did when I saw the most recent Taco Bell commercial) could never quite extract their noses out of their yellowed copies of Atlas Shrugged while in high school, they appear to have missed out on the new philosophical wave that has transformed how we see our students today. It is sad, in fact, that they now find themselves having to revisit their traumatic experiences of high school in order to retroactively define an underclass that they have somehow managed to rise above today. In that sense, to still be talking about "jocks" and "nerds" reveals a certain atrophy, common among Objectivists, of all sense of social aptitude and whatever mysterious gland -- as Bill Richardson would say, "I'm not a scientist!" -- that allows the teenager to mature into adulthood.

Certainly, Multiple Intelligences theory is anathema to the ludicrous disciples of Rand, but, having taught high schoolers, it is a refreshing approach to understanding your students. Obviously, not everyone could be very bright, but almost without fail, those students who obtained the best grades were also popular and talented and often athletically capable. Those students who didn't do all that great were often wildly entertaining conversationalists, talented musicians or phenomenal athletes. While I was not much hung up on my disastrous high school years before teaching, the experience itself has reconciled me, at least in spirit, with many of the folks who I considered dreadful enemies and poseurs at the time.

The high school Objectivist attitude, however, as well as Murray and Co's crusade against Multiple Intelligences theory is founded on the belief that only one indicator of ability is valid, and that consists of some alchemic formula that combines SAT scores with GPA (Let's not enter the IQ debate here). Not only that, but also -- and this is the key to why Rand's disciples are so repugnant -- when this formula results in an equivalence among two people, the person for whom this score is the only thing going for him or her, gets the nod as the true genius, because it is by suffering persecution and marginalization that one truly demonstrates the promise of one's future achievement. The concept of "Nerd" which Somin and Taylor embrace is only valid, after all, as a revenge fantasy against people who have a lot more going for them. Hence, the rich asshole as the pinnacle of success in the "Stupid Nerd" world view.

Delving back into history, however, our friend John Galt is but an imperfect version of the Objectivist Uber-mensch. If Ayn Rand was so deeply in love with Mickey Spillaine it is because she realized, in the end, that Mike Hammer was the ultimate Ayn Rand hero. Which bodes ill for the "Nerds" of this world, because if Mike Hammer sees some sallow high court clerk in spats hanging on to a couple of extra bucks that he could've tipped Thelma at the breakfast buffet at Reeves, he's gonna pistol whip that little worm back into the '50s.

Ilya Somin
I mean, come on... Anybody can be the object of constant ridicule in high school, but it takes a certain degree of ineptitude to be a loser in college. Especially a college full of former high school "nerds"! I mean sure, I got my share of chocolate swirlies in college -- but that's just the natural order of things when you're sharing a bathroom with the rugby team. This kid, though -- its like he had to make up "over 200 footnotes" just to keep him company in his lair.
And the fact that he has clearly attained a degree of success in his chosen career path but still needs to fabricate "Stupid Nerds" to feel better about himself is pathetic.
If anyone out there knows Ilya now, please let me know if he still recites the list of his test scores and all the colleges, grad schools, etcetera that have admitted him upon your first meeting. Thanx!

Trust Fund Scumbags and...
the feelings of inadequacy generated by more successful bloggers reminding me how much younger they are...
I sometimes have the impression that there was a kind of massive savviness shift that came about in the five years after I left college, for which the propagation of the Internet is largely responsible. Whatever it is, I notice that there's a huge network of professional bloggers all in their mid-twenties who seem to just naturally be able to handle the vast amount of information made available by the Web, and who, of course, generally made the decision to take low-paying journalism jobs coming out of college to begin with.
My first regular access to the Internet began in 2000, and I sometimes wonder about the difference in attitude shaped by regular use of the Web in high school and in college.
If one values being read above all else, and, suddenly, the mode of access to readership radically changes only after one's most formative years, the result and required adaptation can overwhelm at times.
In light of this, one of the wonderful aspects of teaching high school is the ability to relive one's past bad decisions through one's students, and to detect in their lives -- and through one's investment in their development -- the great promise that the future holds.

To return to the bloggers themselves, though, this generation gap finally explains to me why there appears to be a consensus in the wonk community that Jay-Z is the greatest rapper of all time.

Lebron James
It has dawned on me over the course of the NBA Playoffs that Lebron James has become unbearable. First there was the whole "I'm Jay-Z, Deshawn's Soulja Boy" flap. Then there's the gripes about every foul, and the expectation that he should be getting a Jordan call every time the ball leaves his hands. Then, there's his ridiculous rip-off of KG's awesome chalk ritual at the start of every game to show that he's just another pumped superstar. Not to mention, of course, his noxious disrespect for his mother.

For one, this suggests that Lebron takes himself waaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously. (I'm sorry, but when you're blessed with Gilbert and his wackiness, Lebron's attitude just seems totally out of place.) But the greater problem I have, is that it seems that Lebron is the first NBA superstar with no authentic bone in his body.

You will tell me, "Wait a minute, that was Kobe "bruised ribs" Bryant!" But, the thing is, Kobe at least is transparent in his attempt to model his game entirely upon Jordan's.

Lebron, just seems to have taken every solemn, Waltonesque cliche about "what makes an NBA superstar" and applied it to himself in the third person. I think the moment when I realized this was when, after dishing to Deltone "Does my face have a third dimension?" West for the game winning three in Game 4 against the Wizards, Lebron went on in his post-game interview to talk about (to paraphrase) "This is really Delonte's moment. He should have a lot of confidence that I trusted him to make the shot." There was, in his bizarre elaboration on how Delonte should feel great that Lebron trusts him, the element of Lebron writing the media's story for it. It was as if, not sure whether the media would pick up on the specific, "Lebron makes his teammates better storyline" he felt the need to underscore the point.

In any case, this moment has stuck with me and now defines my view of Lebron.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more - those posts by that cess-pool of arrogant assholes was the most juvenile thing I've ever seen in my life. Especially that person (Mary-Kay what's her name...sorry, I'm not good at remembering names) talking about Asperger Syndrome as being categorized in the "stupid nerd" group. That cannot be further from the truth...many people with Asperger's are actually brilliant and most are academically-gifted. Most of them just don't perform as well on standardized tests because they analyze things on a much more abstract level than those tests convey. Besides, standardized tests are not an accurate assessment of one's intelligence; they just test how well you memorize facts and how well you test under pressure. It is widely known that they have been proven by clinical studies to be poor indicators of intelligence.

But the crux of my anger is that these people are arrogant assholes who should not even be posting things like this, and the reason that they do is that they are arrogant scumbags who have absolutely no life, have a poor understanding of the conditions they ignorantly bash; such as autism or this high-functioning variety known as Asperger's, which I am entirely convinced, being a researcher in the field of psychology myself, is being used as a fabrication by the psychiatric industry to con susceptible people into thinking there's something wrong with them, when there isn't. Many of the people I have met with Asperger's actually turned out to be misdiagnosed; they were, in actuality, ADHD and happened to have some of the characteristics of AS, which they later outgrew. In these people, the obsessive interests and impulsive characteristics they had merely resembled that of Asperger's because of coincidence; they just happened to have developed slightly differently (but we all develop differently). So what was falsely attributed to AS was in fact just a behavioral set of characteristics that was later outgrown. These people were also well-adjusted socially, could read non-verbal cues, and could read people's intentionalities most of the time. They also could understand and express emotions, and had a strong sense of empathy. They were very good at relating to people as well. Many of them were also athletic and had good fine and gross-motor coordination (which is not usually found in autistic people). So I highly suspect that they were merely misdiagnosed with a condition that is overdiagnosed to begin with. Therefore, I think that the psychiatric practice has flawed methodologies that need reform. I also think that AS should not be distinct from high-functioning autism, as there is no such thing as AS manifesting itself merely behaviorally; severe developmental delays and cognitive impairments in many areas (whether it be reading disabilities or discalculia, which are common with certain people with autism) have to be part of the disorder too in order to be diagnosed with an autistic-spectrum disorder. So AS should really be considered High-Functioning Autism, and those people who are merely quirky and exhibit commonalities (due to individual personality/disposition and not some severe alteration in development) w AS, but without the autistic characteristics should be discounted altogether from diagnosis.

As for those dim-witted, arrogant, myopic, dilletantes who are infinitely stupid, yet posturing as intelligent...let it be known that they should be banished from the blogosphere and from the face of the earth. Because they may have sailed their way through life by cheating their way through it through their posturing, cheating, and ass-kissing, but they will be punished for their prejudices. They are in a disgusting, ignorant denial of the fact that it is they who are on the bottom-rung of society; they are the bottom-feeders of humanity, the detritus of society, and scum of the earth. Mary Katherine and all her stupid acolytes, as well as the person who created that stupid post to begin with, will be punished for their prejudices.

Let me state as an addendum and as a matter of fact that I know from reading your blogs that you and I are far more intelligent than they are, and far more superior than they can ever aspire to be. I have an IQ of 150 and am part of MENSA, but I am also a decent human being, unlike these scumbags. But I will also acknowledge that some of the most brilliant people in the world (Albert Einstein, Issac Newton, Mark Twain, and even G.K. Chesterton) were considered "slow" and stupid in their youth. But this is because society and the education system are a poor indicator of intelligence. Society cannot judge a person accurately, and no tests can assess the magnitude of his brilliance and the extent of his capabilities. Genius cannot be quantified; for it exists on a level far beyond that of calculation, and only the most abstract and brilliant of minds can reach it.

My apologies for being so lengthy. Will aim for succinctness in the future.

~ Lauren