Re: I'll Ask The Mineshaft Myself

1

The people who are setting you up, are they your friends?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
2

there's only so much "just didn't click" "not really my type" dodging you can do.

There is?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
3

there's only so much "just didn't click" "not really my type" dodging you can do.

There is?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
4

There is?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
5

There is, Sifu. There is.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
6

How are you judging mental whateverness?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
7

Maybe Ogged needs to start with the man in the mirror.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
8

Family set-ups are cursed. My parents keep trying to set me up with dudes from their church, who are, every blasted one of them, either meatheads who take quotations from Chris Farley movies for wit, or guys who seem to have learned their socialization by memorizing a single question or phrase and repeating it over and over. ("So what kind of music do you listen to?" etc.)

My friends are even worse. They just set me up with guys who they think I could "fix." I tell them, "I don't do volunteer work."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
9

They just set me up with guys who they think I could "fix." I tell them, "I don't do volunteer work."

Well, maybe they're willing to pay.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
10

Ogged, I have a solution to your problem: Go hang out on your nearest university campus. Ask the Dean if he/she can give you a list of the female students who have a high GPA in fields that you are interested in (if you're anything like me, students in management and finance need not apply.) Then you can cut the list down to students over the age of 21 (so that you can share some sherry without breaking any laws). Then, all you have to do is wooo them into being yours. (brush up on your poetry for the English lit students, Your ancient philosophy for the political theory students, etc etc...)

And if the Dean doesn't comply, you're screwed. Sorry.


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
11

I have nothing helpful to contribute, except to say that the only people I know who have tried to communicate this concept directly have ended up being very, very hurtful. (Example: Breaking up with the person you're dating by saying "I really need to be with someone who is an M.D. or Ph.D." Exact quote, I am sad to say.) You won't fall into this category, so I guess the only value is in pointing out that some things seem to be intrinsically hard to communicate to non-intimates.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
12

And yet we make fun of people who advertise being Mensa members in their personal ads.

But I'm sort of surprised this is a consistent problem. Family, eh, but your friends, presumably, are fairly clever or they wouldn't be friends. What are they doing setting you up with women who aren't?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
13

Perhaps they're not necessarily "as smart" about the same things that you think you are smart about, but I think Socrates had something to say about how smart we are about the things that we are smart about.

On the other hand...

"Yeah, she was hot and, of course, totally warm for my form, but just too stupid for me," he told himself, sorting his blue socks from his black socks by the light of his refrigerator one Saturday evening. "I need a woman of infinite resource and sagacity. Who wears a C cup or better."

I wish I could claim not to have thought something very similar from time to time, but I've come reluctantly to the conclusion that no woman worth having would be interested.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
14

I'm thinking that maybe you are not as smart as I thought you were.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
15

But I'm sort of surprised this is a consistent problem. Family, eh, but your friends, presumably, are fairly clever or they wouldn't be friends. What are they doing setting you up with women who aren't?

I'm not surprised. Most of my life is unlike Unfogged conversations.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
16

It's weird, but the one time I had an ongoing relationship with a guy who wasn't very smart, and I kept trying to explain that it was a problem, everyone said, "Oh, now, I'm sure he's less book-smart than you, but he's surely extremely intelligent in his own way." And I kept insisting, no, actually, he wasn't very smart. He wasn't even particularly curious about the world or clever. But he was sort of charming, and I guess people felt that my wanting something more than that was cruel.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
17

I guess I know what you mean, Ogged. But to some extent I've gotten over it with a very affectionate friendship-type girlfriend. She's clever, but we definitely don't have the sort of nerdy asides galore conversations that dominated my previous relationships.

Of course, we're also in a relationship like that mentioned in the post below this one, which probably is difficult for ready-to-marry oldsters like yourself.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
18

Surely we can work around this. You say to Yente, "you know, thanks for introducing me to Bimbina Q. Witless, and I'm a little sorry we didn't hit it off, because she has really nice [eyes]. I think maybe I really do better with wo/men who share my taste in [opera]."

That doesn't work? I mean, dude, I used to have endless discussions with friends about one's "type."


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
19

I know exactly how you feel. My problem is that my head is always turned by the really beautiful ones and that never works out well. In addition to apptitude I find shared interest important. If they are a genius in some subjects but don't know anything about anything I want to talk about it doesn't do much good for conversation. I am absolutely starved for intellectually stimulating company. I have lost all hope actually. The closest I've gotten is people who I think might understand me when I talk- at least they don't ask stupid questions that indicate that they don't understand.


Posted by: Samsara | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
20

This sounds like a good premise for a romantic comedy to me. The love interest could maybe be a woman who's grown accustomed to playing dumb to appeal to men and you could both learn how to love again. The pivotal scene would feature the woman putting on her glasses to reveal her hidden beauty.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
21

What are they doing setting you up with women who aren't?

A fine question. Although my friends have tried to do little setting up. More family and extended circle of acquaintances.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
22

I know this is the harsh-on-Ogged blog, but this part from his post is really true:

It's very hard to relax

It IS. I've been on both sides of dates like that, and it's absolutely exhausting.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
23

but you feel my pain, right homies?

No. If you're so much smarter, you figure out how to make to make the experience and relationship enjoyable for the both of ya. You are not diminished by talking about Farrelly Bros movies rather than Godard, you are increased.

Joyce & Nora vs Tom & Viv or Scott & Zelda. I am not telling anyone who to love, but I do think retaining the capability is a necessity.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
24

have you tried being stupider?


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
25

You should sign up for one of those ridiculous college based dating services.

The eHarmony guy has your back too:

A couple needs to be within one standard deviation of each other in intelligence (10 points in either direction). --Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony.com and creator of a questionnaire that attempts to match couples


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
26

24 rules.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
27

I've been on both sides of dates like that, and it's absolutely exhausting.

Agreed.

It really is a lot more fun being with someone whose brain operates on a similar level.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
28

have you tried being stupider?

This takes up most of my energy nowadays.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
29

Joyce & Nora vs Tom & Viv or Scott & Zelda

Itchy & Scratchy.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
30

21: Maybe your family--knowing you better than even your friends--has a different estimation of your intelligence. Or both sets--family and close friends--are doing the best they can, but no one who meets the intelligence test meets other known requirements.

(I cannot believe that the first 20 comments weren't straight hammering. Pathetic.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
31

well, i'm just trying to approach it from a practical standpoint.

you could go to jupiter, for instance.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
32

The problem with dating "dumb" people is a real one; I agree with O here. You speak in your normal register and they accuse you of being high-falutin. You try to talk in a way you hope they'll find less insulting and they accuse you of being condescending. You apply critical thought to a topic and they think you're being "negative," and you use any rhetorical skill and you're being "manipulative."

It's funny; I talk to average 18-year-olds all the time and they never accuse me of being high-falutin, negative, condescending, or manipulative. Why is it that a 35-year-old man can't be around me without being insulted by everything I say?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
33

Ogged:

My assistant is single, smart, pretty, and young (25). Interested?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
34

23: Nah, if you're not good at it, it's not going to work. I freeze up and get insecure around people who I think aren't all that bright, because I'm horribly afraid of being condescending or cruel. I can have a good time doing stuff together, but I can't talk, and dating someone you can't talk to sucks.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
35

32.1 is the truest thing AWB has ever written on this blog.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
36

33: And 3000 miles from Oggedville?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
37

Data point for discussion:

I have just recalled Tennessee [Williams]'s aversion to sex with other writers or, indeed, with intellectuals of any kind. "It is most disturbing to think that the head beside you on the pillow might be thinking, too," said the Bird [Williams].

(This is Gore Vidal, in Palimpsest.)


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
38

32: Body language says so much.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
39

32--
because the 18-year olds are used to your being their teacher, and the 35 year olds aren't?

probably not. i'd just say you've run into a string of dolts.

oh, and agreed with lb about 23. that's a great world-view, bob, but it's almost as naive and romantic as the open-marriage, no jealousy, rational relationship stuff being discussed on the other thread.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
40

Are we talking 'dumb', or are we talking 'lots of silly first date pageantry'? Presumably ogged's friends and family are setting him up with college-educated women. Another way to ask this is whether we are in 'just mention Wodehouse and my pants will fall off' territory here.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
41

I feel you on this, Ogged.

I went out on just such a date on Sunday. But I think - at least in my case - couching it as a question of intelligence doesn't quite catch it. This particular young lady is pursuing a masters at a respectable nearby college, so no one could call her "dumb". But she had absolutely no curiosity whatsoever, which meant that the only momentum to the conversation was what I forced into it.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
42

Because remember, college education equals smart!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
43

40--

wait, what territory?

can you direct me to that territory? sounds extremely interesting.
for cheap laughs, if nothing else.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
44

The problem with dating "dumb" people is a real one; I agree with O here. You speak in your normal register and they accuse you of being high-falutin. You try to talk in a way you hope they'll find less insulting and they accuse you of being condescending.

I am on the borderline of having this problem, in my relationship and this thread is making me uneasy. As though I won't be able to enjoy the relationship in the long run.


Posted by: Lincoln | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
45

Yeah, degrees has nothing to do with it. At least half of my PhD cohort is about as witty as "Superman on a hot dog." Dull as death, that crew, GRE scores notwithstanding.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
46

ut I think - at least in my case - couching it as a question of intelligence doesn't quite catch it.

Mike d is clearly right. I can see what ogged's getting at, but he has mis-described this issue. Which makes me question his evaluation of his own intelligence. (Does anyone else remember how this blog is supposed to work?)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
47

Because remember, college education equals smart!

Isn't that why you're getting one? the instant smartness?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
48

I don't mean "well-read," Cala, because lord knows I'm not. I can't believe that you don't know what I mean, and I don't want to say "this, that and the other thing" because then we'll get into "that's not really intelligence, as such...."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
49

And 3000 miles from Oggedville?

Hey, that's on the right coast for some of us.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
50

And 3000 miles from Oggedville?

I thought that would be an attractive feature.

As far as AWB, I agree with Kid.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
51

47: it's so I can date ogged.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
52

40, 41: I'm identifying with this problem, so maybe this is me rather than Ogged, but I'd say 'dumb' isn't so much the issue as 'unintellectual', with 'intellectual' defined not as educated in any particular dimension, but just someone who thinks about stuff recreationally. (Man, is it hard talking about this without sounding like a snot. I was simultaneously sympathizing with the no-pants-Wodehouse kid, and thinking he was a complete jerk, on the basis of the exact same sentences.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
53

Mike d is clearly right

I must be the only one going "and he's about to get money."


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
54

I'm not surprised. Most of my life is unlike Unfogged conversations.

Heebie is just weird.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
55

33:
How much are you asking for her?


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
56

Slol, I've waited three years to say that.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
57

then we'll get into "that's not really intelligence, as such...."

What ogged is trying to say is, he can only date white people.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
58

44: I don't think a relationship that's a poor match on this axis is doomed -- I see lots of them, and some look happy. They're weird to me -- I wouldn't want one like that for myself -- but that doesn't mean there's anything that can't work about them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
59

20: Or the guy could start working on a crossword puzzle, get stuck, and then watch in shock as she finishes it for him.

Or she could claim to have a job as a receptionist and then he could hear that she's just won the Nobel Prize for chemistry.

Wow, this is fun!


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
60

Smart people are so fast. They're just fast, and then you can go on to the next thought without waiting. Sometimes, they're ahead!

And no one resents you, and you don't have to simultaneously do the work of assessing their context and understanding and shaping what you're going to say. It is so nice to be around.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
61

couching it as a question of intelligence doesn't quite catch it.

It depends on how you're defining intelligence. "Mental whateverness" is actually a helpful way to signal that it's kind of the Oliver Wendall Holmes standard.

It's very hard for me to spend serious amounts of time with a friend or romantic partner who has no curiosity about the world, as mentioned upthread. On the other hand, formal education is at best a very rough proxy for intelligence.

(Some people are very interested in dating credentials. I believe Apo (Becks?) posted a charming note from a gentleman of this persuasion last week.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
62

Most of the dolts I've dated have not been sensitive about cleverness gaps, by the way. I actually don't have some kind of absolute IQ standard. But people who are fun and/or funny are good. I've just dated two guys who got really freaked out by the 32.1 problem, and in both cases, I ended up feeling like what they meant to say was they wanted to like me but don't, and that we're incompatible. Which was true!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
63

Family, eh, but your friends, presumably, are fairly clever or they wouldn't be friends. What are they doing setting you up with women who aren't?

Yeah, the homophily principle makes this surprising. With being a smart person and having smart friends, you should know a lot of smart women. Are you sure the smart one's aren't being screened out for some dumb reason?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
64

Emerson is just squirelly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
65

Slol, I've waited three years to say that.

I'm so pleased.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
66

because then we'll get into "that's not really intelligence, as such...."

Might that not be part of the problem: that you've mis-described the rest of the problem? I think you're talking about some sort of acculturation within a fairly narrow band, and very little that is traditionally used to measure intelligence (beyond some sort of ante) is going to track what you're looking for. I don't know what would be a better description of the characteristic, though.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
67

LB gets it right at 52.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
68

Because remember, college education equals smart!

Oh, that evil Cala, so credentialist she only dates Ph.Ds! Oh, wait....

I expressed myself poorly.

Ogged hasn't given me a definition of what he means by 'mental whateverness', so I'm assuming he's meaning something like 'on the same wavelength, gets my jokes and references', and he has mentioned that every woman he's dated has had at least a master's. Meaning a college education is probably at least a class filter and likely a conversation filter, too. So I'm wondering what is making him think 'dumb' when surrounded by people of his class and education level. Lack of wit? First date dullness?



Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
69

32.1 strikes eeriely close to home for some acquaintances that I've had in the past. Thankfully I have avoided this catch-22 in the dating world, with all the girlfriends of the past either being downright nerdy themselves, or at the very least seeing intelligence and esoteria as something respectable.

Being a smarty-pants during a date is probably also far more "acceptable" in a boy than a girl for most people. Certainly more likely to be seen as charming and attractive. That sucks.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
70

the Oliver Wendall Holmes standard

Potter Stewart.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
71

And I should say that I've been on the other side of this, too. I met a British woman once (who I had no chance with in any case) and it was very quickly clear that she was just so much quicker and wittier than I am that it was hopeless and wouldn't be fun over time. She was also totally hot. (Now married. God damn Brits.)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
72

61 is right on, Megan.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
73

Lucy:

Price is negotiable, depending on whether you are trying to move her away from here or whether I can keep her as my assistant.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
74

62: Most of the dolts I've dated have not been sensitive about cleverness gaps, by the way

They were too busy worrying about penis size.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
75

Usually I can be counted on to sympathize with ogged more than the rest of you lot, but this is a case where I'm going to advise him to suck it up.

If you are two standard deviations above the mean in intelligence--much less three or four--you are going to be excluding way too many potential partners by only dating girls who are your intellectual equal. If you apply a halfway selective physical attractiveness screen at the same time, you may die single.

I can understand ruling out really dumb chicks. But above a minimum threshold, you have to ask yourself whether intellectual stimulation really needs to be part of your romantic relationship. I mean, you wouldn't insist that your girlfriend be able to play competitively with you at one-on-one basketball, would you? It is possible to have common interests, to have fun together, and yes, to fall in love with one another without being on the same intellectual plane.

Give the not-so-smart girls a chance, Ogged! [All the same applies, mutatis mutandis, with the gender roles reversed.]


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
76

Potter Stewart.

DARN it. I was even going to check that, but I'm hurrying to finish some things and didn't bother.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
77

My gf and I play Puzzle Master every Sunday morning. She wins half the time. I win half the time. (Ok, ok, so maybe she wins 60 percent of the time.)


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
78

Well, Justice Holmes did advise us that three generations of imbeciles are enough, which seems relevant.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
79

1. Camus can do, but Sartre is smartre.

2. Scooby Doo can doo doo, but Jimmy Carter is smarter.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
80

ToM & Viv and Scott & Zelda thought they had a lot in common and communicated and shared just fine for a while. It was just bullshit.

39:You're wrong to think me naive & romantic. Just the opposite, I am massively cynical & skeptical about the value of everything intellectual.

Every night I spend time listening to details of work-problems in a very technical field without really understanding a word. Shrinkish "And how do you feel about that" will not do. Yes, it's hard & scarey to avoid being condescending or patronizing or cruel to someone who has interests you don't share...but that is why it is good. Not for her, but for me.

I don't talk exchange-rates or SIV's or Senate votecounts when it's my turn, but show her spinning naked brain tests or impressionist paintings or psych/pop.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
81

37: Can we believe Vidal? I'd usually like to (especially the various and sundry disses on the Kennedys) but sometimes his anecdotes seem a little....crafted.

I don't know. There's certainly a tradition of "I date someone beautiful and stupid who is to me as an exotic pet, only without actual bestiality"...that's one solution if you're smart and neurotic.

What about Samuel Delany? He writes quite a bit about hooking up with people far less educated/intellectually curious/smartsy-pants than he is, but he seems to find them interesting for themselves. Of course, he's not exactly hurting for smart conversation, and he seems to get a great deal out of simply observing people and figuring them out.

I must confess that I lost a friend once because I was, essentially, too stupid for him--simply didn't have sufficient background to keep up in conversation. It was horribly embarassing and soul-crushing.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
82

Curiosity plus verbal skills seems like it might be a better description. I like to have conversations that really bat around, where I or the other person are learning something new, or exploring some idea and really riffing on it. When my date only responds to questions with direct answers that don't lead anywhere, it stops being fun pretty fast.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
83

the Oliver Wendell Holmes standard

That would be "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
84

I met a British woman once (who I had no chance with in any case) and it was very quickly clear that she was just so much quicker and wittier than I am that it was hopeless and wouldn't be fun over time.

So basically you're looking for... someone who'd comment on Unfogged.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
85

High standards are the portal to relationshiplessness. Ogged has fallen into my trap.

Once you have someone smart enough for you, it's also important that they not be too much smarter than you, and you should also have common interests and almost the same opinions about everything. It's permissible to argue about, e.g., which Dylan song is the greatest song ever, or whether Bush is a fascist in the strict sense of the word or just an authoritarian militarist.

Solution: an programmable AI Real Doll with an adjustable IQ. But probably not in my lifetime.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
86

It's really pretty rare for people to be so irredeemably stupid that they can't engage on some more sophisticated level about something. Of course, it's possible that their something will seem ridiculously banal to you -- like people who nurse passions for a single dull hobby like knitting or birdwatching or figuring out the perfect morning commute or collecting every punk record from a single six-month period in '79 or swimming -- but provided that both parties try to vary their interests and conversation a little, it can be surprising how much unsuspected common ground you'll find. Ergo, climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every byway et cetera.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
87

D'ooh, pwned by Flippanter!


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
88

75: Okay, but how does one make sense of the fact that many of us find it incredibly easy to meet friends who have enough "mental whateverness" to hang out with, though there might be other things that, reasonably or not, keep them from being sexual partners as well? I can't throw a rock without hitting someone with enough "mental whateverness" for me. So I hold out hope that one day I'll meet one of them who is also sexually/romantically compatible with me, and that he won't be married.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
89

Cold comfort: it might be equally hard if you were going out on dates and falling hard for really smart, funny (can recite key scenes from Caddyshack?) women. Only then to discover, after falling out of love in a week's time, that you're really in it for the hotness. Or that you're really not wanting a relationship at all. But it could also be that you're not fitting into the right jeans. Come to think of it, that's probably it.


Posted by: anmik | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
90

I don't mean "well-read," Cala, because lord knows I'm not. I can't believe that you don't know what I mean, and I don't want to say "this, that and the other thing" because then we'll get into "that's not really intelligence, as such...."

I have an inkling of what you mean, but then I'm just going to say something like 75. Not everyone needs to be intellectually curious and a person who tends towards introspection might need someone who isn't.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
91

78, 83: I wish that had been what I was thinking of. No, Matt got it right. It was the "I know it when I see it" standard.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
92

I'm with Megan. I know it when I see it, because it's moving as fast or faster than I am.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
93

81: I met Samuel Delany last week!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
94

AWB and LB are right on about this. It's not about intelligence, and it's not about being well-read. I dated a guy who just Was. Not. Curious. Didn't have the desire to learn new things, didn't seem to feel too bad about not reading stuff (I don't read actual books that often, but at least I feel guilty about it and yearn for them), didn't follow current events and didn't care to. He was very intelligent (quite high verbal and mathematical ability), but he just didn't have the spark.

It's about sort of being on the same thought-page as you, about the way you deal with information, the way you investigate (or not) the world, your intellectual profile.

There are people I know that I am sure are smarter than me in terms of raw intelligence (whatever the hell that means) that I would still find lacking because of a lack of curiousity and willingness to engage.

I'm rambling here, but I think the quality we're talking about is the same quality that makes us all want to blog/comment on blogs. We like to discuss and analyze things merely for the sake of it. We think it's fun. Most people you meet just don't feel that way.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
95

I just comment to get attention.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
96

94:

Jack of all trades. Master of none.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
97

88: Don't most of us have higher standards for partners than we do for friends? We expect them to be closer to the gold in the all-around. I have lots of departmental friends with whom I have lots of mental whateverness in common (here, mad analytic skillz & neuroses) who I wouldn't want to date for any number of reasons (often the same mad analytic skillz & neuroses.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
98

Also an important consideration.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
99

there's only so much "just didn't click" "not really my type" dodging you can do.
Ok, how many have decided you're gay?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
100

whether intellectual stimulation really needs to be part of your romantic relationship

This sounds utterly crazy to me. My friends said that to me when I was complaining about the guy I described above. Maybe I just live in a totally different universe, but intellectual stimulation is the thing I want most from a romantic partner. It's hot, it's fun, it makes my life better and more interesting. It makes me attracted to the person, it helps me bond with him.

Maybe I'm a terrible person, but I just can not imagine being with someone who didn't occasionally make me think "holy fuck, this person is impressive."


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
101

the same quality that makes us all want to blog/comment on blogs

I thought that was called "zeal for trolling."


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
102

I actually think the hard thing to find is someone who thinks discussing and analyzing is fun, but who also finds fun to be fun. Going out on the town, fucking, laughing, listening to music, socializing, etc.---why are these things so stressful for people who also think critical thought is fun?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
103

"Is willing to play devil's advocate in a discussion" also seems like it would express this filter pretty well. Might or might not be invested in whatever idea, but wants to explore it and find problems with it. I think m. leblanc is right that this is the same kind of quality that leads to participating in discussions "like this" (aside from the cock jokes, of course).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
104

Jack of all trades. Master of none.

That most limited of specialists, the 'well-rounded man'.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
105

What's the rush to find someone perfectly compatible anyway? Marriage had nothing to do with love and/or compatibility for most of human history. Why do we expect that each member of our generation has some natural right to it now?

What is it that you are looking for anyway, ogged?

If you want intellectual stimulation, you have your friends. If you want physical stimulation, you have escort services (even a dumb broad would do, wouldn't she?). If you are lonely in your apartment, get flatmates. If you want a child, adopt. Perfect love doesn't happen that often because this is not hollywood. And if it did happen often, it would not be special.

Fuck, I sound really jaded don't I??


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
106

I actually think the hard thing to find is someone who thinks discussing and analyzing is fun, but who also finds fun to be fun. Going out on the town, fucking, laughing, listening to music, socializing, etc.---why are these things so stressful for people who also think critical thought is fun?

You're en fuego, AWB. Love everything you've said so far.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
107

This thread is making me feel very, very lucky indeed.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
108

I will take m.leblanc's point a bit further. Intelligence isn't a single raw score. It is a set of virtues. Curiosity is a linchpin virtue here. If you are missing curiosity, you are missing a crucial part of intelligence, no matter how quickly you can solve crossword puzzles. OTOH, if you have curiosity and a little bit of fortitude, you can totally compensate for the fact that you don't solve problems as quickly. At least, it has worked for me.

More to the point, people with intellectual virtues like curiosity are much more pleasant to be around. I certainly couldn't date someone who didn't enjoy thinking, whether or not they were good at it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
109

Don't most of us have higher standards for partners than we do for friends?

As I recently realized, no, I don't. I would like to. It's just a lot easier to be picky about friends than it is to be picky about sexual partners. I simply will not hang out with people who bore or insult me, but especially if I'm not even getting sex out of it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
110

93: Does he have still have the amazing facial hair that one sees in the author photos? I'm reading his collected letters from 1984 (I'm a bit of a Delany nerd, speaking of nerds) and wow, he has so much more emotional intelligence than I do!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
111

102: why are these things so stressful for people who also think critical thought is fun?

Maybe they're only stressful for people who think they think critical thought is fun. People who are afraid that fun will dilute their commitment to critical thought aren't thinking critically about critical thought.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
112

75, 90: See my 58. Not everyone needs this sort of compatibility. But if you do, I think it's a real mistake to settle. I would have a very hard time either enjoying myself or treating a partner decently in a relationship where they couldn't 'keep up' (meaning exactly what Megan's talking about in 61). That's a personal quirk, needing someone who's a match on that dimension, but I don't think it's an easy one to walk away from.

There's a real reason I had names picked out for the three spinsterhood-defining cats I had planned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
113

Anyhow, if it's intellectual curiosity, and a lack of it is what makes the woman seem 'dumb', I have to ask if this is over the course of one date or several, because first dates are often (usually?) not good reads on what the person is really like. And it would not surprise me if intellectually curious women often hid that on the first day for fear of getting reactions like 32.2.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
114

I mean, you wouldn't insist that your girlfriend be able to play competitively with you at one-on-one basketball, would you?

KR apparently missed the other thread. This isn't a problem.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
115

I'm with Megan. I know it when I see it, because it's moving as fast or faster than I am.

This is right. I'm really having a hard time believing that someone here doesn't know what this means. Here are anecdotes from the night I met the ex and the night I met exbeforelast.

Meeting the ex: I step forward and open the door to the restaurant, which has a little vestibule leading to a second door. She takes a theatrical step inside, grabs the second door and holds it for me with an arched eyebrow and a little smile. That's "smart enough."

Meeting exbeforelast: We're out in a group, she somewhat awkwardly and somewhat deliberately teases me for the first half hour that we speak at all. There's a bit of a lull, and I offer her a french fry. To her, that was "smart enough."

In each case, it's a matter of knowing what's going on in the other person's head, seeing how they see the situation, being able to interact in the moment with some humor and at the same speed, knowing what to take seriously and what is lighthearted, etc.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
116

intellectual stimulation is the thing I want most from a romantic partner. It's hot, it's fun, it makes my life better and more interesting. It makes me attracted to the person, it helps me bond with him.

Maybe I'm a terrible person, but I just can not imagine being with someone who didn't occasionally make me think "holy fuck, this person is impressive."

I'm with leblanc on this one. Intellectual stimulation lasts so much longer than anything else.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
117

Hey, I did offer up my sister to you recently. She's very smart. (Note: You didn't say anything about craziness. Who knows? She could be your Something Wild!)


Posted by: profgrrrrl | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
118

110: The facial hair is intense, and well-conditioned.

This:
he has so much more emotional intelligence than I do!
is so so true. He's a deeply wise man, isn't he?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
119

In each case, it's a matter of knowing what's going on in the other person's head, seeing how they see the situation, being able to interact in the moment with some humor and at the same speed, knowing what to take seriously and what is lighthearted, etc.

You just described chemistry, not intellect.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
120

116: I hear intellectual stimulation of the prostate does wonders for headaches.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
121

102: isn't that exactly the problem of over-thinking things? Someone talks about going out on the town and instantly you're concerned with getting there, getting back, is it safe, do I have enough money, do I need to wear something different, am I forgetting anything it conflicts with, what if it's really not as fun as it sounds, oh god I'll be embarrassed if I decide to leave while everyone else is having fun, and so on and so forth.....

This probably goes a long way towards explaining the virtues of drinking for triggering fun.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
122

Who's attending to Heebie? Get on the stick, dude.

When I was teaching ESL one of the students puzzled and puzzled about his three single, fully-employed, no major problems, thirtysomething teachers, Finally it dawned on him: Americans don't want to be married. To him it was like finding out that we didn't need oxygen. A great and mindboggling scientific discovery.

So anyway, in places where everyone is married, there are lots of not very compatible marriages, because the commitment to the individual is dominated by the commitment to marriage as such. Step down a step, and in a place where everyone is coupled up, the committment it coupling up is dominant.

But once critical thinking begins, it's over with.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
123

119, see 48, you predictable moron.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
124

Use "The Simpsons" test. She which of the jokes she is getting.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
125

I'm not sure it's actually will's fault you used the wrong word, ogged.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
126

I'm rambling here, but I think the quality we're talking about is the same quality that makes us all want to blog/comment on blogs.

94, meet 84.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
127

I don't know. There's certainly a tradition of "I date someone beautiful and stupid who is to me as an exotic pet, only without actual bestiality"...that's one solution if you're smart and neurotic.

This concept reminds me of Tennessee Williams, which then suggests to me that until recently that was a stereotypical homosexual male relationship.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
128

102: why are these things so stressful for people who also think critical thought is fun?

I have heard that not everyone finds the same things "fun." Do you think it possible?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
129

Don't most of us have higher standards for partners than we do for friends? We expect them to be closer to the gold in the all-around.

This is a mechanistic view of romance that does not square with my experience.

I'll put my cards on the table: I'm way smarter than Mrs. Ruprecht, and both of us know it. She has several other traits that I would consider negative in a friend (e.g. doesn't like the outdoors, has a soupcon of new aginess). None of those things stood in the way of falling in love and staying in love.

Now, you could argue (as I sometimes do to myself) that it is a little bit unhealthy that I seek intellectual stimulation on the side, and thereby create relationships that she is not part of. Indeed, part of my previously discussed reluctance to come clean about unfogged is this sense that she would feel "cheated on". So I'm not saying its perfect. But it works. For me, it took the realization that what I was looking for in a partner is not necessarily the same same set of criteria I habitually used to choose my friends.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
130

123:

So now I am too stupid to date?

You expect me to read everything you write? I dont even read my own comments.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
131

118: He is indeed. Jeez, I can't even count the number of minor-yet-key life events precipitated by reading Samuel Delany--starting to read Goethe because SD recommends Italian Journey, feeling some confidence in my theory reading because of his para-academic writing about theory, the understanding of how form can contradict directly stated content...and seriously, when I was nineteen or so reading various SD-writes-about-sex essays was revelatory...and getting into L Timmel DuChamp because her first published story was an homage to Delany...I really do recommend the letters, if you haven't read them. They consoled me, long ago, through a really miserable temp job.

How did you meet him?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
132

Meeting the ex: I step forward and open the door to the restaurant, which has a little vestibule leading to a s second door. She takes a theatrical step inside, grabs the second door and holds it for me with an arched eyebrow and a little smile. That's "smart enough."

This concise and eloquent statement of what you're looking for that could be used with the setter-uppers. Maybe don't use "smart."


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
133

How about:

"Only set me up with women with whom I will have chemistry."

That should clear things up.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
134

128: Seriously, some of the very best people I've ever encountered for most of the items on AWB's list have been philosophy students. But you've got to find the right ones, obviously.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
135

Meeting the ex: I step forward and open the door to the restaurant, which has a little vestibule leading to a s second door. She takes a theatrical step inside, grabs the second door and holds it for me with an arched eyebrow and a little smile. That's "smart enough."

I don't see what this has to do with "smart" at all.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
136

112: I guess what I'm saying is that I would have thought I needed that kind of intellectual compatibility, but it turned out that I didn't when the lack of the same curiosity was tempered by other virtues.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
137

129: I can see this working, for sure.

I wonder if the main compatibility test is really that you take the same categories of things seriously or not. Lots of my dating relationships have ended, in part, because, while I like having sex (ideally a lot), I don't think it's "important" or "meaningful," and a lot of the men and women I've dated are either not into sex or construct their entire ethos around it. That's the kind of stuff that is really going to hammer the coffin-lid down on a relationship. And it's a total deal-breaker, one I will not negotiate about in a long-term relationship.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
138

Maybe don't use "smart."

As my old friend T.S. Eliot said, "I gotta use words when I talk to you." If I'd just said "mental whateverness" and illustrated with the anecdotes in 114, we would have spent a billion comments discussing just what I was talking about when we all already know what we're talking about.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
139

I'm very much like Ogged—and everybody else here—in valuing this quality. I know how hard it is to find, and knowing that it improved my chances of finding it kept me around the U of C after my classwork was over, after one miserable summer in Columbus.

I've often thought, wrt my wife and her possession of this quality "Today, I consider myself...(and on in Bronx accent).


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
140

This concept reminds me of Tennessee Williams, which then suggests to me that until recently that was a stereotypical homosexual male relationship.

I'd always thought of this as a stereotypical straight relationship--sort of an early capitalist one, where women would be decorative but not educated/tend the private sphere...Or a trophy-wife thing, where the real emotional and intellectual life is with friends/work but the sexual life is off to one side.

In fact, I'd always assumed that it was more acceptable as an occasional gay male pattern (Oscar Wilde, anyone?) because there seemed to be a lot more emotion invested.

Although seriously, what's wrong with the "beautiful exotic pet" approach? "Equality" in a relationship isn't some kind of eternal verity; it's highly class- and era-specific. [I only date nerdy people myself, however...]


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
141

I understand that couples can be strongly in love without matching intellects (by whatever standard). More power to them.

But I want it (in a wailing hopeless tone of voice). Because it is the thing that makes me think that I could stay in love with him over time. And it is one of the gifts that would be the greatest relief from the effort I put into interacting with everyone else (which I do automatically and don't mind or notice until I meet someone who doesn't require that).

That quickness - and kindness - are the only two non-negotiable things. Everything else is solvable, for me. Looks, class, anything. Maybe very hard, but solvable. But smart+funny, and nice are what I want.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
142

24, meet 33 and 121; 121, make sure you 14 the 82.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
143

129: It's mechanistic, but there are things I'd put up with in a close friend that would drive me batty in a serious relationship.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
144

I comment on blogs in order to express my hostility, frustration, sociopathy.

Around non-intellectuals I am often quiet and attentive, in the hope & expectation I might actually learn something. My experience is that most people are smarter & wiser than I. Certainly most are happier.

Steven's "Comedian" really is my favourite poem. "Intelligence is man's soil." As in shit perhaps. Stevens is funny.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
145

141: Smart/funny/nice sounds good. If you find an extra, send him east!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
146

Yes, but even the 5-oclock shadow of arrogance is enough to inspire hate. If the setter-upper is not tuned that way, more power to you for having a friend you can speak frankly with.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
147

I think I lost track of O's thinking when he described someone else as too smart for him. Maybe she would have thought so, but think "compatibility" here is more about having the same general quality, regardless of the speed or skill, or both being above some critical threshold, not being within epsilon of one another.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
148

138: Except for the bit where everyone thought you meant raw intelligence or intellectual curiosity and you meant 'comfortable enough to tease me on the first date.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
149

144.1 could be interpreted as threatening.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
150

Ahem, all you Tennessee Williams alluders. See 37.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
151

'comfortable enough to tease me on the first date.'

That is not it, at all.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
152

150: Great blog commenters cite alike.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
153

quickness - and kindness - are the only two non-negotiable things. Everything else is solvable, for me. Looks, class, anything.

Are they? How can you be in a long-term romantic relationship without physical attraction?


Posted by: Lady Bird Johnson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
154

That quickness - and kindness - are the only two non-negotiable things.

And then there is responsibility, and sharing responsibility, and paying the bills and the mortgage and minding the kids or the dogs or even just taking care of the car; the roof-gutters and the lawn and the laundry, and their family, and your family, and friends....


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
155

138: Except for the bit where everyone thought you meant raw intelligence or intellectual curiosity and you meant 'comfortable enough to tease me on the first date.'

We all failed the test of understanding that he meant something different from what he said. If we had understood, we would have been date-worthy.

When Ogged uses a word, it means just what he chooses it to mean, neither more nor less.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
156

I think the word 'sharp' would be better than 'smart'.

max
['Because whateverness is still 'IQ' and IQ is not actually correctly descriptive what ogged is after.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
157

How can you be in a long-term romantic relationship without physical attraction?

For me, sense of humor forms the basis of attraction. If I were listing deal-breakers I wouldn't need to address physical attraction, because it's built in to humor and the rest of their personality.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
158

Smart/funny/nice sounds good.

I'm not sure but if "funny" isn't a misnomer here. I think that a lot of what gets interpreted as "funny" in the context of a relationship is just a variety of warmth and intimacy. There's the quality of "makes me laugh", which Mrs. Ruprecht attributes to me even though I'm objectively not that funny.

By contrast, some of the objectively funniest people I know (as in, make their living writing sitcoms) are total pricks.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
159

Don't you guys see that the examples he cited were about being "quick", not about teasing him.

Ogged, I understand you. Take heart.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
160

138: Except for the bit where everyone thought you meant raw intelligence or intellectual curiosity and you meant 'comfortable enough to tease me on the first date.'

But there, like, more. There's the part where he gets things faster, like the way LB goes straight into the heart of things, says them right and is also thinking about what they mean next. So when you say the next thing, she's already there. It is a combination of awareness and willingness to think and speed and ability to capture the issue and lots of stuff and one thing to call that is 'smart'.

The teasing was well-applied.



Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
161

Here's another data point for discussion:

an army of ingenious authors have ... decided that any woman will, under the right conditions, marry any man at any time, provided her "higher nature" is properly appealed to.... The capacity of women to make unsuitable marriages must be considered as the corner-stone of society.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
162

I think that a lot of what gets interpreted as "funny" in the context of a relationship is just a variety of warmth and intimacy...some of the objectively funniest people I know are total pricks.

No, by funny I mean funny. I want someone to be funny, and still not be a prick.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
163

"higher nature" is kind of a confusing euphemism.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
164

I'm telling you, online adult chat rooms. It's *really* easy to filter out the idiots.

Also I think you should get rid of your "must have a graduate degree" thing, given that many of my smarter, more interesting and renaissance-type friends barely made it through college, didn't finish, or dropped out before completing high school. But then you already knew that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
165

Which was the thread from a couple of weeks ago which presaged this one, where some of us, I know I did, made declarations much like these? Was it the one with the Wodehouse kid?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
166

I prefer it if he's funny, but in my old age, I've started settling for guys who laugh at my jokes. Also, it would be great if he were smarter than me, but one who isn't freaked out if I am smart may have to do. Standards have slipped since AWB was in high school, making lists of ideal-boy characteristics. Of course, high-school AWB didn't get laid.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
167

AWB and LB are right on about this. It's not about intelligence, and it's not about being well-read. I dated a guy who just Was. Not. Curious.

What am I, chopped liver?

The interesting part about this discussion is not only defining what Ogged is looking for in chicks, but how his friends don't see it as well. To go back to my comment above, I walked out of that situation thinking "how did our mutual friend think we would work at all"?


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
168

This is an issue I beat myself up over constantly. Sadly, I'm not sure what to do about it. Since I don't have a college degree (and could go back to school if I wanted to) there's always that option, but I hate the educational system here with a burning passion. And the stuff I read here doesn't help.

But there's very little I desire in a person besides intellectual passion, and some reasonable measure sexual compatibility. I just can't get over the idea that lowering my standards would be a very bad idea. (So, once again I agree with LB.)

Combine that with social anxiety and depression, and my situation is probably as bad as teofilo's, except that I don't live in the middle of nowhere.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
169

I am getting the distinct impression that I'm not bright enough to hang out here.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
170

164: sure, and then there's nobody left Surely you've had the experience of being the only person in such a place who uses complete sentences.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
171

If quickness/smarts + humor/kindness were sufficient then about a third of the people on this blog would be happily marrying another third without further ado. So the analysis seems incomplete.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
172

In each case, it's a matter of knowing what's going on in the other person's head, seeing how they see the situation, being able to interact in the moment with some humor and at the same speed, knowing what to take seriously and what is lighthearted, etc.

Phronimoi only, please!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
173

TITS OR GTFO


Posted by: OPINIONATED CHAT-ROOM SAVANT | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
174

161: I assume someone has commented on the fact that what are today probably the two best known 19th century American novels about politics are centered around women.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
175

Intelligence isn't a single raw score. It is a set of virtues.

Intelligence isn't a virtue. It is an attribute.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
176

171: 2/3 of us are kind? Or do you mean 1/3 of us are funny, and a different third are kind? That I might believe, maybe.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
177

Don't you guys see that the examples he cited were about being "quick", not about teasing him.

Only "quick" in a way that makes, or made, sense to the two parties involved. Others might well be quick in a way that *doesn't* happen make sense to one. It's to some significant extent a function of shared references and so on. (In particular, raising an eyebrow over a door held open trades on a fair amount that has nothing to do with quickness, really.)

But Ogged's not really asking a question in the first place, I don't think.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
178

And then there is responsibility, and sharing responsibility, and paying the bills and the mortgage and minding the kids or the dogs or even just taking care of the car; the roof-gutters and the lawn and the laundry, and their family, and your family, and friends....

I can do those. I do them now. I fully understand how demanding and hard that is from managing my single life and sharing my sister's single momhood. But I can solve those by working infinitely hard. (Please don't say that I must not understand, then. I do.)

I can't solve boring.

(and I'm with Heebie, because funny is hot.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
179

Combine that with social anxiety and depression, and my situation is probably as bad as teofilo's, except that I don't live in the middle of nowhere.

Sounds worse, actually. At least right now.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
180

If quickness/smarts + humor/kindness were sufficient then about a third of the people on this blog would be happily marrying another third without further ado.

I bet if you put us all in a middle school dance, a lot of people would start slow dancing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
181

Phronimoi only, please!

Precisely, mature Ben, precisely.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
182

(and I'm with Heebie, because funny is hot.)

You mean, you want to be with me. But I'm taken. But thanks anyway.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:50 PM
horizontal rule
183

I can't solve boring.

You can solve boring people by lighting them on fire. I saw it on YouTube.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
184

Why has no-one said that 171 is completely wrong? Oh well.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
185

169: I really don't think that's it. Like I said somewhere upthread, there are good happy relationships that aren't a match on this thing. It's just that if it's a dealbreaker for you (that is, Ogged, other people on the thread), it's a dealbreaker. The fact that it isn't a dealbreaker for you isn't a bad thing -- it probably means you're a broader, decenter person some ways.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
186

I think Ogged is trying to say that he loves me. Again, flattered, but taken.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
187

I'll point out for Ogged's benefit that the subhead on the link in 98 translates as "The tragedy of the highly gifted"


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
188

186: Actually, I think ogged is toying with us. Like a little kid, he just likes to see the frenzy. And I agree with KR. Ogged should broaden his whitelist. He's not required to end up in a serious relationship with anyone, and he might change his mind as he fritters his free time away.

I am not great about following such advice, either, though. So I'm sympathetic.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
189

169: See, my worry is that there's something wrong with me that I can't (or don't think I can) be happy with someone much less smart than me.

But most of all, I just hate the patriarchy and modern alienation for making it so hard to find other people.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
190

185: I think LB's right Cala, and for what it's worth, I get a very good impression of Shivbunny from your descriptions. I know you define yourself, you've done it before, in contrast to the mindset we're describing here, but I think it's partly what the terms mean to you.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
191

Oh great, now SCMT loves me too. You all, I am a finite resource.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
192

Actually, I think ogged is toying with us

I don't think he is. Are you, ogged?


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
193

you wind up having to explain why you don't want to pursue things with the pretty, sweet woman you were set up with and there's only so much "just didn't click" "not really my type" dodging you can do.

...before they conclude you're gay.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
194

Quickness, kindness, funniness: These only take you so far. Or do they? Can you bludgeon yourself into being content with all of the above? (Please tell me how.)

Presumably your friends are also quick, kind, and funny, but you don't marry them because you don't want to fuck them.


Posted by: Lady Bird Johnson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
195

178:I can't solve boring.

The fuck you can't. Anybody who can't self-stimulate will likely have difficulty in finding an adequate partner. Tee-hee.

The irresponsibility and passivity around here reeks. I have often wondered if the "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" shit was internalized patriarchy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
196

And I agree with KR. Ogged should broaden his whitelist.

Racist.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
197

heebie, I love you. Am I too late?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
198

Troll, are you trolling? Writer, are you writing? Ogged, are you toying?


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
199

25 just seems crazy. 10 IQ points either way? That seems unconscionably narrow.

Broadly similar, of course, yes. But seriously, if I were to introduce some less than 10 points either way criteria I'd have had two girlfriends in 15 years.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
200

Intellectual compatibility is hugely important to me, in all the ways eloquently identified by m. leblanc, LB, AWB, and Megan. I couldn't do without entertaining, clever banter; friendly and surprising intellectual sparring; delight in analyzing books, movies, and experiences; surprising me by knowing all kinds of interesting things I didn't know before; and appreciating the things I know that he didn't know before. You can never get all things from one person in your life, but those things I want to (and do!) share with my partner, not just my friends.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
201

I don't think he is. Are you, ogged?

No, I really am not--I do run into this problem and also thought y'all would understand.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
202

But seriously, if I were to introduce some less than 10 points either way criteria I'd have had two girlfriends in 15 years.

And you'd have a widely read blog with a bare tree at the top of it.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
203

I couldn't do without entertaining, clever banter; friendly and surprising intellectual sparring

Just buy set of Jane Austen novels and you're set.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
204

Fuck, I'm never going to catch up on this thread.

This concept reminds me of Tennessee Williams, which then suggests to me that until recently that was a stereotypical homosexual male relationship.
I'd always thought of this as a stereotypical straight relationship--sort of an early capitalist one, where women would be decorative but not educated/tend the private sphere...Or a trophy-wife thing, where the real emotional and intellectual life is with friends/work but the sexual life is off to one side.

In fact, I'd always assumed that it was more acceptable as an occasional gay male pattern (Oscar Wilde, anyone?) because there seemed to be a lot more emotion invested.

But the trick is that when a group of men get together, there's nothing obviously inferior about any of them. So a trophy man-wife has a special set of characteristics - he has to be obviously not the equal of the sparkling wits gathered together. But a pretty or young wife at a gathering of industrual titans is pretty obvious without being extraordinarily young or pretty (obviously, this is all predicated on awful patriarchal assumptions - I'm just describing here).

One of Fran Liebowitz's biggest pieces in the 70s was "Notes on 'Trick'," a faux-sociological discussion of this phenomenon. I think she even talked about whether the concept applied to het relationships.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
205

199: I'll settle for twenty (but god, someone twenty points above me? I can't imagine), if there's the intellectual passion there. Like others have said, it's not really about IQ per se, but if you're taking IQ to be a stand-in measure for overall intelligence (which it's not), however you define it, then 10 points either way is probably a good metaphor.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
206

201: I understand, ogged. But I don't know what to say.

The real question here is not what has been addressed by all the commenters proclaiming "Well, that criterion isn't important to me!". The real question is why your friends don't realize the incompatibility. But I don't know anything about the specific people in question.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:05 PM
horizontal rule
207

199: Yeah, that does sound idiotic. I don't think '10 IQ points' means anything consistent you could describe about what it's like to talk to someone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:05 PM
horizontal rule
208

heebie, I love you. Am I too late?

You're never too late to love. You're too late to be reciprocated.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:05 PM
horizontal rule
209

Hypothetically, it might be great fun to bait a bunch of people on the internet into moaning about how hard it is to find someone smart enough to date.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
210

You're too late to be reciprocated.

Oh well. There's always Cala.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
211

Heebie is afraid to share the love. She hoards it like a prize.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
212

But most of all, I just hate the patriarchy and modern alienation for making it so hard to find other people.

I hate receiving unsolicited advice, especially about dating, so I'm reluctant to give it to others, but I will just say that if I were in your position I would go back to school.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
213

More on-topic (and is this not an unusually on-topic thread through 200 comments?), one of the reasons I spent 6 years with Bad GF is that, when we weren't bickering, we had a great rapport. And I might add, per will in 119, that it wasn't chemistry - we got together due to her doggedness, not due to mutual attraction. But she was always fun to hang out with (when she wasn't bitching or berating). That made it seem worthwhile to stick around.

I would also add that the girl I regret never really dating struck me as callow when we were first fooling around (now there was chemistry); I didn't get really attracted to her until she was out of school and had matured, becoming more intellectually vibrant


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
214

Heebie is afraid to share the love. She hoards it like a prize.

Love is like a magic penny.
Hold it tight and you won't have any.
Lend it, spend it and you'll have so many
They'll roll all over the floor.

But MY love is like a stable mutual fund. Invest in it and it will pay off wisely over time.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
215

My love is like one of those SIV things that are causing all the trouble.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
216

And by that I mean of course Simian Immunodeficiency Virus.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
217

The post makes perfect sense to me, and it goes with the one about the fan/chopping onions. I think the longer people (introverts?) are single the more aware they become of the differences between themselves and other people.

Clearly ogged likes being single, and there's nothing wrong with that, nor is there anything contradictory about feeling occasionally lonely in that situation.

So, it may be a problem that doesn't require a solution. As far as solutions go, however, the only thing I can think of from my own life that seems to help is mixing in some sort of team athletic activity. For me, during the occasional stretches when I manage to play basketball regularly the experience of being social in a very non-verbal way makes being around other people easier. It doesn't solve the problem of how to meet people easier, but it makes the problem of spending enough time with people to figure out whether there is an area of intellectual overlap easier.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
218

Of course, this sort of compatibility isn't everything. My parents got along great on this level, which allowed them to nurse along a cold, unhappy, resentful marriage for twenty-five years or so. They still seem to have a blast talking to each other at family events, inbetween the snarling and snapping.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
219

These posts are gradually turning my mental image of Ogged into Jerry Seinfeld. The fictional one, that is.


Posted by: Thomas Jefferson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
220

Going out on the town, fucking, laughing, listening to music, socializing, etc.---why are these things so stressful for people who also think critical thought is fun?

Because the reason we're good at critical thinking is how poorly we do those things?


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
221

25 just seems crazy. 10 IQ points either way? That seems unconscionably narrow.

There is an error somewhere in the quote since the standard deviation for IQ is typically defined to be 15 IQ points.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
222

I'm bored. I need to cook the sausages and walk the dogs.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
223

But MY love is like a stable mutual fund. Invest in it and it will pay off wisely over time.

You are aware that mutual funds are open-ended investment trusts, capable of taking on any and all new investors, right? Because if so, Ogged, Gonerill and SCMT still have their chance (even if they're just performance chasers).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
224

Clearly ogged likes being single gay


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
225

222: Don't get the tasks mixed up.

218: LB in like an exocet with counterexample.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
226

219: Presidentiality foul. If you're going to go presidential, you need a sensitive revelation. Thinking that Ogged bears a striking resemblance to Jerry Seinfeld, on the other hand, is an obvious truism.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
227

I'm bored.

Or just married to someone dumb?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
228

227 seemed mean as soon as I hit 'post'. I was just kidding.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
229

Only "quick" in a way that makes, or made, sense to the two parties involved. Others might well be quick in a way that *doesn't* happen make sense to one.

This is it exactly. ogged's first example shows that his ex was quick at reading him and flirtily responding, and that says certain things about her intelligence and her manner, and that he values someone who 'gets' him. Now, it doesn't really matter whether he calls that 'smartness' or 'mental whateverness' or 'chemistry', except to the extent that he wants to tell his friends to set him up with quicker-witted people when he really wants them to set him up with people who get him.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
230

capable of taking on any and all new investors, right? Because if so, Ogged, Gonerill and SCMT still have their chance

They can try. But Jammies isn't gay.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
231

If you want physical stimulation, you have escort services

Classy.

Ogged, given 114 it sounds like what you want isn't book smart but social/interpersonal smart. People who are good at that thing (ime) are also usually pretty book smart because they're quick studies, but usually if you say "smart" people will think "educated" rather than "clever."

Also, this thread is amazing me because I feel like I know a ton of people like that, and I can't understand why the rest of you don't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
232

229: Could be like that, but is it generally? I feel like I know exactly what Ogged's talking about, and I think of it as a general mental quality, not so much 'being just like me'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
233

Well, I'm off to see if the kids are still alive.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
234

185: It felt like the dichotomy was either 'smart and so distantly lonely and settling' or 'must not be that bright.' I know the feeling of having to rein in my brain so as not to scare the horses/men/employers. I don't feel that around shivbunny, but it does NOT translate into what we'd normally call intellectual compatibility or (christ on a cracker) within 10 IQ points.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
235

Also, this thread is amazing me because I feel like I know a ton of people like that, and I can't understand why the rest of you don't.

I think people are saying that they have plenty of friends like that, but some of them have trouble finding people to date along those lines. (I've got mine, so I'm good, same for several other happily coupled up people who've weighed in.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
236

I ain't so smart.

Pat Lang has this beautiful piece posted about re-discovering Homer, the Greek dude, in the rice-paddies of Vietnam. The arrogant writer thought Homer had nothing for him until he saw marrow burbling.

"Tis a gift to be simple..."

Proves I'm not smart that I take such cliches seriously.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
237

I don't want to be reciprocated. I'm a human being, not a trade agreement.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
238

Now, it doesn't really matter whether he calls that 'smartness' or 'mental whateverness' or 'chemistry', except to the extent that he wants to tell his friends to set him up with quicker-witted people when he really wants them to set him up with people who get him.

I think his claim is that there is no chance that a non-quick-witted person will "get him", whereas with a quick-witted person there is a chance.

Also, this thread is amazing me because I feel like I know a ton of people like that, and I can't understand why the rest of you don't.

Personally I only have one friend who isn't college-educated, and he is really not smart in any way, though likeable.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
239

I don't feel that around shivbunny

Yeah, see, this here is huge I think for almost anyone -- having to cover up around a partner is always going to be a problem. Wanting the 'intellectual compatibility' thing, on the other hand, is a particular taste. If it's a dealbreaker for you it is, if it isn't it isn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:22 PM
horizontal rule
240

They can try. But Jammies isn't gay.

Try to convince him with the tax benefits he reaps from new investors. They'll also help keep you liquid IYKWIM.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
241

I picked up on don't feel that around shivbunny too. That's the dealmaker/breaker: can you be yourself and be loved for it?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:24 PM
horizontal rule
242

227:It's fine heebie. I am, on occasion, snotty and cruel.

More than 30 points below me, but she is not dumb.
Anti-intellectual, but she is not shallow.
She's a lot funnier and nastier than I am. I think you'd like her. Everybody else does.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
243

Everybody loves Heebie!
The bitch.
If you're popular, everyone loves you.
And then they all hate you.
Poor Heebie.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
244

235: Fair enough, and I've dated fewer people like that than I have had friends of that caliber. Probably partly because one doesn't get rid of friends when you find new friends, so they accumulate.

Anyway. I think Ogged's problem isn't the brainy thing; it's the nice thing. His friends and family know he likes nice women, so they set him up with nice women. But nice women are often (not always, obvs.) nice partly because that's what women are *supposed* to be, and doing what you're supposed to tends to go along with being bright enough, but not overbright.

Clever women, imho, are often kind of grumpy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
245

Problem solved! Ogged, get your friends and family to set you up with meaner women.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
246

It's not an intelligence standard so much as it's seeking people on the same mental wavelength. People "of like mind".

As I recall, the term for this is "simpatico".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
247

Ogged, get your friends and family to set you up with meaner women.

Yes, is there a particular part of Iran known for its bitter-tempered complainers? Get your mom cracking on finding a woman of that lineage.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
248

Ogged, get your friends and family to set you up with meaner women.

I THOUGHT THIS WAS WHY HE FOUNDED THIS BLOG


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
249

B. being a rare exception. She's fishing for compliments.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
250

is there a particular part of Iran known for its bitter-tempered complainers?

Other than the "inside" and the "outside" you mean?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
251

239: Right but when the example is the one ogged gave, it really didn't seem like 'intellectual compatibility' as much as 'knows how I think.' That's one that's a lot harder to get, maybe. I have colleagues who are intellectually compatible, but couldn't get *me* in any sense of the word in 100 years.

This can all be summed up as that I find it a relief that shivbunny doesn't have an opinion on unrestricted mereological composition.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
252

Well then, instead of arguing about "smart," we ought to be arguing about what nice means. My wife, for instance, scares and intimidates people, even though she's friendly and very kind. But people looking for a narrow and conventional version of nice, one that excluded "grumpy," wouldn't think of her.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
253

Ogged's more general problem is being "liberated" by his family's emigration to the West.

I think it was Ferdinand Tönnies who first pointed out the devil's bargain inherent in our liberal modern order: that the freedom to choose implies a self-imposed responsibility to choose correctly. If you know your whole life that you will grow up to be a cobbler because your forefathers were all in the cobbler's guild, there's not much reason to worry that you might have been happier choosing to be a baker. (This is also the central argument of Barry Schartz's The Paradox of Choice).

It was the eclipse of arranged marriage by romantic love in the West that created the pressure on the individual to carefully sift and choose to find the one perfect partner. We can't put that particular genie back in the bottle (nor would I want to), but it's worth remembering that most people throughout history have not experienced these worries in quite the same way.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
254

Now, now. "Meaner" doesn't have to mean "bitter tempered complainers." Just you know, someone with an edge.

I actually know just the right person for you, Ogged: top of her class, very smart, plantation owner's daughter type, with a little mischievous gleam in her eye around people who she knows appreciate that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, she's in second grade. But at the rate you're going....


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:36 PM
horizontal rule
255

249: Hardly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:37 PM
horizontal rule
256

The Paradox of Choice

The only problem specific to me is that the thoughtless matchmaking--the problem of finding someone smart/simpatico/whatever enough is, it seems clear, shared.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
257

Not much to say other than that I, too, sympathize. And that you should definitely go to the meetups. This is one of the sharper groups I've been around, and some of the women are unattached (or attached to guys who are smaller and weaker than you).

Cala, I fear that you may turn out to be the sort of smart person who goes on to great professional success rather than a lifetime of commenting on Unfogged. But there's still hope.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:41 PM
horizontal rule
258

Some choose mean partners, some find a happy median, and others change their partners a la mode.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
259

Hey, ogged, remember back when....

when I think that you guys will be the most sympathetic audience for an issue

Good times.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
260

it really didn't seem like 'intellectual compatibility' as much as 'knows how I think.' That's one that's a lot harder to get, maybe. I have colleagues who are intellectually compatible, but couldn't get *me* in any sense of the word in 100 years.

Yep, 'cause "ntellectually compatible" and "simpatico" aren't the same thing.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
261

Okay, so the thoughtless matchmaking isn't working out for you.

Time to move on to thoughtful matchmaking. A targeted search.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
262

Hell, no. The people who comment on Unfogged are the kind with academic jobs. I couldn't even date a philosopher so I could ride someone's coattails to a junior hire.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
263

The only problem specific to me is that the thoughtless matchmaking--the problem of finding someone smart/simpatico/whatever enough is, it seems clear, shared.

OK, granted. But the solution to the problem is not to fix the matchmakers, but for you to be a little more open minded about dull girls.

Try imagining that you and she are stranded on and island somewhere, or that you are the only survivors after the apocalypse. Then try to look for the qualities she might have beyond a rapier wit and unfogged-worthy apercus. This might not work the first time, but some of these girls might grow on you if you give them a chance. Also, 98.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:46 PM
horizontal rule
264

Note that I'm currently doing "no dating at all, thanks."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
265

Unless I am happier being single with friends and family/having kids by myself than giving up this dealbreaker. 'Long as that is still the case, I can still hope to get the part I want as much as anything.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
266

262: I'm not entirely kidding, and I don't at all believe that dissertation and job market angst today mean anything about how successful you'll be professionally in 10 or 15 years.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
267

Lower your standards, Ogged! Because it's a crime not to be paired up.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
268

Two major compnonents of simpatico.

1. Not having to explain yourself. Not strictly an intelligence standard. If you find yourself explaining your ideas, jokes, etc., it ain't gonna happen.

2. A "like minded" reaction to your ideas, jokes, etc. If he/she "gets" what you're saying, but usually has a reaction that's seriously divergent from yours, it ain't gonna happen.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
269

Plus it's every woman's dream to be dating a man who's resigned himself to being with her.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
270

It hurts both people to be paired up wrong. If you know in advance, you shouldn't fuck with 'almost'.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:51 PM
horizontal rule
271

264, 265: Has it been established that Ogged and Megan are incompatible? Because if this were a movie the music would be swelling right about there.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
272

Actually, you're what, in your mid-30s? I bet the solution at this point is to just wait around for the clever women to start getting divorced.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
273

(272 wasn't entirely a joke.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
274

272:

Bitch has been listening to me.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
275

268 isn't entirely true. Differences in culture and upbringing can create significant but bridgeable (and interesting) gaps in those areas.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:55 PM
horizontal rule
276

Try imagining that you and she are stranded on and island somewhere, or that you are the only survivors after the apocalypse.

Oh sure. If you can answer "no" to the question, If you and she were the last two people on earth, would you and she be the last two people on earth? then it's a match?

This kind of thought experiment makes the case sound desperate indeed.

Which it's not. It's just that Ogged is not really looking, imho, or is not looking hard enough.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:55 PM
horizontal rule
277

268 isn't entirely true. Differences in culture and upbringing can create significant but bridgeable (and interesting) gaps in those areas.

Doubtless the occasional mail order bride couple ends up happy. But I don't like long shots.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
278

274: Plus, Ogged kind of likes kids, so he'd totally have the pick of the crop.

The crop being divorced women with kids, not the kids themselves.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
279

It's just that Ogged is not really looking, imho, or is not looking hard enough.

Way to blame the victim.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
280

271 gets it right. Why, if From the Archives was just a bit more popular (Crooked Timber link perhaps?), this could be in the Vows section a year from now.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
281

278:

Good point. Plus, he is fastidious. He can clean up after the kids.

Ogged, want to get on my mailing list?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
282

270: The idea is that he's just not giving some people a chance, and that once he got over whatever hump is in his way, she wouldn't be an almost anymore. I'm not sure about the idea, though...


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
283

279, see 264.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
284

Why, if From the Archives was just a bit more popular (Crooked Timber link perhaps?), this could be in the Vows section a year from now.

Can we play Ultimate at the reception?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
285

Will is the Dennis Franchione of divorce.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:00 PM
horizontal rule
286

I can top the "ten points in IQ" silliness: my mom was impressed by my dad's SAT scores.

Getting jokes v. not definitely has an intellectual element, but it also has a chemistry element. They're both important but I'm not sure how well you can tell either on the first half hour of the first date--expecting that it be instant is what makes it seems like you're talking about chemistry.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
287

277: Not liking long shots yourself is fine, but you're still overgeneralizing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
288

Not having to explain yourself. Not strictly an intelligence standard.

I'm not convinced. Not all smart people are good at this, and not everyone who's good at this is good at reading everyone, but being able to pick up on unspoken stuff--hell, even realizing unspoken stuff *exists*--takes a certain amount of brains. Especially if you want someone who can do it in a clever way, who can read and broadcast subtext.

I mean, everyone knows unspoken stuff exists, unless they're severely autistic or something. But a lot of people are really pretty bad at being aware of it in anything other than a really inchoate way.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
289

my mom was impressed by my dad's SAT scores

My wife was impressed because I stayed reasonably coherent on something or other while drunk. Poor thing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
290

he is fastidious. He can clean up after the kids.

Actually, the kid mess would probably bother him, but he'd have women *begging* to spend the night once they saw the inside of his (presumably) tidy apartment.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:05 PM
horizontal rule
291

288: I partially disagree with the "inchoate" part. Rather, people seem to read subtext wildly incorrectly.


Posted by: feldspar | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
292

From the Archives got the CT link, and abuse ensued on all sides.

It hurts both people to be paired up wrong.

True, but implicitly you're suggesting the alternative is that both would be paired up right, instead of paired up even worse. Think of the line about Thomas Macaulay and his wife: that it was fortunate they had married each other, because that way they made only two people unhappy, instead of four.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
293

The idea is that he's just not giving some people a chance, and that once he got over whatever hump is in his way, she wouldn't be an almost anymore. I'm not sure about the idea, though...

I don't agree with the idea that he should give some people a chance. What I'm suggesting is that he needs to figure out a way to meet (IRL, not online) some of the other people.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
294

293: See, I'm all for online meeting. You can parse the clever ones more quickly that way.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
295

he needs to figure out a way to meet (IRL, not online) some of the other people.

How about a hobby -- like swimming, maybe?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
296

They're both important but I'm not sure how well you can tell either on the first half hour of the first date

Mmm. I think maybe ogged (and many people) are looking for someone who does "get" them within the first half hour. Isn't that the way attraction works for most people: you quickly start laughing conspiratorially?

That said, I still agree with KR: widen your search. What's the worst that happens?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
297

293: Sure, online is great, if (and only if) it can move to offline.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
298

Yeah, I regret the abuse that I started.

implicitly you're suggesting the alternative is that both would be paired up right

Or single. Some people stay single when they haven't found someone who meets their dealbreakers.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
299

Try flirting with women in grocery stores, Ogged. They say that works.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
300

Not liking long shots yourself is fine, but you're still overgeneralizing.

Bah. Look around. What you're describing is the exception.

I mean, everyone knows unspoken stuff exists, unless they're severely autistic or something. But a lot of people are really pretty bad at being aware of it in anything other than a really inchoate way.

So what? The people who are bad at it pair up, the people who are good at it pair up. Simpatico.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
301

I regret the abuse that I started.

It's irrational to regret the jerky behavior of strangers.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
302

298: I firmly believe that's the only sane thing to do. "Settling" might be okay for the short term, but for 20 years you want to live with someone who you think is kinda dumb/clueless/unattractive/has an annoying laugh? No way.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
303

Check it out. I programmed Tetris.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
304

The people who are bad at it pair up, the people who are good at it pair up.

I actually think that being bad at it is a recipe for a shitty marriage unless you and your partner are both really easygoing people. Or if you have pretty set ideas of what marriage means and don't care about silly things like the other person's feelings or inner thoughts as long as they clear the table and give the kids a bath.

But anyway, what I meant by the original comment was that I don't think Ogged's insane for wanting someone who is capable of clueing in to things.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
305

Oh, I don't regret that part. I regret saying later that Kieran was responsible for it. I was specifically only regretting the abuse I initiated. The rest is on someone else's karma.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:21 PM
horizontal rule
306

He's insane for other reasons, of course. Just not that one.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:21 PM
horizontal rule
307

Hey Megan, check yr email.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
308

What you're describing is the exception.

Every successful relationship I can think of is an exception on one axis or another. Possibly things are different in Utah.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
309

I will, but not 'til I get home. I can't from work. Sorry.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
310

Every successful relationship I can think of is an exception on one axis or another

This is just another way of saying most people are unhappy most of the time.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
311

310: You can take the boy out of...


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
312

310: No, just that life tends to throw more curveballs than you expect when you're young and know everything.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
313

I actually think that being bad at it is a recipe for a shitty marriage unless you and your partner are both really easygoing people.

The divorce rate is what it is for a reason.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
314

The one thing I know for certain is that wasabi peas are delicious.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
315

313: Well yeah, but you were the one saying "simpatico."

314 is true.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
316

Don't try meeting women in bookstores. It doesn't seem to go well.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
317

Total comity on wasabi peas.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
318

Don't try meeting women in bookstores. It doesn't seem to go well.


Posted by: feldspar | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
319

Lots of my dating relationships have ended, in part, because, while I like having sex (ideally a lot), I don't think it's "important" or "meaningful," and a lot of the men and women I've dated are either not into sex or construct their entire ethos around it.

This comment has been sticking with me. I think I know it what it means, but the more I think about it the more it confuses me.

Do you mean "important" and "meaningful" in an objective sense, or just in a subjective sense?

I can't think of anything in my life that I like doing regularaly that I don't think of as "important" to me. I am often aware that I am assigning importance to something that other people wouldn't but I still think of it as important.

I suppose I'm just being difficult here, but it's just not how I think about my own experience. I have food habits that I've developed not because I like the taste necessarily but because they have an impact on my mood and psyche. It's hard to think of sex as being less "important" than that, and that's pretty important in my book.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
320

I just wanna say that I am the judgmentalist bitch formerly or currently of this blog, and I was recently on a date with an extremely successful classical musician--world class--who also had directed a film accepted at Sundance, and yet at dinner he offered, as an example of his ex-psychiatrist's openness and insight, that he (the psychiatrist) had compared his patients' astrological charts with their MMPI scores, found that in fact the astrological charts and the MMPI scores were "reflections" of the other, and was thenceforth inclined not to dismiss astrology. My heart hardened against him.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
321

254, brilliant,

164:Also I think you should get rid of your "must have a graduate degree" thing, given that many of my smarter, more interesting and renaissance-type friends barely made it through college, didn't finish, or dropped out before completing high school.

I got really irritated while reading the initial commentary, and I couldn't quite find the intellectual splinter that was burning my paw. But Bphd pointed the way (thanks) : Whether or not someone has a graduate degree is meaningless. I've met way too many PHDs that are badly in need of a personality, and I've even met a few of whom I felt compelled to ask "you earned your degree where?" Expecting they would answer: "online"

I would call this 'mental whateverness' intellectual connectivity. It's that feeling of carrying on the type of heated philosophical/political/intellectual argument with someone that makes you wet/hard, wet/wet or hard/hard. It gets to that point where you find yourself breathing deeply in order to keep yourself controlled enough to continue the discussion without leaning over and erotically mauling your interlocuter.

This aspect of a relationship is unexpendable. I would actually regard it as foreplay to some extent. However, having credentials does not guarantee this kind of interaction. Neither does the size of their vocabulary.


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
322

"Take heed lest these sins carry thee farther, than thou intendest: thou intendest but pleasure, or profit; but the sin will carry thee farther; Quaeris quo? says that father; Dost thou ask whither? Ad cor durum, To a senselessness, a remorselessness, a hardness of heart: Nec pergas quaerere, (says he) quid illud sit; Never ask what that hardness of heart is: for, if thou know it not, thou hast it."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:46 PM
horizontal rule
323

found that in fact the astrological charts and the MMPI scores were "reflections" of the other, and was thenceforth inclined not to dismiss astrology

It's my understanding that this correlation is in fact partially true. However, there all kinds of explanations for it that have nothing to do with the mysterious (and nonsensical) interactions of heavenly bodies. Astrology still laughably false, of course.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:47 PM
horizontal rule
324

there all kinds of explanations for it

Oh yeah?!? Like what, Mr. Smarty McSmartersons?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:52 PM
horizontal rule
325

My explanation is that the correlation doesn't exist:

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/112459272/ABSTRACT


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
326

I appreciate the problem and remember flailing with it on the rare occasion when I was setup. Unfortunately, my "strategy" for success was blind luck-- they never got better at setting me up, but I finally found someone great on my own.

I guess that implies that your "not dating" idea makes sense-- if others can't/won't set you up properly, better to seek yourself and spare everyone else the effort.


Posted by: OTVeg | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:07 PM
horizontal rule
327

Belief in astrology is a tough dealbreaker to hold on to because it nixes so many people. But damn, astrology?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:11 PM
horizontal rule
328

The guy was probably a Gemini. Geminis will believe any old shit.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:13 PM
horizontal rule
329

288: Sure they're not the same. I once dated a girl that not only didn't think I was funny (clearly erroneous, but understandable), but didn't even know that absurd comments were jokes. She went to Princeton (and not on Daddy's money or athletics).


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:14 PM
horizontal rule
330

Astrology is one of those things that people talk about without necessarily believing strongly in, like football.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:15 PM
horizontal rule
331

My boyfriend likes to say that of *course* he doesn't believe in astrology, he's a skeptical Aquarius.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:17 PM
horizontal rule
332

I met a British woman once (who I had no chance with in any case) and it was very quickly clear that she was just so much quicker and wittier than I am that it was hopeless and wouldn't be fun over time.

Indeed:

The book in my hand was a third edition of her latest novel, and at the end of it were numerous press-notices, at which I glanced for confirmation. `Immense vitality,' yes, said one critic. `Full,' said another, `of an intense vitality.' `A book that will live,' said a third. How on earth did he know that? I was, however, very willing to believe in the vitality of this writer for all present purposes. Vitality was a thing in which she herself, her talk, her glance, her gestures, abounded. She and they had been, I remembered, rather too much for me. The first time I met her, she said something that I lightly and mildly disputed. On no future occasion did I stem any opinion of hers. Not that she had been rude. Far from it. She had but in a sisterly, brotherly way, and yet in a way that was filially eager too, asked me to explain my point. I did my best. She was all attention. But I was conscious that my best, under her eye, was not good. She was quick to help me: she said for me just what I had tried to say, and proceeded to show me just why it was wrong. I smiled the gallant smile of a man who regards women as all the more adorable because logic is not their strong point, bless them! She asked--not aggressively, but strenuously, as one who dearly loves a joke--what I was smiling at. Altogether, a chastening encounter; and my memory of it was tinged with a feeble resentment. How she had scored!

Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:18 PM
horizontal rule
333

What Ogged needs is a nice raccoon coat.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:29 PM
horizontal rule
334

I find astrology is one of those things people talk lightly about, as if they're playing at believing it, but defend as "there must be something to it" when pressed.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
335

I have a related problem to Ogged's. The last three girls I've dated have been: a very religious Catholic virgin, a Jewish homeschooler from Montana, and the daughter of a Catholic priest. Being an atheist by training and disposition, why do I date not just the religious, but the nuts?


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:31 PM
horizontal rule
336

235: Yes. Just because I know what I'm looking for and recognize it when I see it doesn't mean other people look at me and think the same. I was just talking to my best friend on the train on the way home about this. Even when people are into me, they want me for incredibly complex scenarios.

I am a very simple and emotionally stupid person and can only handle really basic shit. I can't be the "third" in your marriage. I can't be your "other woman," or your "plaything." I can't date more than one person at a time, because I get stressed and confused. It's not just a matter of mutual attraction; I get into plenty of mutual-attraction scenarios. They're just all with people with complex issues and hang-ups.

Hell, I spent two and a half years with a still-married dude with two kids, and that was less emotionally complex than most of the guys I meet who are also into me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:32 PM
horizontal rule
337

319: I don't, personally, feel sex constitutes an ethos. I really like it, but in a "oh good! fun! i want more!" way, not in a "this validates my very being! i am doing what i was meant to!" way.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:38 PM
horizontal rule
338

Speaking of raccoon coats, which hat should I get? 1, 2, 3. (I wore a cheap artificial one last winter and it kept me happy and warm, but it looked cheap and artificial.)


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:39 PM
horizontal rule
339

334: There's truth in that.

Personally, I believe that some obviously wrong shit must be right because the universe is smarter than I am, but believing that also requires me to believe that I don't get to know which obviously wrong shit it will turn out to be.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
340

I like the last one, Bave.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
341

337: This is also a pretty good survival strategy for someone with more immediate need for sex than Twue Wove.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
342

But I also meet a lot of people who are not necessarily into twoo wuv who are nevertheless rilly rilly invested in a particular sexual role or attitude that is, like, a part of their self-image. And having sex, in that style, has to happen for them to continue to recognize themselves as such. Each sexual event is a construction of them as them.

My friend from the train, for example, and her husband are polyamorous and bi and bsdmish, and doing scenes and having group sex is really important to them as a couple. They see people as having a sexual "identity" that is a part of themselves.

Or, like my college boyfriend, for whom sex was this really huge deal in a negative way, and things like getting a blowjob, though great at the time, made him suffer tremendous self-loathing, because he didn't think he was that kind of man.

That's just really not me at all. At least, as much as I want and seek after hott sexx, it's not at all a part of who I am, and I don't change the way I mentally constitute myself or anyone else because of sex.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:49 PM
horizontal rule
343

339: I like them 1, then 3, then 2.

327: What throws me is people I know are smart who still buy it. There was this absolutely cool, very very sharp, woman in law school who was also all about the astrology and the tarot cards. I was polite about it, because I generally thought she was great, but what the fuck, man?

(Although hanging out with her did give me powerful counter-evidence to anyone who buys into astrology. I am a Leo, Leo rising, which apparently should make me so charismatic I can set things on fire by looking at them. In fact, compelling though I may be in blog comments, in real life I can be upstaged by plywood. If I hadn't known her, I wouldn't have known just how off base my chart was.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:51 PM
horizontal rule
344

Sometimes I feel very very lucky to be old and boring.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
345

By which I mean damn, AWB, I sympathize but have nothing helpful to say. Not that you're looking for that. But anyway.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:54 PM
horizontal rule
346

Ogged shouldn't apologize for having quickness be a dealbreaker. The women his family is sending his way are probably wonderful people, but if mental spark is a prerequisite and you don't see it, then no amount of digging for her unique snowflakeness is going to create an attraction.

Family (especially parents) are the worst for matchmaking. They're probably looking for the idealized Mother of Our Grandchildren, and ISTR that good birthing hips were right up there with heels and makeup on Ogged's list of turn-offs.

I'd tell the family, next time they ask about a failed fixup, something like "we didn't have much to talk about." Instead of "mental whateverness," try "well-read," or "career-oriented," or maybe "ballbuster."


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
347

338: What the hell are you talking about? None of those are straw wide-awakes.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
348

My friend from the train, for example, and her husband are polyamorous and bi and bsdmish, and doing scenes and having group sex is really important to them as a couple.

Okay, speaking as, like, the open marriage person? People like this bug the crap out of me and it kind of skeeves me when people call me poly, because, um, no.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
349

Those poly fuckers are making B look bad.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:58 PM
horizontal rule
350

Now, now. Some of my best friends are polys, &c.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:59 PM
horizontal rule
351

maybe "ballbuster."

That's what I'd recommend, but noooo. Ogged likes nice people.

Freak.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 6:59 PM
horizontal rule
352

Look, maybe I'm a bigot. But that whole "I'm polyamourous" or whatever thing is creepy and pushy and self-righteous and, well, just no.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
353

Oh come on, LB, you're totally a Leo! Your posts and comments here scream it.

And anyway, for women, what really matters is one's moonsign.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
354

Didn't Einstein view "god does not play dice with the universe" as a serious objection to quantum mechanics? People believe weird shit.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:02 PM
horizontal rule
355

Now watch, Hamilton is going to come in here and bitch me out in about five minutes. Or maybe Rocky.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:02 PM
horizontal rule
356

There's a lot to be said for smart, strange/scary/goofy women who eventually force you to learn to yell back, but the early going can be a little rough.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
357

There's a lot to be said for smart, strange/scary/goofy women who eventually force you to learn to yell back

As a wise man once said, in a slightly different context: nothing good.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:04 PM
horizontal rule
358

352 may be the B-iest comment yet.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:05 PM
horizontal rule
359

I don't know why astrology should be more of a dealbreaker than religion. Sure, them major religions have superior literary traditions, but it's not like they make any more sense.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:07 PM
horizontal rule
360

357: Au contraire, wily Other. If everything in your life is exactly as you want it to be, fine, but if not, a lover is one of those gifts that needs to be allowed to help design its own box.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:07 PM
horizontal rule
361

360: Mighty generous of you, NPH.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
362

As a wise man once said, in a slightly different context: nothing good.

That might be my favorite post (distinct from thread). I'm starting to think of yours as a parallel Scrubs-like life. I want to be Seventy Year Old Guy when I grow up.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
363

a lover is one of those gifts that needs to be allowed to help design its own box

Like they say, a serial killer is just a romantic who likes to kill people.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
364

By crackie!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
365

Damn. I thought it was B who said "Polyamorous R me". Must have been Parsimon.

AWB's interpretation of sexual identity is perfectly Foucauldian, but vulgar Foucauldians have a diametrically opposed interpretation. Why? Based on my own experience, it's because most pop Foucauldian's read the first chapter of History of Sexuality #1 and skip the rest, thinking that the first chapter is F's own point of view, rather than the view that he's trying to displace.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
366

359: It's precisely the superior literary traditions that make them slightly less off-putting. If the person was casting about for meaning and went in for something supernatural, I can at least respect a really rich system like a major, old religion. At least it's an ethos, as they say.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
367

There's a lot to be said for smart, strange/scary/goofy women who eventually force you to learn to yell back, but the early going can be a little rough.

A little bit of practical advice for these types - if you buy them an ice cream cone and then hold their hand, it's much harder for them to punch you. And they can be just the ticket for those with a tendency toward quite and introverted. I say Ogged should start pursuing alpha female lawyers.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
368

361: OK, I'm being an asshole, but it's my own damn life that I'm describing and I claim some knowledge of that. I do understand what Ogged is saying, but if he's worried about a life in which his dealbreakers are outnumbered only by his cats, I would humbly suggest that "no open conflict, ever" is a better dealbreaker to give up than "smart enough to keep up."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
369

363: I thought Gonerill owned the "funniest blog comment ever" title, but this makes you a contender.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
370

if you buy them an ice cream cone and then hold their hand, it's much harder for them to punch you.

Trust an engineer to come up with a physical solution.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
371

The premise of Ogged's post is that he's breaking dull women's hearts left and right. Is he such a catch? I mean, aren't some of these cute females in high demand themselves?


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
372

368: Actually, I wasn't being sarcastic there. I thought about noting as much, since I often am, but I think it is really hard for some people to imagine a good experience coming from someone they didn't previously imagine was their type.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:26 PM
horizontal rule
373

371: I don't think Ogged claims to be breaking anyone's heart; he's just feeling misunderstood by teh fixer-uppers :^(


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:29 PM
horizontal rule
374

Ogged just doesn't want to marry the hott PhD cousin his mom has found, because she doesn't do banter properly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:30 PM
horizontal rule
375

Well apparently they're bothered enough to demand more excuses than O. is willing to supply.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
376

The premise of Ogged's post is that he's breaking dull women's hearts left and right.

No, it's not.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
377

Ok, I see that it's the setter-uppers that want the excuses. Nevermind.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:34 PM
horizontal rule
378

Trust an engineer to come up with a physical solution.

It works, it's elegant, it's deniable ("but you like ice cream"). What could be better? It's not like one could expect me to actually try to work through these people's emotional difficulties, is it?


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:35 PM
horizontal rule
379

372: Thanks. That's pretty much what I've done, and it hasn't always been smooth or even happy, but I'm a hell of a lot better and wiser today than I would have been if I'd held out for "my type." Luckily, my standards back then ran more to "has opposable thumbs" and "is willing to give me the time of day," which gives you some idea of the baseline from which my current condition looks better and wiser.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:36 PM
horizontal rule
380

This post reminds me of the time my friend, who is very into obscure artsy animation stuff, complained that his sister got him Shrek for Christmas. It wasn't the loss of a gift that bothered him; it was the proof that they know nothing substantial about his values at all.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:36 PM
horizontal rule
381

but I think it is really hard for some people to imagine a good experience coming from someone they didn't previously imagine was their type.

Or they can imagine it, but it seems so unlikely to actually occur as to not be worth the effort to find out.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:37 PM
horizontal rule
382

360:

If everything in your life is exactly as you want it to be, fine, but if not, a lover is one of those gifts that needs to be allowed to help design its own box.

This is funny.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
383

It's not like one could expect me to actually try to work through these people's emotional difficulties, is it?

Well, only as a very distant last resort, if you can't build your way out of the problem. Totally with you, Jake.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
384

365:

Emerson, what?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
385

380: AWB, you earlier expressed concern about being perceived as high-falutin, condescending or negative. I worry about those things, too - but I also worry about that perception actually being justified.

I maintain that your Shrek-denigrating pal is, almost by definition, high-falutin, condescending and negative.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
386

385.2 is most certainly true. My love contains multitudes.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
387

Joke.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
388

I ordered hat #1.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
389

I think that people closer to you probably give you worse advice (and do worse at matchmaking) than someone who doesn't know you as well. There was some experiment where they had people pick out styles they thought their spouses would like, and a second group picked out styles for an unknown person based on a paragraph description that was written by their spouses about their preferences. The spouses in the latter group were much happier with the choices.

People who know you really well tend to get ideas about you that they get attached to that aren't necessarily the most accurate, and they make decisions based on those images. People who don't know you are going just based on what they know about you, instead of what they think they know about you.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
390

It's funny, but the people who find me high-falutin', condescending, and negative are usually people respect enough that I don't think I need to dial myself back when talking to them. I almost never have problems with people I really do consider seriously dumb.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
391

"people I respect enough..."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
392

Joke.

We can never be together, John, because I don't get your jokes.

Weirdly, a friend is currently embroiled in a polyamorous hubbub -- all the parties involved did not communicate well enough -- and it's really very bad. Potential relationship breakups, maybe someone's going to actually have to leave town. The recriminations have been going on for almost a year. Oh my. Don't mess with that stuff unless you know what you're doing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
393

389 is interesting, and probably true. My girlfriend (from the train) is often trying to set me up with dudes of her acquaintance who could not be less suited to me.

Guy #1: Handsome, intelligent, but has deeply patriarchal ideas about women and sex (that they don't like it, and you have to beg for it, and that it has something to do with spending money). Her verdict: I can fix him! Through sex! My response: No! I can't! And don't want to try!

Guy #2: Great, friendly, brilliant ex of hers, who doesn't communicate his wishes clearly, and probably wouldn't want anyone to know we were dating, as most of his friends think he's gay and he has hangups. Her verdict: I can fix him! Through sex! My response: No! I can't! Etc.

Someone should set me up with someone they think is compatible with me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
394

The 367/370/383 line is one of the funniest things I've seen. But, I'm a former engineer and former crazy-dater.


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
395

a polyamorous hubbub -- all the parties involved did not communicate well enough

The level of communication required to make polyamory work may require more bandwith than humans currently possess.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:08 PM
horizontal rule
396

Now, it doesn't really matter whether he calls that 'smartness' or 'mental whateverness' or 'chemistry'

Way late to the thread and only like halfway through, but... Yeah, I think it does matter what he calls it. Because "we're just not on the same wavelength" or however else everyone tried to paraphrase the issue in the first half of the thread is worlds away from "she's not smart enough."

I keep trying to come up with a diplomatic way of saying "get over yourself," but I'm coming up short.

I suppose I could go with something along the lines of suggesting that it might help to be a little more open to people who might not fall right into a box of expecations that has already been carved out. Also, consider the possibility that if the date is not a font of witty banter, it's possible this is not because shes "not smart enough" but because she's wholly uninspired by her date.

That's really not coming off anywhere near as kindly and helpful as I had intended.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
397

I've only skimmed the comments thus far so forgive me if I'm pwned but: Ogged -- aren't all of your recent exes like PhDs in astrophysics or something? What exactly is your bar for "smart enough"? I know you're talking "mental whateverness" and not necessarily intelligence but it still sounds like you have a pretty high bar.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
398

392. Damn.

You seemed to be one of the least likely people here to be polyamorous, NTTAWWT. Hence joke.

Maybe AWB can fix me through sex. The hour is getting late, AWB!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
399

363: I thought Gonerill owned the "funniest blog comment ever" title, but this makes you a contender.

Thank you, IA, but Labs is the author of the three funniest blog comments ever. Lifetime achievement award: The Apostropher. Cleverest comments: Standpipe Bridgeplate. I could go on, but people are sensitive.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
400

Isn't one of the chess-playing Hungarian sisters single? Ogged!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
401

Also, consider the possibility that if the date is not a font of witty banter, it's possible this is not because shes "not smart enough" but because she's wholly uninspired by her date.

This is wise, Di, but it makes me think it's all the more reason not to continue seeing someone you don't click with. I've often kept seeing guys who didn't seem totally stimulated by my company, and guessed they must like me but not be totally sociable in the same way, but maybe we were just incompatible altogether, which is how they always ended up. Like, you can make snap judgments, but those judgments aren't necessarily about "smarts"---they're about compatibility.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
402

After an evening in a rather contentious seminar I think the reason I don't rate intellectual compatibility (as distinguished from simpatico or whatever) terribly high as I think of it as a) primarily philosophical or political argument (not analyzing movies or books or fun stuff) b) I'm reasonably good at it and get enough of it at work c) I really hate what kind of person I am when I'm in full-on analytic mode because I'm a complete little bitch and d) I can't imagine dating me when I'm in that mode.

389: To the extent that this is true, this is more true of parents, whose image of you tends to be fixed by everything but what you are actually like.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
403

The level of communication required to make polyamory work may require more bandwith than humans currently possess

This may be true. I'm acquainted with a very few people who are able to do it. They talk constantly (about, you know, feelings), and if anything, the first hurdle for most of us is just how difficult that is, how unwilling we are to do it. It's pretty much a full stop right there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
404

This is wise, Di, but it makes me think it's all the more reason not to continue seeing someone you don't click with.

Maybe, but if it's a persistent problem, it may be well worth considering whether it's the real problem. When I read things framed in terms of "she's not X enough for me," I can't help but suspect some preemptive defensiveness. If you dismiss people quickly enough you spare yourself the risk of potential emotional entanglement.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:20 PM
horizontal rule
405

Come on Di, you've never gone out with someone who wasn't smart enough for you?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:22 PM
horizontal rule
406

Yeah, but Ogged isn't saying, "A huge proportion of the women in the universe seem to be insufficiently smart for me," he's saying, "it's bumming me out that people keep setting me up with women who aren't quick-witted and clever in the ways that I like."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:22 PM
horizontal rule
407

403: This seems accurate. My poly friends are always talking about feelings. They also seem to be really invested in (a) utopian fantasies, which they admit are totally unrealistic, and (b) lots and lots of conflict as productive of intimacy. I don't work on utopia or conflict, but I've learned to respect it. They seem pretty happy, anyhow.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
408

I think of it as a) primarily philosophical or political argument (not analyzing movies or books or fun stuff) b) I'm reasonably good at it and get enough of it at work c) I really hate what kind of person I am when I'm in full-on analytic mode because I'm a complete little bitch and d) I can't imagine dating me when I'm in that mode

I thought as much: you've not been using "intellectual or educational equal" as you once put it to mean the same thing we mean, which is much closer to compatibility of sensibility.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:24 PM
horizontal rule
409

398:

You seemed to be one of the least likely people here to be polyamorous, NTTAWWT.

We continue in our failure to understand, John. It's because I'm neuter, isn't it?

I may have to resign myself to being mystified.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:25 PM
horizontal rule
410

405: Dude, I married someone who wasn't smart enough for me. But I gave it a chance, see? And now I can at least say I was married...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:29 PM
horizontal rule
411

You win.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:30 PM
horizontal rule
412

Check your URL, Di!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
413

Gah! That's the alternative site -- y'all weren't supposed to know about that one...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
414

411: That's all I've ever really wanted.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
415

409: To date you have not radiated polyamorous potential. Also, your tiffs with AWB. Being neuter would be consistent with that.

It wasn't actually a very funny joke, it was just a throwaway line at the end of my joke about B, who of course vigorously denies polyamorousness.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
416

Where's Brock? I sense a joke about some philosophers in an open marriage who were polyemerose.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:40 PM
horizontal rule
417

Keep digging, John.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:41 PM
horizontal rule
418

Not to pry, but what difference is there between an "open marriage" and the sort of polyamory that is apparently bad and ridiculous, which is worse?

Also, way to ignore the John Donne quote, people.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
419

415: Being neuter would be consistent with that.

You wound me, John.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
420

the sort of polyamory that is apparently bad and ridiculous

Polyamory isn't bad and ridiculous. Some people who profess to practice it do so really badly, and then observers generalize from their cases.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
421

Open marriage is when you have sex with other people. Polyamorous is when you talk about it with your spouse.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
422

Wait, I don't have to tell my wife we have an open marriage? Sweet.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:47 PM
horizontal rule
423

Wikipedia says that an open marriage is when you fuck other people and polyamory is when you love other people. I suspect that it's impossible to keep the definitions neat.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:52 PM
horizontal rule
424

I was just needling B, but she's not here, apparently.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:52 PM
horizontal rule
425

That seems like more love than most people are capable of.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:53 PM
horizontal rule
426

An open marriage is when you fuck other people, and polyamory is when you fuck other people and spend all of your remaining time talking about it amongst yourselves.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 8:55 PM
horizontal rule
427

Polyarmory is a decentralized plan for defending territory.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
428

Wikipedia says that an open marriage is when you fuck other people and polyamory is when you love other people. I suspect that it's impossible to keep the definitions neat.

Someone missed Eddie Murphy's "Raw."

Wait, I don't have to tell my wife we have an open marriage? Sweet.

Aren't there better solutions available in UT?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
429

Open marriage is when your life is too complicated, polyamory is when your life is way, way too complicated, and the Utah solution is both complicated and felonious.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
430

and felonious.

That's what makes it so hot.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
431

Yeah, well, sometimes "hot" is just another word for "complicated."


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
432

426: Now now, be fair. The most successful polyamorous woman I'm acquainted with has a really nice household arrangement whereby she and her husband have her (female) lover over on a regular basis for the weekend and they all cook together and drive each other's kids places.

In a society in which people would rather live alone if they can, that's not going to sound appealing, but if it does, the biggest obstacle is that horrible green-eyed-monster, jealousy. Which can happen even without sex being involved, and even in monogamous relationships.

Conclusion: Emerson's no-relationship policy wins.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
433

396 gets it exactly right. We're all smart cookies here, so we tend to invest being smart with all kinds of quasi-moral significance. But when you get right down to it, turning up your nose at someone because they aren't on your level intellectually is no less obnoxious than the guy who only dates models or the sorority president who only dates phi-delts.

Within a fairly broad range of mental whateverness, people are capable of being charming, loving, interesting, faithful partners. Ogged may be throwing out wheat with the chaff by so quickly dismissing his blind dates as mentally beneath him.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:12 PM
horizontal rule
434

What a great thread. I'm sorry I missed it. Everybody gets some awesomeness points!

I was going to include my vague musings, but I realized everything had been said better and in a more pithy/witty manner above. I hate coming in at 430.

The older I get, the less I value intellect (fine as it is!) and the more I value emotional and sexual compatibility. Although our intellects are wound around our spirits, so emotional compatibility usually requires someone able to at least appreciate your odd way of conceptualizing the world.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:13 PM
horizontal rule
435

What a great thread. I'm sorry I missed it.

Agreed. Fucking work and family.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:14 PM
horizontal rule
436

turning up your nose at someone because they aren't on your level intellectually is no less obnoxious than the guy who only dates models or the sorority president who only dates phi-delts.

Come on, Knecht.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:15 PM
horizontal rule
437

How did jealousy get green eyes? I've heard that its parents have blue eyes.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:16 PM
horizontal rule
438

Having said all that I've said above, I would totally draw the line at dating a Republican.

If the goddess Aphrodite herself appeared before me nude but for a W'04 sticker--well, maybe I would hatefuck her, but that would be the end of it.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:19 PM
horizontal rule
439

438: Comity!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:20 PM
horizontal rule
440

I often think that "pickiness" sometimes signifies an unreadiness for relationships. Very young people, for example, tend to have an absurdly narrow definition of their "type," as do loners and those in post-relationship recovery.

I like to think that I'm cursed on all sides by lovely people who are tragically incapable of loving me, but it's not really awful for me to be alone for a while. I used to be a lot less picky about whom I sexed, but I kept getting caught up in relationships with them, and then what good is the distinction?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
441

Yeah, I'm kind of surprised at the moralistic turn the last few comments have taken. He's talking about being able to relax and be himself, and confronting incomprehension. None of us likes that, even though some of us will have a harder time being matched.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
442

Hey, is it envy that has green eyes? (I shouldn't try to use these phrases unless I'm willing to look them up or already have a facility with them.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
443

At least around here, OGged comes across as witty, very observant, and fascinated by social interaction. Those qualities can be harder to find than simple intelligence -- a lot of smart people aren't deeply interested in people, use intelligence as a refuge from sociability, etc.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:21 PM
horizontal rule
444

Yeah, I'm kind of surprised at the moralistic turn the last few comments have taken. He's talking about being able to relax and be himself, and confronting incomprehension. None of us likes that, even though some of us will have a harder time being matched.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
445

Sorry for the double, lost my connection.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
446

440: that too, of course. Ogged also comes across as someone who wants to be single, for now at least.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
447

It looks like both envy and jealousy are associated with green eyes. I'm actually curious about the origin of the image, in a "lazy questions that occur to me to ask" sort of way.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
448

Possible origin of jealousy's green eyes. Isn't it nice that there was a Shakespeare, and no one has to feel any pressure to be the best writer ever?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
449

399: I didn't have to click to know two of the three. I just started laughing. I can't believe that the Juggernaut Firm/rap thread was in 2005. This place is really like an online version of the corner tavern.

Ogged, I know a girl for you. She's not that bright, but.... Oh, wait. If you wanted to proactively tell prospective matchmakers that you want someone really really bright and to seek out such women and then calibrating based on experience, that would be one thing. But telling friends who are proffering up people who they (hopefully) respect as potential dates that those women don't cut it seems mean. I'd stick to "It's not them, it's me."


Posted by: benton | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
450

Come on, Knecht.

Come on, what? I'm not saying that being smart isn't a desirable quality in a partner, ceteris paribis. I'm not even saying that there isn't a bare minimum threshold somewhere. I'm just saying that super smart people restricting their choices to other super smart people is kind of obnoxious from the perspective of non-super-smart people, just as any other similarly restrictive criterion would be. Is that controversial?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:25 PM
horizontal rule
451

359

"I don't know why astrology should be more of a dealbreaker than religion. Sure, them major religions have superior literary traditions, but it's not like they make any more sense."

I agree with this.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:26 PM
horizontal rule
452

Within a fairly broad range of mental whateverness, people are capable of being charming, loving, interesting, faithful partners...for someone who values those qualities more highly than a particular sort of intellectual spark. Ogged is not such a person. He's not saying mean things about the women who lack that spark nor about people for whom it's not critical. Why not give him the same courtesy?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:27 PM
horizontal rule
453

Thanks for hogging all the phrase origins, Shakespeare.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:29 PM
horizontal rule
454

Come on, what?

Come on, wanting an intellectual equal/like-mind/simpatico person is not the same kind of shallow or silly desire as wanting to date models.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:31 PM
horizontal rule
455

453: Not all--generations from now the youngsters will be musing about the origins of classics like "WMYBSALB?" and "Because I'm a feminst."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:32 PM
horizontal rule
456

Ogged is just like the guys who won't date chicks with small tits.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:33 PM
horizontal rule
457

Maybe it could be rephrased in terms of what is attractive to you, rather than "wanting an X person." It doesn't bother me, but I realize there are a lot of attractors for me that seem to be fairly consistent, though if I said that's what I was "wanting" in a partner, they'd sound shallow or judgmental, and it wouldn't necessarily, in every imaginable circumstance, be true.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:34 PM
horizontal rule
458

And thankfully, he appears not to have had anything to do with No Great Shakes.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:34 PM
horizontal rule
459

Scott & Zelda thought they had a lot in common and communicated and shared just fine for a while. It was just bullshit.

Just to note that between the two, Zelda was probably the "smarter", certainly the more broadly talented. Scott was a plodder--a tireless, charming, lucky plodder--but a plodder all the same. Zelda on the other hand, even crippled by mental illness and burdened by the responsibilities of raising a child, wrote, painted, and danced at a fairly advanced level. And in fact, they really did have a lot in common, shared nearly everything, and even after she was institutionalized Scott continued to provide for her care. (And Zelda's illness--unlike Vivienne's--really did require institutionalization, at least at that time).

Maybe that's relevant to this thread.

What I really wanted to say was:

I met Samuel Delany last week!

You lucky bitch ...

Certainly, there's a sort of person that I'd regard as not "smart" enough to date, but I dislike putting it like that because the older I get, the more I recognize that my own gifts aren't more than a really good memory for trivia, a love of reading and talking, and a certain degree of rhetorical skill. Beyond that, I got nothing. If I were really smart, I wouldn't be so fucked up.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
460

454: Being beautiful is just as demanding as being brilliant.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
461

Of course I don't put it this way to anyone trying to set me up; I understand how it's rude. I just thought this crowd would understand. But it's a big crowd...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
462

Why not give him the same courtesy?

No discourtesy intended. I guess I have the zeal of the convert here. I used to have ogged-like notions of the level of mental whateverness I sought in a mate. I tried to make relationships work where there was no realistic prospect for success, because I imagined I would never find another woman so on my wavelength (and who was into me and wasn't painful to look at).

To the surprise of me and everyone who knows me, I ended up with a woman whose many fine qualities do not include intellectual parity with me, or anything close to it. If I had clung to my earlier notions of suitability, that wouldn't have happened.

Ogged seems happy enough being single for the moment, so I suppose there's no harm in his setting the filter on its finest setting. But I wouldn't advise going through life that way.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
463

Come on, wanting an intellectual equal/like-mind/simpatico person is not the same kind of shallow or silly desire as wanting to date models.

Depends on how you define "intellectual equal," etc. Actually, if you just drop "intellectual equal" and stick with "like-mind/simpatico" the concepts becomes rapidly less problematic. Declaring someone not your intellectual equal serves to cast you as a superior, which seems distasteful. Seeing as we all know by now that intelligence is multi-dimensional, it's completely possible for people to be equally intellectual and yet still be intellectually incompatible.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
464

We understand, Ogged. Some of us are just being contrary, too.

<Ogged's Mom>And we just want to see you happy. We want you to find a nice girl and settle down and have babies.</Ogged's Mom>


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:40 PM
horizontal rule
465

461: And a lot of us have said that we do understand. Not only said it, but said it to you in open and notorious violation of all that this blog holds dear. That ought to count for something.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:40 PM
horizontal rule
466

Possible origin of jealousy's green eyes. Isn't it nice that there was a Shakespeare, and no one has to feel any pressure to be the best writer ever?

Huh, this is one of those bits of knowledge I'd just kind of assumed everyone knew. I guess you're just not smart enough for me, ogged.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:41 PM
horizontal rule
467

Quite late to the party, but I hear what you're saying, Ogged.

Mrs. Chopper doesn't have the same raw intellectual capacity as I do, we're both aware of it, and it works for us.

I got over the initial potential for questioning whether a relationship could work because the instant I lay eyes upon her lithe muscular legs striding across a room, I was overpowered by raw monkey lust. The compensating factors (has her shit together, is a beautiful, giving person, laughs at my jokes, similar values about work and family, etc.) were all made known to me before the RML lessened its hold.

So: Try thinking with your dick. It really can work out.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:41 PM
horizontal rule
468

OT: Barcelona is on TV. When I read posts here, I sometimes find myself imagining them as being spoken by real people of a certain appearance and manner; that is, I imagine what y'all are like. As I watch this movie, I am starting to think that many of these imaginations may be inspired by characters in Whit Stillman's movies.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:41 PM
horizontal rule
469

462: No problem with that; I've done something similar on the "not crazy" axis. It's the implication that he's being stuck up that's objectionable. Here amongst ourselves, we ought to be able to admit that yeah, we're smarter than most of the people we run into, and yeah, that affects our social lives.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
470

I appreciate it, NPH.

And Knecht, you'll find many places in the archives when I say that smart is overrated, even as it pertains to relationships, but the fact remains, and this thread is proof, I think, that for a lot of people, there is some threshold that they need crossed before things can work. That's not really strange or objectionable, I'd think.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
471

wanting an intellectual equal/like-mind/simpatico person is not the same kind of shallow or silly desire as wanting to date models.

Equating "intellectual equal" with "like-minded" or "simpatico" is getting back into the slippery ambiguity noted earlier.

But I'll leave that aside and reiterate my assertion: restricting your choice to an intellectual equal is every bit as shalllow as wanting to date models from the perspective of someone who is less than your intellectual equal, because it ignores other qualities that person might possess in favor of one "must have" from the genetic lottery.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:44 PM
horizontal rule
472

I find it's helpful to make little lists of what seems to attract me to people because otherwise my attraction is so sudden and unpredictable that I have no idea what's happening to me. I remember a guy from my MA program who, despite being really personally vile, made me blush and stammer every time he was in the room. When I finally figured out that I am cursed with a horrible and sudden attraction to soft-spoken green-eyed dudes, I was finally able to relax a little. My attraction lists are not what I'm looking for, so much as they are a prophylactic against instantaneous social disaster. We finally forged a relationship as lifelong frenemies.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
473

443:a lot of smart people aren't deeply interested in people, use intelligence as a refuge from sociability, etc.

I resent that remark, but it probably doesn't apply to me anyway. But I resent it anyway.

Speaking of defensiveness, and intelligence/sparkling repartee being the moral equivalent of big tits, or skin color, or religiousness or political affiliation, need I remind people of my aversion to blondes? I can relate to ogged's bigotry.
Way we're brought up, I guess.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
474

I realize that intelligence is neither morally virtuous nor a straightforward quantity, but boy, something about reading multiple men talk about how their wives aren't as smart as they are, but it's okay because they're giving and kind and beautiful, is really bumming me out.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
475

I'm in love with Heebie too. On Saturday night, I have a date with a woman who has a very Heebie-esque email presence. Cheerful, whimsical, obvious intellect used to concoct strings of silly puns, etc. I have some hopes, although if it happens it would have to be long-distance for a bit, which I hate. So my enthusiasm is restrained.

But I think that in principle at least this is a good solution to the very limited supply of original Heebie.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
476

Knecht, are you talking about native intelligence, or education?


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:47 PM
horizontal rule
477

Declaring someone not your intellectual equal serves to cast you as a superior, which seems distasteful.

This is just wrong, or should be. Being unusually smart is just a fact about who you are. It's doesn't do any more to make you superior than being white does. But, like being white, it has consequences in your interactions with others.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:47 PM
horizontal rule
478

Nor does it prevent stupid typos.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:50 PM
horizontal rule
479

473: sorry to cause resentment, McManus. FWIW, I think you've been on a roll lately, and I've been totally into your comments. Many have struck me as very wise. If occasionally a bit curmudgeonly.

For some reason, I was heartened to learn that you are married.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:50 PM
horizontal rule
480

474: I think that upthread some women may have been hinting at the same thing about their husbands as well.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:51 PM
horizontal rule
481

Belle Waring: way smarter than Holbo.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:52 PM
horizontal rule
482

474: Does it make you feel better if I say the same thing about shivbunny? He's not dumb, but we know who wears the brains.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:53 PM
horizontal rule
483

476: In which comment?

Here amongst ourselves, we ought to be able to admit that yeah, we're smarter than most of the people we run into, and yeah, that affects our social lives.

No disagreement there. My original response was not intended as a rebuke to ogged for being stuck up, but as a pladoyer for him to think more broadly about what might characterize a compatible partner. As long as he isn't earnestly seeking a relationship, none of this matters. But in the moment he is seeking one, I would counsel him not to think too restrictively about mental whateverness, because he might miss out on some fine candidates.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:54 PM
horizontal rule
484

479:Never said I was married, tho I think heebie did. Never said I wasn't. Actually, she is smart enough to pointedly tell me not to put her on the web.

This topic remains unexplored. In the quasi-feminist blogosphere, the dude complains there just ain't enough Dorothy Parkers, or more accurately complains that his friends aren't setting him up with Dorothy Parkers, and all the commenting Dorothys go:"Awwwwww."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:55 PM
horizontal rule
485

not to think too restrictively about mental whateverness

But this, unlike ruling out Russians and those who wear make-up, isn't something that one can discern beforehand. Things are either comfortable or they're not. It's a filter, but not in the same way as the objectionable stuff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:56 PM
horizontal rule
486

Knecht Ruprecht: totally wrong about who is the smarter one.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:57 PM
horizontal rule
487

Perhaps I should clarify that I'm not thinking poorly of ogged for ruling out people on mental whateverness/chemistry/simpatico/spark. If you can't rule out people when you don't like them that way, christ, where are we then?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
488

pladoyer

Is this an English word?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:58 PM
horizontal rule
489

I realize that intelligence is neither morally virtuous nor a straightforward quantity, but boy, something about reading multiple men talk about how their wives aren't as smart as they are, but it's okay because they're giving and kind and beautiful, is really bumming me out.

Rfts, would it console you if I said that my girlfriends who are married to men who are a noticeable step down in smarts use similar language? 'He's just so loving and so good-looking.'


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 9:59 PM
horizontal rule
490

482: Not particularly. Thanks for trying, though! (I mean that sincerely.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
491

474, 480-82, et seq.: Hm, yes. Appearing not quite as smart as one's boyfriend or husband is a skill a lot of women acquire pretty early on. I am skeptical of a single quick-witted/smartness/intelligence dimension. For example, I, of course, am sparklingly witty and charming in person, much moreso than Mrs Gonerill, who is merely beautiful and charismatic. But on any measurable quantity besides the capacity to produce high-quality one-liners, she is a fuck of a lot smarter than I am.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:01 PM
horizontal rule
492

Things are either comfortable or they're not.

Sorry, you're slipping back into tautology. If the criterion is "someone I feel comfortable with", you can scarcely blame your friends for failing to discern this beforehand.

But if your criterion is "has mental horsepower like I do"--as you implied in your original post--and you consider that identical with "someone I can feel comfortable with", then you might want to train yourself to feel comfortable with girls from, say, the fourth quintile of smarts, because you'll open up a lot more opportunities that way. Pragmatic advice, that's all.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:02 PM
horizontal rule
493

474: Meh, none of the *really* smart chicks would take me, because they were all going after people smarter than *them.*


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:02 PM
horizontal rule
494

Here amongst ourselves, we ought to be able to admit that yeah, we're smarter than most of the people we run into, and yeah, that affects our social lives.

I object! I tend to think time spent "admitting" to one another that we're smarter than most people, rather than the intellect itself, is (if anything) what affects social lives. Look, if you walk around thinking of yourself as "smarter than most," even the real dummies are probably going to be able to pick up on that. Andif you think you conceal it, you're probably not as smart as you think. Picking up on that attitude affects how these dummies are going to interact with you. (Disclaimer: not accusing Ogged of intending this at all in the post -- though I do think the "not smart enough" semantics opens the post up to this sort of interpretation. It's a gateway thought-process!)

Honest to God, everyone has something to offer. The truly smart ones figure out that by taking the time to listen and engage, they can learn a thing or two from their "inferiors." Which is not to say there's anything wrong with saying, "Hey, I am not intellectually stimulated by this person," or "There's just no connection." It's the "she's not smart enough" step that I find condescending.

Apologies if I am being too grumpy here, but per 244, I am trying to be clever...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:03 PM
horizontal rule
495

what difference is there between an "open marriage" and the sort of polyamory that is apparently bad and ridiculous, which is worse?

Must I always be called upon to defend my flippant sweeping generalizations?

Okay. My issue with Polyamory as Lifestyle is that, ime, a lot of people who, as AWB said, center their identity around this sort of thing are, shall we say, working through Issues. And there's a lot of the kind of arrested emotional development posturing about Superior Communication and More Evolved Ideas of Love and such like, and aesthetically that just annoys me. Plus I'm really dubious that people can arrange their lives around principles and ideas.

In contrast, I think assessing things like who you are and what values you have (as opposed to what values do you wish you had), and then arranging your principles and ideas around that, is workable. I don't think that Lifelong Fidelity is the answer any more than Polyamory is; every relationship is made by the people in it, blah blah, and you sort of figure shit out as you go along. I ended up in an open marriage because, step by step, that's sort of just what happened, rather than because I set out to do this thing that I thought from the outset was Righteous and Correct.

Probably this is just a version of the whole, "I'm a vegetarian but I can't stand people who lecture everyone else about eating meat" thing, and I'm being an ass. I was in a goofy mood earlier when I posted the initial remarks. But like really, don't you kind of know what I mean?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:05 PM
horizontal rule
496

you might want to train yourself to feel comfortable with girls from, say, the fourth quintile of smarts, because you'll open up a lot more opportunities that way. Pragmatic advice, that's all.

You're starting to sound a bit like the Stoics: train yourself to desire what you have and to not desire what you do not. Well, ok, but what fun is that?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:05 PM
horizontal rule
497

pladoyer: Is this an English word?

Sorry, typo. Should be "plaidoyer". And no, it's not English. It's a French loan-word, meaning the closing argument in a trial.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:07 PM
horizontal rule
498

496:You got something against self-abuse?

Where's Emerson?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:07 PM
horizontal rule
499

400+ comments ago: "What ogged is trying to say is, he can only date white people."

James Watson has your back, Ogged!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:08 PM
horizontal rule
500

Kobe Kobe Kobe!

Kobe.

(Kobe.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:09 PM
horizontal rule
501

I have recently realized that a gentleman of my regular acquaintance for the past few years has a rather searing crush on me. (Let's say that I noticed that he liked me and stuff, but only when he caught me flirting with someone else did this become notably apparent to everyone.) He's extremely intelligent, very highly educated, and is quite successful as an artist. He's good-looking, nice, thoughtful, within an acceptable age-range and all of that. But something about him strikes me as deeply conventional and dull. I hate myself for thinking it, but although he'll hold up very well in most conversations, he'll suddenly make "jokes" that are totally rote, unclever, and almost annoying.

I am nice to him, and even a tiny bit flirty, and if he asked me out, I think I would say yes, at least once. But I cannot imagine feeling, like, attracted to him. And I hate myself for it. There's a total lack of the frisson that's there with someone I really like---no spark of eros or awkwardness or manipulated language. And I feel really bad about it.

But part of the reason I am not keener on him is that I really do get that spark a lot, from a lot of people. He's just the only one likely to ask me out in the next month. Sigh.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:10 PM
horizontal rule
502

Ah, James Watson. A legendary asshat in his own field and beyond.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:10 PM
horizontal rule
503

B, check your e-mail.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:11 PM
horizontal rule
504

check your e-mail

People say this a lot, but don't the folks here have their email auto-checking like, every minute?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:13 PM
horizontal rule
505

So what's the deal with people turning down others for being too smart for them? I didn't know the green-eyed jealousy reference and won't date anyone who does.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
506

Of course I don't put it this way to anyone trying to set me up; I understand how it's rude.

You ask about your other filters though, right?

"Wait, you're not setting me up with some damn Russian or a chick who's done double penetration, are you?"


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
507

People say this a lot, but don't the folks here have their email auto-checking like, every minute?

It's like the custom of saying "leave a message after the beep", even though it's been years since anyone needed instructions for how to use voice mail.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
508

I just want everyone to know that the email referenced in 503 is the funniest email I have ever received in my life.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
509

don't the folks here have their email auto-checking like, every minute?

Yes, but sometimes you want a response *right now*.

Also, for whatever reason, sometimes my gmail doesn't forward to my POP account for several minutes. SO annoying.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:17 PM
horizontal rule
510

508: almost mean to say that and then not be able to share it. I'm assuming you've received lots and lots of emails in your life.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:19 PM
horizontal rule
511

I was going to make a comment that the "check your email" convention is just a subtle trick for publically showing off that you correspond by email with the cool kids. Then B went and one-upped it by gloating about how funny the email was...

[I would add an emoticon to clarify that I am just being silly, but since those are disfavored I will use a cool max-like end parenthetical instead.]


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:20 PM
horizontal rule
512

504: I only get my non-work accounts if I manually check it, cuz I only have webmail set up.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:20 PM
horizontal rule
513

I'm starting to think I have a stress fracture. Do you know how much of a fucking annoying hassle that is? It is the most annoying thing anyone has announced recently in Unfogged comments.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:21 PM
horizontal rule
514

Everyone has something to offer. The truly smart ones figure out that by taking the time to listen and engage, they can learn a thing or two from their "inferiors."

There is a great quote from Kin Hubbard, to which google unfortunately fails to lead me, that goes more or less: "It takes a smart one to recognize the smart in the other feller."

You're starting to sound a bit like the Stoics: train yourself to desire what you have and to not desire what you do not. Well, ok, but what fun is that?

Once again, as long as you don't mind being single, go ahead and hold out for what you've convinced yourself you want. In optimization routines, sometimes no solution can be found until a constraint is relaxed. Comparing the resulting optimum to the desired outcome sometimes reveals the original constraint to have been superfluous.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:22 PM
horizontal rule
515

It was only funny because I'm an idiot. I forgot my AIM handle, and haven't been able to get in since I switched computers. B and I have chatted in the past, so...


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:22 PM
horizontal rule
516

I know lots of couples where if you stack up one's academic achievements or IQ or whatever against the other's, yeah, there's probably a difference, but who cares? But there are others who don't really seem to be operating on the same intellectual playing field at all, and that I find odd. Less about IQ than that it's odd to imagine how they'd have a conversations about a bunch of different subjects without one of them having to consciously dumb things down for the other. (I don't mean "dumbing down" merely in the sense of avoiding jargon & making yourself comprehensible to someone who's not in your field.).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:22 PM
horizontal rule
517

It is the most annoying thing anyone has announced recently in Unfogged comments.

if we leave aside bloody stools, unexplained weight loss, and the tragic loss of close relatives, yes.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:24 PM
horizontal rule
518

Chopper, you're not doing yourself justice.

Actual email text:

Dude, what's my AIM alias? I bought a new computer and I can't remember.

See? Hilarious.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:25 PM
horizontal rule
519

With the smartest woman I ever dated, it was kind of a cool experience. She would get what I was driving at like halfway through my explanation, and then jump straight to a totally new and helpful perspective that I wouldn't have thought of. It was good just to subject my understanding of things to the penetrating light of her understanding. I placed more stock in pure analytic intelligence after being with her.

She was a hard science prof. In my experience hard science Phds have the most raw intelligence.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:26 PM
horizontal rule
520

People say this a lot, but don't the folks here have their email auto-checking like, every minute?

Man, what an old crank.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:27 PM
horizontal rule
521

For a guy with a terrible memory, I'm remarkably consistent.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:29 PM
horizontal rule
522

517: "Recent" at Unfogged is like the last day or two. That incorporates a thousand or so comments.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:29 PM
horizontal rule
523

I don't check my istherenosininit email but a couple of times a day, since my realname mail is also on gmail. It makes sense to call one's attention to these things when pseuds are involved.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:29 PM
horizontal rule
524

Being unusually smart is just a fact about who you are.

Ogged's not actually that smart.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:31 PM
horizontal rule
525

He's reasonably clever, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:32 PM
horizontal rule
526

He just knows how to open a door real nice.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:32 PM
horizontal rule
527

Problem solved!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:32 PM
horizontal rule
528

He's never opened a door for me. He did pick up a check once, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:33 PM
horizontal rule
529

Picked it up and handed it to you? So gentle! Like a swan.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:33 PM
horizontal rule
530

AWB, it is possible to have two gmail accounts open at once, depending on your os/browser.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:34 PM
horizontal rule
531

I'm off to bed. Having carried almost alone (thanks, Di) the burden of browbeating ogged that is normally shared by the entire commenter community, I need my rest.

Next time I'm returning to my customary posture of defending ogged.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:34 PM
horizontal rule
532

Picked it up and handed it to you?

Exactly. While saying, "because I'm a feminist."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:35 PM
horizontal rule
533

523: you can set up your "main" gmail account so you reply with the same address a message was sent to (or to which a message was sent), since they are both gmail.


Posted by: feldspar | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:35 PM
horizontal rule
534

532: Right, and then I passed it to Ben, because I'm a feminist too.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
535

532: so smooth. Feminism=serving women's needs. Sometimes a woman needs dinner for free.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
536

As to those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in God's path, give them, then, the tidings of a painful agony: on a day when these things shall be heated in hell-fire, and their foreheads, and their sides, and their backs shall be branded therewith.


Posted by: Kin Hubbard | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:38 PM
horizontal rule
537

I totally misunderstood 529/532. Once again, the lack of a delete feature on Unfogged becomes problematic.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:38 PM
horizontal rule
538

533: I believe we went over this issue with a commenter I won't name for pseudonymity's sake, and, upon testing, we discovered that the main account still shows in the full e-mail mumbly-jumbly if you expand it. So it's not a foolproof pseudonym-hiding approach, but I use it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:40 PM
horizontal rule
539

If you use Firefox, you can get the IEtab extension (which lets you open a tab within firefox using the internet explorer engine, so basically a separate browser in a firefox tab) and open one of the gmail accounts in that. There might be other ways, but I don't know them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:42 PM
horizontal rule
540

536: Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter


Posted by: feldspar | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:45 PM
horizontal rule
541

538: Good to know.


Posted by: feldspar | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 10:45 PM
horizontal rule
542

Ogged,

You could post a personals ad in the form of a math problem, like Google does for its recruiting ads.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:13 PM
horizontal rule
543

86364433 is a prime, by the way


Posted by: feldspar | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:17 PM
horizontal rule
544

Way late into this, but I'm machineless. Smart isn't necessarily the relevant metric; how can tell whether someone is smart or not until you've known them a while? As in, way longer than one date? I'm no authority about this sort of thing, though. I've never seriously dated anyone smarter than me, and I've rarely dated anyone significantly dumber. The only time it's bothered me was when I was being an ass about relationship problems unrelated to intelligence.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-17-07 11:49 PM
horizontal rule
545

I object! I tend to think time spent "admitting" to one another that we're smarter than most people, rather than the intellect itself, is (if anything) what affects social lives. Look, if you walk around thinking of yourself as "smarter than most," even the real dummies are probably going to be able to pick up on that. Andif you think you conceal it, you're probably not as smart as you think. Picking up on that attitude affects how these dummies are going to interact with you.

Oh bullshit. That's not grumpy, it's just wrong and condescending.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:08 AM
horizontal rule
546

As to those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in God's path, give them, then, the tidings of a painful agony: on a day when these things shall be heated in hell-fire, and their foreheads, and their sides, and their backs shall be branded therewith.

ITYM "if meat and drink thou ne'er gav'st nane, the fire shall burn thee to the bare bane".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:11 AM
horizontal rule
547

bullshit . . . it's wrong and condescending

Counterbullshit. Assuming, and therefore projecting, that you're the smartest guy in the room is a safe way to prevent yourself from learning otherwise. Being smart carries no special moral or social worth, and acting like it does doesn't change a damn thing.

494 seconded, or whatevered, I can't be bothered to read the thread.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:42 AM
horizontal rule
548

I'm with those people arguing 'exactly-as-smart' isn't all that in a relationship. In the same broad general arena, yes. 150-IQ*-woman isn't generally likely to get on great with 100-IQ-guy, and vice versa. But other than that, it's less of a big deal than lots of other things.

Intellectual curiosity, and a real interest in stuff [whether that's art, languages, literature, movies, music, or whatever] matters much more than raw analytical skill. On the raw analytical skill level, I'm going to just roll over pretty much anyone and it would be dumb to keep looking for someone who was an exact equal.

Definitely no Tories [or Republicans], no religious people, and probably no middle-class or upper-class people.

* all the usual IQ caveats, yadda yadda.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:43 AM
horizontal rule
549

547: Uh-huh. And extrapolating an entire worldview and presentation of self from comments like the ones you're objecting to is (a) an asshole move, and (b) suggestive that you have some intelligence hangups of your own to work through. But if reading the thread weren't beneath your oh-so-enlightened standards, you might learn that one of the things that we've been talking about is that finding people whose intelligence blows you away is a pretty damn cool thing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:50 AM
horizontal rule
550

545, 547, 549: Don't hate, love.


Posted by: feldspar | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:10 AM
horizontal rule
551

549: Jesus. I'm not trying to accuse you, in particular, of any of this. That would be, as you say, an "asshole move". The attitudes I described were mine as recently as my 15th birthday, but I see them displayed quite often. I still stand by my seconding of 494, however. She said it better than I could. How enlightened I am, only Bitch and History can judge.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:16 AM
horizontal rule
552

That said, I can see how 547 might be read that way, and I apologize for the implication, but I still don't take your point. How is 494 condescending?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:36 AM
horizontal rule
553

550: The only thing I mean to be hating on is the high-schoolish projection of stuck-up-edness on those who don't work hard enough at protecting the egos of the insecure. Intelligence is not superiority, is not moral worth, is often not even particularly useful or practical. It ought to be possible to acknowledge its existence without being accused of playing "I'm better than you" games, particularly when one expressly disclaims any interest in doing so.

551: Maybe better not to come on so strong without bothering to put those comments in context, then. Di was responding to something specific I said and I was responding to something specific she said.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:39 AM
horizontal rule
554

553: Fair enough. How I got involved, I don't know. I'm not even all that smart.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:52 AM
horizontal rule
555

553 posted before I saw 552. I'm having a hard time understanding how you could miss the condescension in 494 if you read it as a response to the words it quoted and in the context of the rest of the thread. It creates a straw asshole out of what ought to be a pretty innocuous and non-controversial thing to acknowledge, and it does so by assuming that anyone with the temerity to admit to being smarter than the average bear must organize their identity around that and lack the self-awareness to understand that they're really a stuck-up asshole.

Having said that, I don't think that's what Di intended, and 545 was intended to express exasperation rather than anger. Your jumping in when and how you did kicked the reaction up several notches, for which I apologize. There are still a few tender spots from past traumas in this area.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:54 AM
horizontal rule
556

554: And I can see how if you just read the quoted bits and the responses you could respond as you did. But long conversation, longer history, and maybe just a tiny little touch of hypersensitivity.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:56 AM
horizontal rule
557

556: Understood. But wait! Don't let's suck each other's dicks quite yet: I still agree with Di. Also, goodnight.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:23 AM
horizontal rule
558

Not sure what you're agreeing with Di on. If it's that what she described is a thought process that exists in the world, comity. If it's that that thought process is what's happening in this thread, not comity. Bedtime, comity.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:27 AM
horizontal rule
559

#543: Well, duh.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:55 AM
horizontal rule
560

475: But Heebie's puns aren't silly, marcus. They're very high-IQ, well-educated puns worthy of the best of us. You aren't even going to be on the waiting queue for the scarce resource now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:03 AM
horizontal rule
561

495: Must I always be called upon to defend my flippant sweeping generalizations?

Yes.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:06 AM
horizontal rule
562

The only thing I mean to be hating on is the high-schoolish projection of stuck-up-edness on those who don't work hard enough at protecting the egos of the insecure.

I don't know if this was directed at my comment in 494 or at the discussion thereof with foolishmortal, but the projection of insecure egos on people who find admissions that one is smarter than most people off-putting is itself off-putting. My point (which I really don't see as condescending, but feel free to explain to me why you think it is) is that blaming your problems on your superiority in any given dimension is counterproductive, perhaps a bit defensively self-protective.

"The reason I can't find love/happiness is because I'm too [smart][beautiful][rich][etc.]" is an easy answer that really just shifts the blame onto the rest of the world for not being quite good enough.

And yes, I fully realize that, in light of some of the griping I have done in these here parts, it may be just a touch on the ironic side for me to be waxing philosophical about how to find love...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:39 AM
horizontal rule
563

Jeez people. Di Kotimy was being sarcastic in 494.

What could be more sarcastic than this:
Honest to God, everyone has something to offer.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:53 AM
horizontal rule
564

On the raw analytical skill level, I'm going to just roll over pretty much anyone

nattarGcM ttaM: The smartest person in the world! Who knew?

Now that's arrogance.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
565

563:Honest to God, everyone has something to offer.

I have proffered such assertions here and elsewhere, for instance, arguing at the Valve that SF can't be understand unless the worst of the genre is read sympathetically.

On my bad days, I am channeling Melanie Safka. On what I consider my better days, it is a matter of taking Sturgeon's Law seriously, even with the intrinsic Sorites problem. It's all shit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 7:42 AM
horizontal rule
566

My point (which I really don't see as condescending, but feel free to explain to me why you think it is) is that blaming your problems on your superiority in any given dimension is counterproductive, perhaps a bit defensively self-protective.

Well, it seems condescending because it overgeneralizes, and dismisses something that can be a real problem for some people as merely a symptom of their being arrogant assholes (you didn't use these words, but it seems implicit in your framing of the problem). Some people are cleverer than others, and for some subset of those people, the fact that they are cleverer is going to affect their tastes and habits in a way that will both make them less attractive to the less clever, and will make the less clever less attractive to them.

If 'clever' (Ogged's 'whateverishness') is something you really want in a partner, obviously, you're not entitled to it -- no one's entitled to anything. But you're not 'shifting the blame' or doing anything wrong by not being attracted to people who don't have it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
567

I haven't read the rest of the thread, but I further wanted to say that my name for a quality that I think encompasses what ogged describes, and some other things too, is "personal sparkle."


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
568

re: 564

Heh, that wasn't what I meant.

I'm a philosopher, educated in a system and a place that particularly privileges the ability to extract the 'meat' from an argument quickly and then humiliatingly and spontaneously pwn people. That's just one skill, and not even a particularly impressive one if your goal is to, say, produce useful and lasting working. It's emphatically not the be all and end all of 'smart'.

However, with respect to that one particular skill, I'm pretty fucking good. Best I know, or best I've ever met? Definitely not. Better than 99.999% of the people I've ever met or am likely to meet in a romantic context, sure.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 7:48 AM
horizontal rule
569

no one's entitled to anything

I can't wait until I become a Republican and we discuss healthcare again.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
570

I think the kind of compatibility we're arguing about here is more and more significant to us because of long-term changes in society and how lives are lived.

We're all tempted to deprecate an over-reliance on "sensibility" when it's the high-schooler talking, because so much growing is yet to be done, but a man in his mid-thirties is a formed creature, and so is the woman he's been fixed up with.

The man and woman will both have jobs, usually careers and professions, chances are those are already fixed and firm. They will not need nor be able to rely on each other's skill or at least competence to survive and flourish, as most people have in marriages through all history. These things kept people together even before they had children, and gave them ways to express and fulfill themselves we often lack now.

Nowadays we are looking for someone to enjoy "free time" with. If mind-play and wit are things you enjoy then a partner who also enjoys them is worth a lot more to you than one who doesn't.

A marriage is something different, but is often still going to put a premium on partners with whom you can enjoy yourself fully. Things will happen which bring other qualities to the fore, and character will count then, but you shouldn't have to choose. You should have both.

Several of us here decided to get married to the person we were already relaxed and comfortable with after we went through a bad experience together. A serious moment of pain and vulnerability, where one stood by the other. When the companionable person is also committed enough to be reliable when it counts.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
571

Okay, while we're sharing, here's a "I'm just too darn smart" problem that annoys the hell out of me, but I'm usually too embarrassed to bitch about except in contexts where other people are taking heat already for being even more arrogant than I am. (See 564.)

Two or three times a year, some friend or acquaintance will bring up, out of the blue, how darn smart I am, usually framed as how much smarter than the speaker, particularly, I am. And while it seems to be well-meant flattery, it gives me the willies, because it always comes from people who I think of as peers, rather than people I genuinely think of as a little slower than I am. And I don't know how to react -- I waver between wanting to apologize for whatever I said that seemed like a put-down, or say 'but you're just as smart as I am' except that seems condescending, or just smile nervously and change the subject.

It feels as if I'm somehow engaged in this series of 'who's smarter' competitions with people, which they end up graciously conceding, except I didn't know we were competing about anything, and I didn't know they lost. But I wish people would stop doing it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
572

571: That's such a smart comment, LB!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
573

while it seems to be well-meant flattery, it gives me the willies

I hear you, sister. Particularly bad: when you get "smartest guy I know" in front of another friend who is just as smart. It's particularly annoying because what the hell do you say after that? It better be smart!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
574

re: 571

I'm not being arrogant, honest!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:02 AM
horizontal rule
575

I'm not being arrogant, honest!

ttaM is so arrogant he thinks he can control our minds.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
576

I'm really good at putting past events in chronological order. Like with other people's childhoods: "You couldn't have had that dog in 8th grade, because you said that you moved from the yellow house in 7th grade and that your dog was buried out back of the yellow house."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
577

re: 575

Yes! By the power of language. I must be stopped before my infernal plan to communicate via words takes over the world.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
578

I mean, as long as we're bragging.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:04 AM
horizontal rule
579

Ah, mighty Unfoggetariat. Am I the only one in whom this whole conversation has triggered intense fear of my own stupidity?

Y'all are intellectual rocks, perhaps.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
580

plan to communicate via words takes over the world

America is 1.5 years away from the language weapon.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:06 AM
horizontal rule
581

571: Jokes aside, I get that, and it's disconcerting. And perhaps because I'm less comfortable with competitiveness than I think you are, the sense that I've "beaten" someone in a game I didn't think I was playing gives me the willies too.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
582

Okay, I'm going away now. You can all fear my stupidity by yourselves. (Sigh...use preview on Unfogged; find blog where people aren't witty, so that I can sparkle more.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
583

Particularly bad: when you get "smartest guy I know" in front of another friend who is just as smart.

If it helps, focus on the likely translation: "He's a nice who just cannot get laid, and he probably needs an emotional pickup."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
584

576. But she hated the people who had made her move out of her much loved house, so she crept back there with the dead dog one night while she was in 8th grade, and buried it under their favourite rose bush, just not quite deep enough.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
585

579: Just find that thread where everyone was supplying evidence of their child prodiginess - "I read the encyclopedia spliced with Voltaire and then shot a bear when I was only three!" - and then this thread will seem mild in comparison.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
586

re: 580

We Scots have been using our impenetrable accents and obscure vocabulary to prevent our weapon proliferating into the wider world. It's a humanitarian service we don't get thanked for enough.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
587

Ah, an analytic philosopher! That explains a lot. Some of my best friends are analytic philosophers. (And there are a fair minority of women in the field too...but I guess you don't meet them in a romantic context). Anyway, hold on to that attitude, being not-so-secretly convinced that you're the smartest guy around is a real asset in that profession. Like a boxer has to believe he can take out anybody.

Like I said in 519, I've found hard science Phds to be the smartest of all academics. One reason is that their discipline trains them to be very observant and responsive to phenomena. They're optimized to understand the world as opposed to understanding other peoples' arguments.

P.S. I am not a hard science Phd.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
588

and buried it under their favourite rose bush, just not quite deep enough.

I think the depth of the dog burial is a secondary problem to the fact that the developers had built the neighborhood on Ye Olde Indian Burial Grounds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
589

I've found hard science Phds to be the smartest of all academics.

THAT'S RIGHT, BITCHEZ.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:11 AM
horizontal rule
590

582: Ack, yeah, this is the sort of thing that freaks me out! Dude, if there's anyone dimwitted around here, it's certainly not you. Was there some Frowner-family indoctrination that one must not admit or believe in one's own razor-sharpness?

(Admittedly, I got the reverse indoctrination, having been brought up to believe that crops successfully be grown by the light of the sheer intellectual brilliance shining out of my ass.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
591

Actually, seriously, the intelligence I'm most impressed with is people who seem to have true insight into decomposing people's fears and motivations, and how systems of people operate.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
592

587 to 568.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
593

But not that comments successfully be composed with all the words that would ordinarily be included therein.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:14 AM
horizontal rule
594

but you're just as smart as I am

Yes, an uncomfortable thing to hear. When it's happened to me, I say "but not smart enough to X," with a smile, easy for me since I am forgetful about small objects and time commitments. I also take it as a cue to shut up for a bit. I don't see reason or even curiosity as something to take pride in. Reason can be useful in times of trouble, but generally it's a curse, IMO. I'd gladly trade half my math sense for a 5% increment in people sense, maybe even just for less clumsiness.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
595

Am I the only one in whom this whole conversation has triggered intense fear of my one's own stupidity?

No.

(Actually, I'm not afraid. Just a little bit uncomfortable).


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
596

586: So, the practice of thumping people, rather than intellectually humilating them, is really an expression of the mercy in the Scottish soul?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
597

decomposing people don't fear much. Maybe a blight on--BRAINS.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:16 AM
horizontal rule
598

588. My SiL makes a living out of this. She and her husband run a small archaeology company, and whenever some developer in the Bay Area hits a burial ground, they scoot out there and do a survey for use in the ensuing lawsuit.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:17 AM
horizontal rule
599

shhhhhh - the maestro is decomposing!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
600

589: a prof of mine used to refer to math Phds when he needed an in-class example of why IQ does not fully determine worldly success.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
601

I'm the K-Fed of math phds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
602

576: I have a really good fake French accent, and I can always tell when the elevator is near my floor, even when I'm not looking at the numbers.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
603

Like I said in 519, I've found hard science Phds to be the smartest of all academics. One reason is that their discipline trains them to be very observant and responsive to phenomena. They're optimized to understand the world as opposed to understanding other peoples' arguments.

I don't really buy that there's a category of 'smartest of all academics' that members of one discipline or other disproportionately fill. I do (sort of) buy into the idea that particular disciplines favour certain kinds of skill-sets and those skill-sits are, or can be, 'differently impressive' depending on context.

re: 596

Damn right. Although, also ... David Hume.



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
604

They will not need ... each other's skill or at least competence to survive and flourish

This is wise, IMO. People don't need each other outside of childraising, and this places real stress on modern marriages. We live in a society that places little value on kindness and self-control.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
605

frowner, you're plenty smart enough for this crowd, don't worry.

i'm in a field where i'm one of the dumber ones, but the smarter ones are smart enough that it's no shame to be dumber than that.

so i was pretty crushed in grad school to realize i was going to spend my life around people a lot smarter than me. but in the long run, i have come to like it.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
606

601: You have custody of Britney's kids?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:22 AM
horizontal rule
607

603: well, yeah, of course that's true. I was just trying to yank your chain.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
608

602: That would be a fun thread: What random skill are you a genius at? Points for randomness.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
609

599: if noise furthers the process we better not let him conduct.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
610

You have custody of Britney's kids?

I have custody of Britney's understanding of dynamical systems.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
611

My fake French accent is so good it gets me mileage in France. I have the best French accent of all non-French Unfogged commenters. It's probably not even close.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
612

if noise furthers the process we better not let him conduct.

He must have stage fright. Look, his knees are jelly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
613

re: 607

Yeah, my chain was yanked sufficiently that I had to go back and edit derivatives of the word 'fuck' out several times.

[sometimes I need emoticons, dammit]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
614

from Franklin's autobiography. who knew he had met ttaM?

"We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagreeable in company by the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence, besides souring and spoiling the conversation, is productive of disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you may have occasion for friendship. I had caught it by reading my father's books of dispute about religion. Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough."


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
615

612: maybe the butterflies in his stomach laid eggs that hatched, and that's the root of the problem


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:27 AM
horizontal rule
616

I'm a philosopher, educated in a system and a place that particularly privileges the ability to extract the 'meat' from an argument quickly and then humiliatingly and spontaneously pwn people.

Ah, an analytic philosopher!

Yeah, but the question is, which subfield?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
617

I've found hard science Phds to be the smartest of all academics.
Oh, yuck. Analytical talents incapable of interpersonal anything are a dime a dozen. Useful intelligence is definitely multidimensional, and a spike in this direction correlates with nothing else. I say this after having spent 6.5 years in the physics department that issued my degree. The impression that they're special comes IMO from people who are stuck on an analytical problem, can't imagine any way out, and are rescued by a "hero." Other kinds of good sense lead to solutions that one can imagine having come up with oneself in slightly altered circumstance, and so generate less respect.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
618

How did I get through this conversation without mentioning 'purple-flutedness'?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
619

614: Ben Franklin -- now *there* was a smart guy. He really had it all.

Also, I'm pretty good at doing arithmetic in my head. Math profs are no good at this I've noticed, some can't be bothered with simple arithmetic at all.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
620

618: Is that your genius skill?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:30 AM
horizontal rule
621

605: This all kind of reminds me of Paul Fussell's comment on class, to the effect that people whose class standing is perfectly all right (by which he means upper-middle) love to talk about class and will continue happily until the help has finished the dishes, but people whose class is not all right...

Speaking of which: class and intelligence. Oh, we all know that "intelligence" is kind of a proxy for class when we're talking dating; but what about how class affects people's perception of their own intelligence? And others' for that matter?

I find that I don't recognize intelligence as well when people don't speak middle-classishly. And I tend to assume intelligence when really someone simply has the vocabulary and mannerisms that derive from attending a good schoo.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
622

McG's posts are heartening because I completely agree.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
623

How did I get through this conversation without mentioning 'purple-flutedness'?

Dunno, but google has never heard of it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
624

Math profs are no good at this I've noticed, some can't be bothered with simple arithmetic at all.

My mom LOVES it when I say, "I'm a mathematician, not an arithmetician," but I personally think that joke is idiotic. Also she'll prompt me for it in large groups by saying, "Oh! Heebie! Tell the one about how you're a mathematician, not an arithmetician!" Well, Mom, there's not much more to it than that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
625

re: 616

My doctoral work [not quite finished] is in philosophy of biology and medicine. But I've taught [and am competent to teach] most of the core analytical things -- mind, epistemology and metaphysics, philosophy of science, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:34 AM
horizontal rule
626

615: Well, he did seem rooted in place. And had that glassy-eyed look. (I'm struggling, but I thought 615 was really funny.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
627

Franklin's autobiography
is a really good read.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
628

A friend who came to my wedding met shivbunny's country cousin, who found out she was a professor of mathematics and asked her an arithmetic question (poor math peeps must get this all the time.) to which she responded "That's arithmetic, not math."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
629

621: But Fussell's out was to posit a Class X, aware of class but consciously disregarding it, or swimming in the sea of it, Mao-like. Where I would put you.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
630

622

Yay!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
631

My doctoral work [not quite finished] is in philosophy of biology and medicine.

I guessed as much. That's where the slower ones end up.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
632

631 - Hah.

Actually, whenever I say what I do, I'm always keen to point out that what I do is NOT bioethics [which it isn't]. Precisely because of those kinds of insinuations.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
633

Yes, the analytic philosopher's version of this issue seems strikingly different from the more general case. It's pretty easy for me to imagine being comfortable with saying, "Well, of course my mate doesn't have my gift for the particular kind of analysis-fencing called for in my field" without any sense of casting aspersions on or condescending to the other person.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
634

IME, bioethicists are cunts.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
635

629: Fussell is so disingenuous--"Class X" is just "upper middle minus the requirement to have money plus irony and probably plus money as well". That book is very funny in places, but it's pretty clear where his sympathies lie, or rather where his antipathies do.

I do like the WWI book. But he's a snob in a very particular way.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
636

Bioethics is where people who couldn't get into good philosophy programs end up. Philosophy of medicine is where people who couldn't get into good history of science programs end up. And philosophy of biology is where hairy New Zealanders and people who like biology but have no talent for fieldwork, math or the lab end up. Simple, really.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
637

626: uh-oh. If he's turning to glass he won't conduct at all!

(phew. for a second I thought your disengagement from banter meant I wasn't smart enough to date you.)


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
638

I agree with 635. "Class X" = "don't worry, of course you and I are better than all this."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
639

Yes, 633 gets it right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
640

636 on the other hand is making me want to hit things.

Where by things I mean people.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:44 AM
horizontal rule
641

IME, bioethicists are cunts.

This strikes me as hilarious. I just find "cunt" to be a funny insult. What freakin 'ginas they are.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
642

Isn't one of the chess-playing Hungarian sisters single? Ogged!

Emerson, do you mean the Polgars? 'Cause I've got the connection for you there, ogged.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:45 AM
horizontal rule
643

I do like the 'hairy New Zealanders'. There's something about encountering national stereotypes I was entirely unaware of before.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
644

636 on the other hand is making me want to hit things.

You're right: he's actually a hairy Australian.

And Oxford, in case you're interested, is where people who went to Oxford as undergrads end up.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
645

(Your eligibility to date me is confirmed by your diamondy sparkling personality.)

Unlike old spark-less, the non-conducive glassy maestro who's fast becoming a slushy mush pot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
646

re: 644

And Oxford, in case you're interested, is where people who went to Oxford as undergrads end up.

Heh. False, in my case, but not entirely untrue as a general rule.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
647

to which she responded "That's arithmetic, not math."

Holy smokes. To me this goes with Frowner's point about class above -- one of the nastiest traits of some kinds of "intellectuals" is making other people feel stupid for asking questions that (the asker presumes) are related to the askee's field.

LW is completely right about Franklin's autobiography. Plus, bonus: The only out-of-wedlock child in American history where we're quite sure of the father and not quite sure of the mother! (Franklin's son William.)

My random skill is to construct a lot of vivid and somewhat random analogies. Coincidentally, demonstration of this skill is forbidden on this blog.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:48 AM
horizontal rule
648

Wow. I am not a genius at any random skill. I feel so inferior.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
649

This strikes me as hilarious. I just find "cunt" to be a funny insult.

The Brits have it all figured out. Hard consonants are what make for good swearing. If it weren't so over the line in the U.S., I'd be calling people cunts all the time.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
650

621: This is true. People from a different class background from mine, I have to get to know them pretty well before I have much of a sense of brains one way or the other.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
651

Heh. False, in my case, but not entirely untrue as a general rule.

Who said anything about your case? I thought you had teh mad analytic skilz.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
652

My mom LOVES it when I say, "I'm a mathematician, not an arithmetician," but I personally think that joke is idiotic. Also she'll prompt me for it in large groups by saying, "Oh! Heebie! Tell the one about how you're a mathematician, not an arithmetician!" Well, Mom, there's not much more to it than that.

You could make sure she never does it again by walking her through the set-theoretic construction of the naturals and how they mirror the Peano axioms. Then demonstrate how that can be used to calculate the tip.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
653

495:
B, I know what you mean. I have a couple of friends who stumbled into a polyamorous (or whatever) situation (meaning they fucked around on their spouses, got caught and convinced their spouses to live with continued fucking around) and they are pretty damn proud of themselves. I don't really care how many people they are sleeping with, or which one's they're married to and which ones they love - that's up to them. What I can't stand is the smug superiority and their conviction that they're being revolutionary, and sneering disdain towards anyone who hasn't seen the light. And that it's their favorite topic of conversation. Of course, it's not all that different from people who are smug and disdainful with regards to only fucking one person for their entire life.


Posted by: Nicole | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
654

Of course, you all are smart all the time, but one of my exes once said to me, quite accurately, "for someone so smart, you can be really dumb," and she didn't mean that cute, smart person's way of doing goofy things sometimes, but genuine blinking incomprehension at simple concepts, in a "wait, explain it to me five more times slowly, please" sense. I do that a lot, and more as I get older, so I feel like I have some sense of what it's like to be the dumbest person in the room, too (particularly when it's a small room of friends and acquaintances). Not fun, but pretty funny, as long as I can count on continuing to be good at some things.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
655

636: if he won't conduct, maybe he should just be ground. And that's probably what he should have been all along, lest we fall prey to his hunt for--BRAINS. MMM...BRAINS. ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHERS. MATH PHDS. LUNCH.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
656

I agree about the limitations of Class, but since you had brought it up, wanted to see where you mapped yourself.

The Great War and Modern Memory is good, and introduced me to many writers who became important to me. So did Wartime, about WWII, and Abroad, about inter-war travel writing. All those books put writers in a context, in their response to events and atmospheres, and make their importance to their contemporary readers vivid. That's his great gift.

Class is about his weakest book. Benjamin DeMott is much better, also writing in the '80s.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:56 AM
horizontal rule
657

Brains are best smothered in gravy and stuffed in a burrito.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
658

re: 651

Oh fuck off.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
659

653: Yeah, I think that's the only thing that annoys me about polys, even my friends. They really do think everyone is poly, on the inside, and just haven't realized it yet. My girlfriend is constantly offering, in response to my relationship problems, "Maybe it's just hard because you're envisioning dating a 'someone' and not 'someones,'" etc., and I keep saying, "No, seriously, I am not made that way. I get confused and distressed if two people say my name at the same time; polyamory sounds like claustrophobic hell. I am not 'becoming' poly, really."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
660

re: 657

Or used to thicken gulas.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
661

Ground brains make good brain burgers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
662

561: 495: Must I always be called upon to defend my flippant sweeping generalizations?
Yes.

Ah well.

Look, people, a big part of the problem here is the unstated assumption that "smart" or "intelligent" means "academically gifted, preferably in something that requires analysis." Which sure, is one kind of intelligence but so what?

Smart people can get away with saying "I'm good at X specific kind of thinking" or even "yeah, I'm pretty smart"--but not when they act as if smartness were a simple single talent.

And for fuck's sake, can we can the IQ nonsense?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
663

You people disdain the polys now, but just wait until they EVOLVE INTO PURE ENERGY.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
664

656: I haven't read the travel one, but it looks neat. (In theory, I'm trying to read stuff about the evolution of travel literature...in actual practice I am reading left wing science fiction! Travel...to Mars!)

The WWI and WWII books are wonderfully appealing to the non-expert, which is why I read them, of course. Sadly, I don't really remember his arguement in either (haven't read them for about ten years) but I read a lot of stuff because of them.

Of course, years of theory-reading have made me distrust his facile prose--there must be more to it than that, I think to myself. What am I missing?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:06 AM
horizontal rule
665

"for someone so smart, you can be really dumb,"

Ha! that sounds familiar. Not that I'm smart by standards here, but I get this a lot, even so, mainly from Mrs OFE.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
666

a big part of the problem here is the unstated assumption that "smart" or "intelligent" means "academically gifted, preferably in something that requires analysis.

Except that pretty much everyone has explicitly disavowed that understanding of "smart." But don't let me stop you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
667

Ground brains make good brain burghers.

really, heebie, it is so elitist of you to insist on eating the brains of the bourgeoisie. Did it never occur to you that working class brains are scrumptious too?


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
668

My special skill is flippant generalizations. And impatience.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
669

There was a bioethicist at OHSU seemed quite good. I believe that she had been required to dumb down things in order to communicate with doctors and patients. When family members are dying, people become irrational and unwilling to think about hypothetical trolley cars.

My latest philosophical target is monkey-typewriter hypotheticals. My proposal is that no event should be hypothecized less probable than a finite number of monkeys typing the works of Shakespeare during the life of the universe. Eddington used this example.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
670

Some people are cleverer than others, and for some subset of those people, the fact that they are cleverer is going to affect their tastes and habits in a way that will both make them less attractive to the less clever, and will make the less clever less attractive to them.

First, I don't buy this entirely. Some people are very clever in different ways than other people. However sharp one is in whatever dimension, I just don't see the advantage in framing the issue in terms of being cleverer.

Second, I am not by any stretch trying to suggest that there is anything wrong with Ogged or anyone else prefering a partner with whom s/he clicks on a particular intellectual level. Even the dull-witted, after all, have tastes and habits that make them less attractive/attracted to vast numbers of people.

I am objecting purely to the choice to frame the issue in terms of the other person being "not smart enough." Maybe it's just semantics, but I tend to think word choice is significant. I would be more sympathetic if the complaint were, "It's hard finding someone who shares my passion for discussing the intricacies of microbiology" or "It's tough meeting people because they assume I always want to talk astrophysics and seem to get scared off." Hell, I am sympathetic to what everyone seems to agree Ogged meant to say, that it's hard to find someone with the particular brand of wit he finds attractive. I am trying to suggest that framing that problem by saying other people aren't "smart enough" is counterproductive.

If what you are driving at is that certain "mental whateverness," then go ahead and leave it at that. Because I do actually think going that step further and describing another person as "not smart enough" is a little arrogant and assholish.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
671

658: Scratch the analytic philosopher, discover the analytic temperament.

f course, you all are smart all the time, but one of my exes once said to me, quite accurately, "for someone so smart, you can be really dumb,"

In my experience -- especially amongst academics -- a common experience is summed up by a line of dialog from Douglas Adams: "You're smart, Mr Gently, but the trouble with you is that you think that means everyone else is stupid."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
672

659:
I'm with you on the claustrophobia thing, AWB. I can't imagine keeping the details of more than one romantic/physical relationship straight - the thought of it makes me want to run away and hide under the covers (alone) . The friends I mentioned earlier have gone one to have multiple other relationships outside their marriages, and one is on the verge of divorce (not b/c of the poly stuff, he claims), which makes their claims of superiority even more unbearable.


Posted by: Nicole | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
673

666: People have disavowed it, but there's still plenty of talk about IQ and higher ed. Explicit disavowals aren't, y'know, always supported by the evidence at hand.

If you weren't so stupid, you'd know that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
674

My superpower used to be going to bed at 2:00 a.m. and getting up at 5:00 to go to work, without an alarm clock. I hated the sound of alarm clocks so much that I essentially installed one in my head.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
675

658: Scratch the analytic philosopher, discover the analytic temperament.

Is there some history here, or are you just taking this too far due to lack of morning coffee or something?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
676

667: Working class brain burgers have too many ounions.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
677

there's still plenty of talk about IQ and higher ed

Show me just one comment where someone even implies that that's what "smart" should mean.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
678

My mother used to quote to me that scene from Broadcast News in which Holly Hunter's boss asks her, sarcastically, "It must be so difficult, always being the smartest person in every room," and she answers, in tears, "Sir, it's horrible."

I actually haven't felt that smug since I was in fourth grade. I've been lucky to have been surrounded by people much smarter than myself for a long time. But moms don't let old smugnesses die.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
679

one is on the verge of divorce (not b/c of the poly stuff, he claims)

OTOH, I will say that I wish people wouldn't assume that when poly folks get divorced, it's because they're poly. Monogamous people get divorced all the time, and marriage (or relationships generally) isn't just about sex. There are jillions of other things you can fight about and hate each other over.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
680

My problem ended up being that smart women quite sensibly wouldn't had me, while the ones dumb enough for me always seemed to have major personal problems like felonies and mental illness. The Groucho Marx problem. The curves just didn't intersect.

(Joke.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
681

OTOH, monogomous relationships break up all the time for the poly reasons.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
682

664: You're getting exactly what those books are good for. I actually think Wartime is a bit better at analyzing tropes and rhetorical patterns embedded in those events. As a valuable counter to all that Greatest Generation nonsense, it did a real service to those who read it.

He is an amateur on those subjects, and never denied it. His actual specialty was Georgics, and I've never read any of his articles about that, which are probably out-of-date anyway.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
683

Is there some history here, or are you just taking this too far due to lack of morning coffee or something?

Oh the latter, for sure, and no offence meant -- though getting told to fuck off didn't help. I probably have had my fill of analytic types who tell you how smart they are but then employ the irregular verb "I am superbly analytic and precise, you are a pedant, he can oh fuck off." But basically, yeah, I went about one comment too far in pointlessly needling ttaM, whom I have no reason whatever to be an asshole toward.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
684

Heebie is mono with a waiting list. Doesn't that make her a dominatrix?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
685

Or just a domino?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
686

there's still plenty of talk about IQ and higher ed

Show me just one comment where someone even implies that that's what "smart" should mean.

Without getting into messy issues of intent, I think there's a lot of underlying stuff about class, education and IQ-ish ideas about intelligence in this thread--there almost has to be. "Intelligence" and "wit" are expressed--they become visible to us--according to class and professional norms.

That's not the same as saying that people believe that only middle class professionals who have a jargon are intelligent, but there's something like that lurking in these conversations.

Especially when you mix dating and attraction and 'intelligence' as proxy for class into the whole thing.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
687

And now, off to make some espresso.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
688

A domino not falling in the forest, with no one to hear.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
689

And now, off to make some espresso.

Comity!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
690

676: okay, fine, eat your bourgie burgher, but at least have it on a proll.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:23 AM
horizontal rule
691

Tia! OUCH!


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
692

re: 683

FWIW, I really don't mind being needled. But if I think someone's being needlessly irritating, I tend to just tell them to fuck off, rather than get into it any further.

And if you have issues with analytic types take 'em out on someone else or expect to be told to fuck off. I don't think I have any track record of playing 'I'm so smart and analytic' here.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
693

670 (and also 677): See, Ogged was very clear from very early on that he was talking about 'whateverishness,' a mental capacity to 'keep up' that certainly has something to do with conventional measures of brains, but shouldn't be understood as being exactly the same as, or determined by, anything conventional. (That is, IQ is largely crap, there are plenty of dull people with advanced degrees, and brilliant people with none -- anything you can point to do isn't going to be more than a rough correlation.)

Getting annoyed because the word 'smart' is used rather than 'whateverishness' consistently seems unfair to me -- there's a real quality we're talking about, it has a real correspondence to what's colloquially understood as 'smartness', why is it offensive to talk about in those terms?

It seems unnecessary to me to warn against


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
694

Frowner, I think it's my turn to be a little cross with you: you have a habit of writing as if none of us "get" class at all, or not sufficiently. As if we don't know that what we say is class-determined and -expressive.

That's your snobbery, ime.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
695

679:
I'm assuming he's getting divorced b/c he's a smug, superior asshat, not b/c he's poly. That being said, his wife went along with whole poly thing but never really got into it the way he did - so it doesn't seem like a stretch to think she's just had enough of a situation that's working for him but not her. OTOH, it's none of my business and I sure as hell don't want to get involved in what the real reasons re.


Posted by: Nicole | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
696

677:

In my experience hard science Phds have the most raw intelligence.

In the same broad general arena, yes. 150-IQ*-woman isn't generally likely to get on great with 100-IQ-guy, and vice versa.

i'm in a field where i'm one of the dumber ones

We live in a society that places little value on kindness and self-control.

Now, the people making all those comments either disavowed the idea that IQ or being good at hard science is the ne plus ultra of intelligence; but nonetheless, we (the world collectively, not just us personally) still talk about intelligence as if there were such a thing as "raw intelligence" or as if IQ were a kind of bottom line useful measure of something, or as if being good at X in your field = smart/dumb, or as if kindness and self-control didn't require intelligence.

So, nyah.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
697

I am headed to Kansas for my 10-year reunion in about half an hour. I know I have a few friends who will be there, but there is a deeply snobby part of me that knows that most of the evening will be spent trying desperately to think of something to talk about with the rest of them. Tonks, who sometimes comments here, has vowed that if it's really deadly dull, we'll make out.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
698

686: Huh. I'm not sure there's all that much of that going on here. I will completely accept that people are largely unwilling to date or socialize across class lines, absolutely. And I will further accept that intellectual compatibility of the kind we're talking about is easier to identify within a reasonably homogenous social group.

But as someone who recognizes Ogged's issue here, it really doesn't feel as if looking for intellectual compatibility is a cover for class considerations -- perceived (by me) dullness or the reverse doesn't track at all well with class status within the range where I'm likely to be friendly with someone at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
699

I tend to just tell them to fuck off, rather than get into it any further. And if you have issues with analytic types take 'em out on someone else or expect to be told to fuck off

Oh, fuck off yourself. I acknowledged you didn't deserve me being kind of an asshole, so feel free to drop the manly BS.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
700

Last line of 693 is an editing error.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
701

694: Oh, I have lots of other snobberies, never fear.

But no, that wasn't a rebuke to Everyone Less Sensitive Than Me; it was a specific agreement with B and disagreement with Ogged. Lousy Ogged!

Perhaps my poor command of house style made it misleading.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
702

43: fuck off.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
703

Also, what Frowner said in 686.

695: Right, but in that case the poly thing is a symptom of the assholishness, not a cause. (Crap, I just contradicted myself. Oh well.)

692: TROLL.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
704

702: fuck off, 43 s/b 4.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:36 AM
horizontal rule
705

704: fuck off!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
706

705: no, you fuck off.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
707

HOWEVER! I will admit that I was being impatient and glossing a general impression of a lot of comments read quickly! Yes! I was doing that!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:39 AM
horizontal rule
708

re: 699

You're right, it did come off as 'manly bullshit'. Fair enough.

The anti-analytic thing is kind of annoying since I explicitly stated way back that, with respect to that kind of thing:

That's just one skill, and not even a particularly impressive one if your goal is to, say, produce useful and lasting working. It's emphatically not the be all and end all of 'smart'.

Whereas, if I understand your 683 right, you were annoyed with me because some analytic types take a different/opposite view?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
709

But as someone who recognizes Ogged's issue here, it really doesn't feel as if looking for intellectual compatibility is a cover for class considerations -- perceived (by me) dullness or the reverse doesn't track at all well with class status within the range where I'm likely to be friendly with someone at all.

I don't know if I'd call this kind of thing a cover at all.

(I have no idea about Ogged's specific behavior; I here commence to generalize)

There isn't--as B notes--"raw intelligence". There is "intelligence" expressed according to class/professional/social modalities. The type of "intelligence" one looks for in a date is going to be tied up with class expectations, whether that's "oh, I like people who have a professional/college-educated/second-generation-upper-middle affect" or whether it is, as with me, "I like nervy lower-middle-class guys who are usually in deskilled white collar fields". Or even several! It's rather, in fact, like having 'types'...

It's not exactly sinister, is what I'm saying. But as a function of class stratification it's interesting.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
710

"Intelligence" and "wit" are expressed--they become visible to us--according to class and professional norms.

Wait, I just saw this. It's completely false. You can't tell when when your plumber or delivery man is clever? What's the matter with you?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
711

Whereas, if I understand your 683 right, you were annoyed with me because some analytic types take a different/opposite view?

I got no beef with you. Put it down to pre-coffee trolling. Also, if you want my bona fides on the analytic side, there are precisely three framed photographs in our house, and one of them is of this man.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:44 AM
horizontal rule
712

701: Yeah, against my usual pattern, I think you and B and Di have the wrong end of the stick here. Or, to put it another way, I think there's plenty of social pressure directed at the avoidance of intellectual snobbery -- the post is a complaint that Ogged has a particular taste in romantic partners that it's socially unacceptable to state explicitly, but the people who fix him up aren't understanding.

I don't think the taste for intellectually compatible partners is wrongful (I don't think he's owed what he wants in a girlfriend, but there's nothing bad about holding out for it), and I think there's enough pressure on people not to be snobs about this sort of thing that adding more pressure here isn't all that productive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
713

re: 711

Fair enough.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
714

Unfogged: Blind Date: Snobs vs. Slobs Edition!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
715

710:

Don't the Brits use "clever" as a pejorative?

My expectations about how intelligence is demonstrated are class-based, yes. I may eventually notice that the guy who fixes my car is really astute about people or politics, but I'll notice a lot faster if the guy who does crystallography across the hall is. Also, I will probably--and this is totally irrational discount the intelligence needed to do most blue-collar jobs. (Most blue collar jobs aren't as obviously skilled as plumbing, for example.)

Also, people routinely assume that my job requires no brains at all, then get all mystified when they can't get the grant budget system to work without my help. So I have anecdata on my side!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
716

I just figured out what was bugging me before; I misidentified it earlier. It isn't IQ or higher ed as intelligence markers. It's the idea that intelligence is somehow *fixed*, something people either are or aren't, rather than that it's something malleable, a skill.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
717

Not to claw old wounds open, but I first raised my eyebrows way back at:

Bioethics is where people who couldn't get into good philosophy programs end up. Philosophy of medicine is where people who couldn't get into good history of science programs end up.

There seemed to be some peculiar kind of intra-school schism in play.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
718

707: Hi!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
719

Don't the Brits use "clever" as a pejorative?

Not as such, no. Except in the sense that anything can be a pejorative with the right amount of audible disdain.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
720

712: Oh, I agree with all that; I was kind of thinking the thread had moved well past Ogged's original post (which I'm pretty sure I agreed with more than once yesterday). Anyhoo, 716 should clarify, and again: not talking about who O does or doesn't want to date, because I basically agree with him.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
721

Intelligence is malleable, that's why I've been able to smoosh mine down so far.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
722

Maybe it would help, Frowner, if we thought about what I'm describing using Tia's "personal sparkle." Does the expression of that still seem class-based to you?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
723

Do American kids say "cleverclogs"? Probably not. What about "bossyboots"?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
724

710: We can only tell when the plumber has a kind of low cunning, ogged.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
725

718: I do it all the time. Don't we all?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
726

719: So disappointing. I had read a very funny little piece alleging that Murricans like to say that things are "clever" and "ambitious" and some other things that I forget, while Brits often used those terms to sort of damn with praise. Oh, well. Back to projecting my fantasies about Europe onto the Swedes, I guess.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
727

721: Nonsense.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
728

Sure, 'cleverclogs', 'smart-arse', etc. But those carry connotations of being both clever and full of oneself.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
729

There is "intelligence" expressed according to class/professional/social modalities.

Yeah, I think this is off in terms of the personally attractive quality we're talking about, which comes quite well across the sort of class barriers that allow for relaxed friendship.

It's impossible telling anecdotes like this without it coming off as "Look at me, Lady Bountiful, willing to socialize with my inferiors without a trace of snobbery", but here I go anyway: in the summers, I used to crew for an old guy who raced sailboats out on Eastern Long Island. Where we were, upper-middle-class people (Hi!) had summer houses, lower-middle-class people lived year round (oversimplification, but roughly accurate). There was a boy a couple of years older than me on the same crew, who I had a complete crush on because he was competent and clever and sharp -- all the stuff we're talking about here. We used to sit and ramble on about all kinds of stuff during the long downwind legs of point-to-point races when you're not doing much. And I completely embarrassed myself when he was talking about college admissions, and he mentioned having gotten a 720 on his SATs, and I said "Dude, that's great: math or verbal?" So I was an oblivious jerk there, but the point is that being sharp, like Dave was, isn't class-tied nearly as much as academic success is, and it's the being sharp that's the attractive quality being discussed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
730

My expectations about how intelligence is demonstrated are class-based, yes. I may eventually notice that the guy who fixes my car is really astute about people or politics, but I'll notice a lot faster if the guy who does crystallography across the hall is. Also, I will probably--and this is totally irrational discount the intelligence needed to do most blue-collar jobs. (Most blue collar jobs aren't as obviously skilled as plumbing, for example.)

This surprises me, but maybe it shouldn't. I worked as a laborer and then semi-skilled, more than just summers, long enough to appreciate that and have taken it for granted. But it's often been noticed how isolated most people are, not just the educated, from other people's work.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
731

715: Yeah, I think that comes down to snobbery getting in the way of noticing who's sharp; that certainly happens, all the time, but it's different from saying that valuing sharpness is a cover for snobbery.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
732

I do think that, regardless individual place and class of origin, the Unfogged comfort zone is pretty small. Hip, urban, educated, some liberal arts (regardless of major), pretty good cultural capital, quickwitted, upper middle class, and 20-40 years old. My guess is that 50% of the regulars here meet all those criteria (or if not, really need to get a good job and moving out of the boonies).

McManus tried to to raise this, talking about the aspirational class, but I wasn't in the mood that day.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
733

719. But the Brits do use Intellectual as a pejorative. See Auden:

"To the man in the street, who I'm sorry to say
Is a keen observer of life,
The word Intellectual tends to convey
A man who's untrue to his wife."

Not that the Brits really have anything against Polys, of course... But I think Auden's observation that we have a deep national mistrust of the ostentatiously clever is still true.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
734

Lady Bountiful, middle class people don't have summer houses.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
735

722: Look, let me say this for once and for all: This is what I think--that the things that attract us are substantially rooted in class. I don't think this is a sign of Ultimate Evil, or something that needs to be overcome. I don't think it's some kind of point-for-point correlation, where if we could just establish Ogged's precise class background we could find the one! perfect! date! for him. But your class background, y'all, conditions what you like and don't like.

My "personal sparkle" isn't going to be the same as that of someone who comes from old money and went to Harvard as a legacy, say.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
736

re: 732

Even those of us who don't meet all of those criteria probably meet most of them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 9:59 AM
horizontal rule
737

I don't think the taste for intellectually compatible partners is wrongful.

Nor do I, as I tried to make clear. I just find describing a person as "not smart enough" rubs me seriously the wrong way.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
738

I've seen "interesting" used as a pejorative for "ingenious but not worth bothering with." My professorial friend says that on recommendation forms "original" is code for "nuts".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
739

Di, is `not smart enough' worse or better than `not active enough'? Does it change if `intellectual' instead of `smart', or `athletic' instead of `active' ?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
740

734: Don't be silly. It totally depends on the circumstances. Mom and Dad bought our summer place for $40K in around 1980, and we rented in the city. Upper middle class, sure, but having a summer place doesn't automatically move you out of the middle class entirely.

(I know this is teasing, but this is the sort of thing that reflects how incoherent our class vocabulary is.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
741

But the Brits do use Intellectual as a pejorative.

But I thought that was an American thing!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
742

the things that attract us are substantially rooted in class

I don't think anyone disagrees with that.

My "personal sparkle" isn't going to be the same as that of someone who comes from old money and went to Harvard as a legacy, say.

Do you also do math differently than someone who comes from old money and went to Harvard as a legacy? I don't get this. Yes, modes of expression differ, but insofar as one can isolate a trait from its expression, I don't see that it's class-based.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
743

re: 738

Yeah, I had my master's thesis described by one of the examiners as 'original and perhaps interesting' and it was pretty clear he didn't meant it as a compliment.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
744

735: I think what you say is broadly true of almost everyone, but isn't strongly linked to the particular issue in the post.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:05 AM
horizontal rule
745

Here I thought most of us, maybe not all, took for granted that class narrowed our sense of compatibility, however hard it may be to define.

Just because we don't say Class! Class! Class! all the time doesn't mean we're obtuse about it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
746

LB; yeah, I was teasing. Of course, another thing about class identifiers is that the aren't completely symmetric; your self-identification isn't always something others will agree with.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
747

America is 1.5 years away from the language weapon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IysnS5wO60g


Posted by: Trevor | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
748

739: No, it still bothers me if it's "not athletic enough." I would prefer things like "We don't share the same interests" -- whether that means in intellectual pursuits, food, activities, whatever. Focusing the issue on someone else being "not X enough" is what bothers me. I'm probably being a touch oversensitive, but I have a very low tolerance for mean.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
749

I think this disucssion about whether "mental whateverness" is class linked is a place in which we're getting in trouble because of the lack of a good definition of class.

I've had a number of friends that come from different class backgrounds, but share the trait of "mental whateverness" and, frequently, that ends up making it look like the class difference is smaller than it is.

In other words, my experience is that people with high levels of "mental whateverness" tend to look more "middle class" rather than visa versa.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
750

And I add that talking about class isn't talking about snobbery. It's a lot more complex than that.

For instance: you like, say, people who can walk around the museum with you and chit-chat about constructivism. That's almost certainly totally an artefact of class--you probably learned about constructivism because you're middle class and do a lot of reading; you're probably going to be drawn to someone who has that same background. Is there a particular virtue in constructivism? Not really. After the revolution, won't we all chit-chat about constructivism at the museum? Perhaps. Is it snobbery to talk constructivism? No.

Or perhaps you are drawn to people with a different class background from yours. (I kind of am.) Is that compensation? Neurosis? Fetishization? Aspiration? (Contrast is big for me; I tend to like autodidacts)

The thing is, I don't know how all this stuff fits together. It's not pat, vulgar Marxism aside. But it's interesting.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
751

I think that part of "cultural capital" is a certain kind of grace and savoir-faire. It can be accompanied by quite considerable stupidity and creepiness, but it gives a big advantage to smart, decent people if they have it. And to a degree, you have to be born to that. Or else retrain yourself using books and movies, but that isn't quite as good.

It's just like the "confidence" thing. People who've had things go their way all their life have natural confidence, and others find it attractive and admirable.

Sometime we should probably sort out the genuinely admirable middle class traits from the trivial or harmful ones.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
752

heebie is gone. I have no one to tell about my inspiration that we could get the maestro over his stage fright by having him conduct the Brainedburger Concertos. *snif*


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
753

730: IDP, did you miss the part where Frowner said she's a secretary?

735: I'm really interested in talking about this, because I agree with you--and/but I also think that the people I've known who are in your situation, i.e., being damn smart and underemployed (according to the class markers we assign to different jobs) or undereducated, formally, are hypersensitive about the ways that intelligence is understood as both cause and symptom of social class.

I think hypersensitivity about this kind of status inconsistency definitely gives folks an awareness of things we take for granted. And it drives me crazy when people who haven't dealt with it, or have dealt with it but found it less difficult than others, poo-poo that hypersensitivity as merely personal or as having "issues."

But at the same time (and I think this is true of me on some subjects as well), I think that there's a gap between *seeing* something and being able to articulate/identify it clearly--at least, clearly enough for people to whom it's invisible to really "get" what one's trying to point to.

Which leads us full circle, of course: "getting it" *is* a sign of intelligence, but a lot of people don't get that, especially if there's a gap between what one "gets" and what one can explain.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
754

735: Your basic point initially seemed to be that class background influences what you can or can't recognize as clever or attractive, or that you will mostly be attracted to those of your own class. Neither of those things are necessarily true. (Your class can be a pretty good predictor of what sort of people you'll wind up marrying and having kids with and then divorcing, but that's different.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
755

735: Your basic point initially seemed to be that class background influences what you can or can't recognize as clever or attractive, or that you will mostly be attracted to those of your own class. Neither of those things are necessarily true. (Your class can be a pretty good predictor of what sort of people you'll wind up marrying and having kids with and then divorcing, but that's different.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
756

Shit.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
757

you like, say, people who can walk around the museum with you and chit-chat about constructivism

But again, this isn't the kind of thing I (we) am (are) talking about--that's straight-up education and background.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:14 AM
horizontal rule
758

742: But weren't we talking about the expression of it, specifically--that is, about being able to recognize it in other people?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
759

My "personal sparkle" isn't going to be the same as that of someone who comes from old money and went to Harvard as a legacy, say.

This is true, but I still feel like the argument you're making has a very mushy use of "class."

Perhaps it's just that I, my family, and most of my friends tend to be autodidacts, and I'm aware that's a character trait that is encouraged in, but not limited to certain classes and that's an important distinction.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
760

757: And we're back to NickS's point about the lack of working definitions of class.

Your basic point initially seemed to be that class background influences what you can or can't recognize as clever or attractive,

I do think this is true, but not in a "there are things that are clever and attractive in a platonic ideal way and your class background blinds you to them".


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
761

750: This is fair, but I think misidentifies the topic under discussion. Someone who's sharp and shares a lot of your cultural touchstones (constructivism or whatever, no-pants-Wodehouse kid) is fun to talk to on a different level, and the cultural touchstones are largely class-determined. But the sharpness is separable from that, and attractive even in the absence of the shared culture. (Probably not identifiable in the absence of at least some shared culture, but you know what I mean.)

I do know that talking about class isn't always talking about snobbery, but talking about class as if a non-strongly-class-linked quality could be reduced to class seems to come close.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:19 AM
horizontal rule
762

IDP, did you miss the part where Frowner said she's a secretary?

No, did you miss the part where I said:

how isolated most people are, not just the educated, from other people's work?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
763

754: They're not *necessarily* true, but they're generally true, don't you think? I mean, we (the educated middle- to upper-middle class) see, say, lots of makeup and acrylic nails as unattractive. We're made uncomfortable/offended by generalizations about gender or race or class, even if we secretly kind of think they're true (which, if so, we express by "joking" about them). We don't like swearing in general conversation, unless we sort of take pride in doing it partly because it's "frank" and "blunt". Etc.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
764

1. I'm just thinking all this through right now; there is just the teensiest possibility that I may, somewhere, be wrong.

2. I'm trying to prepare a rather dull but useful list of what-grants-people-are-paid-from while still reading Unfogged.

3. IDP, if I sound vulgar-Marxist-patronising, I apologize. That is my evil half speaking; my good half knows better.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
765

the argument you're making has a very mushy use of "class."

Well, that's kind of F's point, isn't it?

762: I read your comment as being surprised that Frowner equates intellect with class, and going on to say that, having worked as a laborer yourself, you forget that people do this. "But it's often been noticed how isolated most people [other than yourself, with your experience as a laborer] are, not just the educated, from other people's work."--and if they were less isolated, they wouldn't equate intellect with class.

Am I wrong?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
766

the argument you're making has a very mushy use of "class."

Well, that's kind of F's point, isn't it?

I don't think so. If you're making the argument that, "when you refer to trait X you're actually refering to a combination of trait X and class markers" there needs to be a clear definition of either class, or the class markers under discussion for that statement to do any work.

If class means "something vague that I can't define" than we might as well just refer to trait X.

That isn't to say that Frowner is wrong, just that the lack of a good definition for class is a bug not a feature.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
767

Please imagine the appropriate italics around the second line of the previous comment.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
768

Going back to Ogged's original statements, I think he included very bright, educated, fully middle-class women who aren't able to carry on a conversation as part of the problem. And also middle-class or rich women who are not educated AND can't carry on a conversation.

Whether uneducated women lower in class than him were intended I don't know -- I doubt that his mother and his friends are setting him up that way. So I guess there's been a topic drift.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
769

Do you also do math differently than someone who comes from old money and went to Harvard as a legacy?

Actually there are different ways to do math, even the same variety of math, and these can be conveyed culturally. A math-intensive colleague of mine once remarked on the problem-solving styles of two of his co-authors, saying "X's approach is usually effective but Y's is always elegant."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
770

Also, this thread needs more Bourdieu.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:43 AM
horizontal rule
771

766: I'm agreeing with Nick here. I hate to sound as if I'm trying to shut down a discussion of class here, because it's interesting stuff. But I'm not getting enough clarity here to be able to solidly agree or disagree with what people are saying (that is, I've been disagreeable, but I'm not clear that I'm understanding what I disagree with.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
772

An anecdote that's not quite on topic to any of what we're discussing, but is related to a lot of it: several years ago, the ex and I chatted briefly with a book publicist from Seattle who spoke in a truly godawful mix of girly self-abnegation, valley-girl diction and granola stoner intonations. She walked away and I turned to the ex with a quizzical look on my face and said "she was really really smart," to which the ex also quizzically nodded vigorously.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:46 AM
horizontal rule
773

770: "Bourdieu" s/b "gravy"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
774

They're not *necessarily* true, but they're generally true, don't you think?

Actually, I think there's all kinds of attraction that goes on across class lines. Very often it's prurient and/or coloured by various combinations of fear, exoticism, resentment, self-loathing or condescension (the moreso the more removed in daily life are the people involved) but it's still very much there. What class influences is how sustainable those attractions are going to be, not whether they happen.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
775

kinds of attraction... often it's prurient

I should hope so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
776

Actually there are different ways to do math

Sure, but that's the high level stuff, and you're not saying that elegance in solving math problems has anything to do with class, are you?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
777

As far as good definitions of class go, it might be useful to think about what we want the definitions to do, or to enable us to do.

What's the point of talking about class, in other words? (Or rather, 'what are the points'?)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
778

A big one for me is figuring out what educational/vocational opportunities are opened or blocked by one's class background.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
779

776: there are different ways to do arithmetic, too. Richard Feynman talked a lot about the various shortcuts he would use to do e.g. x^n type problems quickly in his head.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 10:56 AM
horizontal rule
780

What random skill are you a genius at? Points for randomness.

I am really good at identifying where European cars are registered by their license plates. I can get almost all the German towns and the bulk of the French departements. Can do Austrian provinces and Swiss canotons as well. I used to be able to do Italy, as well, until they changed the numbering system.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
781

What random skill are you a genius at?

I can make a bong out of anything.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
782

the lack of a good definition for class is a bug not a feature.

What 777 says: yes, the idea of class we're working with here is vague. But given that, does the claim that attraction/intelligence are class-based things seem like a reasonable hypothesis worth exploring? If so, then I'd say, well, let's try to define what we mean rather than just saying "you're not offering a good definition," which seems to me to dismiss the larger point without a good reason; if not, then say so, implementing your own definition of "class" while doing it, so that we understand why.

Very often it's prurient and/or coloured by various combinations of fear, exoticism, resentment, self-loathing or condescension

Which if anything supports the point (and F. said this herself); cross-class attraction is often about responding to (say) the idea of "oh, he's working class, he's so down to earth and doesn't bother with all this analytic posturing that the smart people get hung up on." It's still associating intelligence with class in a derogatory way. Sorta like the "but I *like* fat chicks" thing.

you're not saying that elegance in solving math problems has anything to do with class

I don't think anyone except you is asseting that math skills are the class-based mark of intelligence here, O.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
783

775: Touche.

777: What's the point of talking about class, in other words?

Perhaps a better question would be: "what's the point of not talking about it?"


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
784

778: Talking about who gets to talk, both politically and elsewhere--that's important. But that blurs into the messy "culture" stuff--how can working class people be effective political actors, gain the right to determine their own political fates, be taken seriously in public forums, etc? That has a lot to do with presentation.

But it's not just about the working class learning how to "class up"; it's about the chattering classes learning to hear differently, if that makes any sense. This does come back to a kind of 'attractiveness' and how it works.

I also wonder about what we "naturally" like and what we can "learn" to like; if I really like college-educated-type talk with significant others, can I be happy in a relationship without it? What would make that happen?

I also wonder about how people come to see themselves as "owners" of intelligence, and how that relates to class and education.

I feel like it's worth sorting through some of the mushy stuff (kind of like eating a Hardee's burrito, that) to try and figure things out.

It's also important to separate out resentment. There's a place (as per K-Punk) for class resentment in politics, but probably not in the mushy-stuff conversation.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
785

you're not saying that elegance in solving math problems has anything to do with class, are you?

Sure I am. Math is a specialized language, and within even strict languages there are dialects and styles. The capacity to write well (and be praised with terms like "fluent," "fine" or "lucid") is distributed by class, and so is the capacity to do math in a way that will be praised with terms like "elegant" or what have you. Note that this is quite separate from the question of the distribution of some quality like "innate ability" to do math (or write well), and does not entail that no-one from a lower-class background can learn to write beautifully or be a brilliant mathematician. It's precisely in the transformation of raw abilities into habitual competence that the class business comes into play.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
786

779: No shit. PK's teacher yesterday had to explain to me how they're teaching kids to do multi-digit math these days.

I have to admit, it's a much smarter way to do it than the old "columns and borrowing" trick, which gets the right answer but doesn't really do a lot to help one really get the concepts down.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
787

781: I had a friend who had a standing challenge of that nature (didn't have to be a bong; could be a pipe depending on scale). His crowning achievement was constructed of three swedish fish.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
788

I am a genius at folding egg white into batter. My egg-white-based cakes are lofty and have a good crumb. That's my random skill.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
789

786: and what are those methods?

Show your work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
790

which gets the right answer but doesn't really do a lot to help one really get the concepts down.

In which connection Tom Lehrer remarked, "because the important thing is to understand what you're doing, rather than get the right answer."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
791

Which if anything supports the point (and F. said this herself)

Whoops, must've skimmed past that part of 750. My bad.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
792

787: Seems like that wouldn't hold up to flame very well.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
793

When I was an undergrad, the students from academic backgrounds were pretty good at zeroing in on the up-and-coming topics, specializations, and approaches, whereas the rest of us just followed our interests and intuitions. Careerwise they were far better off, as shown by their having had careers. Not a universal rule, because some aspirational types would be taken under a profs wing and groomed.

This is getting very far afield. When I think of "class" separated from "talent", I think of D.H. Lawrence's relationships with the Bloomsbury circle. I've always felt that some of the laboriousness of Lawrence's style derived from his class insecurities and resentments. Trying to hard on the one hand, and rather resenting their ease on the other.

And now we're even farther afield, I think.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
794

I am a savant of the nose flute. My trilling, note-perfect rendition of the Star Spangled Banner has sent many a crowd into paroxyms of patriotic ecstasy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
795

792: I believe he tempered them with a lighter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
796

784: To the extent I've been prickly here, I think it's that I want to define the class stuff as thread drift. I get nervous and insecure and guilty around issues like the stuff I brought up in 571 -- I know it's very wrong to think you're smarter than anyone else, ever, but I also get people telling me I'm smarter than they are on a regular basis, which makes me touchy and ashamed of myself. If we can say explictly that valuing intelligence/whateverishness/sharpness in a partner is not necessarily a cover for valuing middle-class-class-markers (oh, it could be, I just want to say that it's not necessary), I'll get less touchy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
797

The important thing is to understand what you're doing, rather than get the right answer.

you're not trying to restart the analytic-philosophy wars, are you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
798

796: LB you dummy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
799

789: Ooh, it's awesome. Basically you want the kids to think in terms of base ten (and by extension, to really understand what the whole ones/tens/hundreds column thing *means*). So say you have:

122
- 89

Instead of borrowing from the 2, subtracting 9 from 12, then borrowing the 1 and subtracting 8 from 12, you point out that 89 is (90-1) and 122 is (100+22). The kids can easily subtract 90 from 100, and then they just add 22 and subtract 1, which they can do in their heads, and voila.

Or try

47
x22

Same thing: instead of doing it as 2x7, carry the one, 2x4+1, new row, 2x7 carry the one, 2x4, then add the rows up, you say okay, 22 is the same as 20+2 which is the same as 10+10+2, like so:

47
x22 (10+10+2)

They can again do 47x10 in their heads, and 47x2 as well (even if they have to break it down to 40x2 + 7x2):

47
x22 (10+10+2)
------------------
470 + 470 + 94

and again, they're doing a lot of the calculating in their heads, getting the concept of base ten, and also realizing that saying 10+10+2=22 isn't *just* a "problem" and a "solution" but that the equals sign means *is the exact same thing as*; that 10+10+2 is just a different way of writing 22, one that we don't use as a general rule simply because 22 is quicker to write.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
800

Jesus, LB, you're dumb.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:17 AM
horizontal rule
801

Sifu wins.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
802

The capacity to write well (and be praised with terms like "fluent," "fine" or "lucid") is distributed by class, and so is the capacity to do math in a way that will be praised with terms like "elegant" or what have you.

This really surprises me, mostly because I think of of 'doing math' at the level where elegance comes into it as such an arcane activity that pre-university lifestyle or background wouldn't have much of an effect on one's style. (A huge effect, probably, at the chance you'd get to be a mathematician at all, but I can't see how an upper-middle-class background would make you into an elegant mathematician better than a working-class background.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
803

Jesus, JE, you're slow.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
804

Here you go.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
805

798, 800: See, this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and accepted.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
806

That might be Japanese arithmetic. A friend of mine learned it in Taiwan, and he liked the way they did things.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
807

785 seems bonkers.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
808

802 is correct.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
809

793: Yeah, and that kind of recognizing what-you're-interested-in as having a larger context of the-up-and-coming-trends is seen as being "smart" but really it's just a question of having learned to look at things in that frame.

Which people who don't start out that way can, and do, learn to do: I was terribly worried about just doing-what-I-was-interested-in because it seemed so untrendy until it suddenly hit me (after I had a job and was teaching my own students) that, duh, what I was interested in had been shaped by my professors, and I was shaping these grad students, and that therefore one didn't have to worry about the up-and-coming-trends as long as one's profs were young/up-to-date enough. Because those were the people who were *making* the trends.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
810

the lack of a good definition for class is a bug not a feature.

What 777 says: yes, the idea of class we're working with here is vague. But given that, does the claim that attraction/intelligence are class-based things seem like a reasonable hypothesis worth exploring? If so, then I'd say, well, let's try to define what we mean rather than just saying "you're not offering a good definition," which seems to me to dismiss the larger point without a good reason; if not, then say so, implementing your own definition of "class" while doing it, so that we understand why.

I thought I was clear, but let me explicitly say that I think it is a reasonable and interesting hypothesis, but that, for the reasons described in 766, it isn't more than interesting without finding a useful definition of class.

If I had one I'd offer it, but I don't.

Incidentally, consider this, in 750 Frowner seems to imply that she associates autodidacticism with a working class background, whereas I used the same term thinking mostly, but not exclusively, of people who grew up in middle class backgrounds who just like to study things they're interested in.

That's just an example of the lack of precision in the language, and the difficulty of assuming we're describing the same thing when we use the same words.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
811

It's precisely in the transformation of raw abilities into habitual competence that the class business comes into play.

Ok, sure, and that's what I meant with the talk about isolating a trait from its expression. Again, I think we all agree that class plays a big part in how we express ourselves and also in what we find attractive; I'm just trying to be clear that those aren't what I meant in the original post, and the trait I was referring to there might manifest in modes that are class-based, but its manifestation itself is not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
812

784:

I also wonder about what we "naturally" like and what we can "learn" to like; if I really like college-educated-type talk with significant others, can I be happy in a relationship without it? What would make that happen?

I also wonder about how people come to see themselves as "owners" of intelligence, and how that relates to class and education.

Frowner, were you around for the discussion of so-called class "straddlers" and what I think we were calling 'natural preferences'? A recent thread, I don't remember which.

For this at 777:

As far as good definitions of class go, it might be useful to think about what we want the definitions to do, or to enable us to do.

Yeah, useful.

That said, some of the resistance to what you're saying about attraction being class-based (or however the claim has morphed) may be due to the fact that assimilating people's attracted-to-sharp-people remarks to observations about class distorts the sense of the former remarks. Not in a good way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
813

My professors were not up and coming, but they had a reasonable understanding of the market for grad students. One prof, not in my field, routinely sent people to cambridge.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
814

804: Yeah. I was joking with the teacher today that they're now teaching kids the new New math.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
815

No matter how smart and knowledgeable you are, if you're not on some kind of approved career track, you're socially dubious and hard to introduce to people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
816

799: good stuff. I wish somebody had taught me that, instead of my having to get there on my own. That is approximately similar to the techniques Feynman described, except he was more likely to know e.g. the cube of some large number off the top of his head, because it had come in handy a lot.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
817

785 seems bonkers.

You refute me thus.



Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
818

Very OT, but: I just read the following headline (no story yet) at CNN: "The House has failed to override President Bush's veto of a bill expanding a children's health insurance program." I'm an idiot for having indulged in cautious optimism on this one (I really thought they could get the votes).


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
819

re: the arithmetical stuff.

I read a book on maths/arithmetical prodigies, years ago and it had an appendix with their 'methods'. Almost all of them used variations on that sort of approach combined with the sort of rote learning of useful numbers acquired through 'playing' with numbers over long periods. Some of the methods were extremely useful.

The author of the book had himself been a minor prodigy himself so had quite an interesting insight into the phenomena.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
820

in 750 Frowner seems to imply that she associates autodidacticism with a working class background, whereas I used the same term thinking mostly, but not exclusively, of people who grew up in middle class backgrounds who just like to study things they're interested in.

Yeah, but I think that this distinction is a real one, and then the question is, okay, what's the difference operating here?

I think it's that the *effect* of the two things can be indistinguishable, as far as "I like smart people" goes. But it gets right at the "so I only want to date people with degrees" thing, first. Second, I'm going to contradict myself and say that the effect of the two things isn't actually indistinguishable once you really start looking (and hence there is a hidden class issue in the argument "I like smart people so I only want to date people with degrees"--"but there are smart people without degrees"--"sure but usually it's a good indicator"): e.g., your working-class autodidact is much likelier to have certain kinds of holes in his knowledge, some of which show up really easily (e.g., misuse of apostrophes, affect/effect mistakes). Whereas your middle-class autodidact is much likelier to speak/write standard educated English well (even if he dropped out of college), *and*--which is more important--to operate from (or argue for) a sense of entitlement, by which his autodidacticism is an expression of his freedom and lack of concern about formal qualifications. Whereas the working-class autodidact is, I think, likelier to operate from a sense that credentialism is important, and to argue not for less of it but for making it accessible to more people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
821

The kids can easily subtract 90 from 100, and then they just add 22 and subtract 1,

They can do that, if they want to get the wrong answer. Minus some mechanics, though, it is a good way.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
822

815. Joe, this is John Emerson. He's a hermit. But he's studying for a Master's in Anchorism in his spare time and he's hoping to get his own grotto when he graduates.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
823

816, 819: Yeah, part of what I like about it is that it's teaching kids to *think* rather than just giving them a set of instructions that they can follow (borrow! start on the right!) to get the "right" answer without really understanding what they're doing.

Plus, I think it gets the smart kids excited about math, and shows the slower ones that they're not, in fact, stupid. They might not "get" why doing it this way is neat and fun, but they'll be able to do it and move forward and actually comprehend what's going on.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
824

Whereas your middle-class autodidact is much likelier to ... operate from (or argue for) a sense of entitlement

I'll agree with that.

Let me put it this may. Thinking about the friends and family of whom I am thinking, we are all people that are frequently considered "odd" or "unusual" in various ways. But the things that mark as as "odd" are not class makers which is, in itself, a sign of class privilege.

I suspect that's a common experience among unfogged commenters.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
825

823: I've been following this a little and hope it will translate to gains in 10 years... the current crop is pretty depressingly bad at basics.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
826

821: Crap, you're right.

But see? One of the bright kids will point out that I'm wrong (because I'm learning how to do this too) and then we'll all laugh at me and it'll be okay to make mistakes and we'll have to reiterate and reinforce that subtracting a negative means ADDING.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 11:47 AM
horizontal rule
827

OFE, mys specialty is mostly the geometry of Mongol head stacks.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
828

'They just set me up with guys who they think I could "fix."'

why, are they too lazy to castrate these guys themselves?


Posted by: bryan | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
829

Damn time zones. Luckily LB is in the east and has already said everything I would have said, better than I would have said it, plus a bunch of other good stuff.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
830

I could be way off, LB, but it seems entirely possible to me that your discomfort with people remarking on how smart you are is not all that far off from my discomfort with smart people remarking about finding other people "not smart enough" -- an underlying sense of intelligence as one of those things that alienates us from one another. I still get a little uneasy with the "she's so smart" kind of comment, too -- I don't want people to think I'm going to be dismissive of them because they are not smart enough, and I don't want them to be dismissive of me because I'm not hip enough.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
831

And, B, thanks for the math lesson. Fortunately, Rory figured that out on her own (or without me, anyway), but I've been feeling incredibly uncomfortable with the idea that I didn't understand how to do 3rd grade math...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
832

603

"I don't really buy that there's a category of 'smartest of all academics' that members of one discipline or other disproportionately fill."

I do. In some fields merit is more objectively obvious. So hiring decisions in these fields are less influenced by personal connections and the like.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
833

820, 824: I was young, poor and weird. Now I'm old, middle class, and eccentric.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:09 PM
horizontal rule
834

831: Now, see, if you'd been helping out in Rory's *class*, you'd have known this stuff and been able to do it at home, now, wouldn't you?

::Duck and run::


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
835

796

"... I know it's very wrong to think you're smarter than anyone else, ever, ..."

I find this bizarre. Why do you believe this?

Do you also think it wrong to believe A is smarter than B?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
836

more importantly interestingly James, do you believe that it is well ordered?


Posted by: Stirren D. Paut | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
837

834: You can run, B, but you can't hide. Some day, when you are least expecting it...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
838

837: ... you'll give her a fruit basket?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
839

799 makes me so happy. The real mystery is why they haven't been teaching this shit that way for decades.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
840

In some fields merit is more objectively obvious.

Like, oh, say, sucking Labs's cock. Or nose-picking! Objective measurement of output volume = excellence. Obvious!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
841

830: I think that's partially correct, but it's not the intelligence per se that's alienating, it's the social stuff around it. Being offended by the word "smart" and pretending that you don't know what it means is not, IMO, the right answer. The right answer is to control the social stuff.

FWIW, where you pissed me off a bit last night was with wording like "your problem is..." and playing up the social significance of statements about intelligence when I and others were working pretty hard at being clear about what we were and were not saying, particularly that intelligent != superior. I think what you're saying now is that you have a different set of tactics for dealing with this stuff, which is fine, but doesn't justify the sort of "you" statements you were making last night.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
842

835: Q. E. D.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
843

841: For the record, the "you" in my statements was intended as the universal you, not you as in NPH or any specific individual. Formally, I should have used "one," but that construction annoys me.

It still burns my britches, though, that it's apparently perfectly okay to express distaste for people failing to be smart enough but it's somehow deeply offensive to be put off by statements that other people aren't "smart enough."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
844

843: Formally, I should have used "one," but that construction annoys me.

One must get over such petty annoyances if one is to communicate clearly, um?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
845

Don't worry, Di. I'm sure it will make sense to you when you get a little older and wiser.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
846

we could get the maestro over his stage fright by having him conduct the Brainedburger Concertos. *snif*

I heard that the Maestro's favorite song is "The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
847

843: The part that you're being obtuse about is that nobody is expressing distaste for people failing to be smart enough.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
848

And no, it's not a "you" vs. "one" vocabulary issue. You quoted specific statements made in a specific context and then extrapolated, wrongly, a whole shitload of personality traits from that. If you weren't responding to the statements made on the thread--if not mine specificially, the general run of statements sympathetic to Ogged--to what were you responding?

I'm really not pissed off any more, and I think I more or less get where you're coming from, but I really don't get where the self-righteousness is coming from. Nobody has made the sort of claims that you're saying burn your britches.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
849

847: Except for the original post, where by 'smart' ogged meant 'personal sparkle', but still expressed it as the women just not being bright enough (though by 'bright and 'intelligent' and 'smart' he meant none of those things.) And I've read Di as saying if you don't actually mean to suggest the person isn't intelligent enough for you, maybe choose some different words. (If you do mean that, de gustibus &c., but there are good reasons not to say 'she just wasn't smart' when you mean 'I just didn't feel a spark.')


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
850

Personal sparkle still sounds just unbelievably dirty to me. Or, like, post-dirty, but wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:42 PM
horizontal rule
851

In some fields merit is more objectively obvious.

Bullshit. In case that wasn't already obvious.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
852

Sifu, they sell it in little applicator tubes.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
853

Post-dirty and oh, so right.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
854

I'm breaking my catching up on this thread to note that I couldn't stand Fussell's Abroad.

Also, the purple flute stuff is in the archives of this blog.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
855

And in glossy powders and eyeshadows. Sparkle sparkle.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
856

849: Except that there's a large and significant difference between not being attracted to someone and feeling distaste for them, which Ogged and everyone else has been very clear about all the way through.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
857

850: Personal sparkle.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
858

Thank you, Cala.

As for statements that burn my britches, NPH, calling me condescending bothered me, because I certainly didn't think I was being so and would feel bad if I was. Following that up with accusations of "high-schoolish projection" (when foolishmortal eat me to the punch and asked what you found so condescending) troubled me a bit more. Now calling me obtuse because I was so apparently stupid to think "she's not smart enough" counts as an expression of distaste for people not being smart enough, well gosh darn it, that irritates just a teensy bit.

Or, to borrow an apt turn of phrase from upthread: fuck off.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
859

foolishmortal, eat me to the punch!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
860

856: I really do not think that's even remotely true.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
861

706: FUCK. OFF.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
862

Di, I really don't want to fight with you, but re-read this:

I tend to think time spent "admitting" to one another that we're smarter than most people, rather than the intellect itself, is (if anything) what affects social lives. Look, if you walk around thinking of yourself as "smarter than most," even the real dummies are probably going to be able to pick up on that. Andif you think you conceal it, you're probably not as smart as you think. Picking up on that attitude affects how these dummies are going to interact with you. (Disclaimer: not accusing Ogged of intending this at all in the post -- though I do think the "not smart enough" semantics opens the post up to this sort of interpretation. It's a gateway thought-process!)

That came in response to what I thought was a perfectly innocuous statement that yeah, pretty much everyone around here is brighter than average. You don't see that as problematic?

And on distaste: do you really, truly have distaste for everyone that you don't want to date? Because that's what your accusing Ogged of.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
863

860: really? Actual distaste—as opposed to not being to one's taste—is a fairly strong negative evaluation. There are many people whom I wouldn't want to date for whom I feel no distaste.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
864

862: Yes, I continue to think that talking about how we think we're smarter than most of the people we run into is elitist, presumptuous and otherwise problematic. I gather I'm in the minority on this point. I also continue to think that claiming that being so bright affects our social lives in some negative way, which was the claim I was responding to, is not a particularly helpful way to approach any discontent anyone has with their social lives.

I also thought is was pretty clear from the disclaimer that I wasn't accusing Ogged of intending this at all but was challenging what, assuming good intent, I thought was a poor turn of phrase.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
865

826: Now, now. DK was responding to this:

Here amongst ourselves, we ought to be able to admit that yeah, we're smarter than most of the people we run into, and yeah, that affects our social lives.

Which does have rather a whiff of "now that the plebes aren't listening, we can talk about how much smarter we are than they."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
866

heebie, tia: I'm sure you and everyone else here knows this, but just in case you weren't aware, Monty Python has musically explored the idea of decomposing composers.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
867

I also continue to think that claiming that being so bright affects our social lives in some negative way, which was the claim I was responding to, is not a particularly helpful way to approach any discontent anyone has with their social lives.

Quite.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
868

There goes B, talking to herself again.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
869

Which does have rather a whiff of "now that the plebes aren't listening, we can talk about how much smarter we are than they."

Yeah, so? We are.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
870

pretty much everyone around here is brighter than average.

I tend to agree with this statement, except for the fact that the thread has somehow been reduced to:
Fuck off
No YOU fuck off.
Where is the wit, the irony?

If we were at a modelling convention, we'd all be talking about how much more symmetrical our faces are compared to everyone else's, or how much less we weigh, or some other inane measure of beauty. But no. We are nerds. So of course we're going to try to pride ourselves on how much nerdier we are than everyone else. (even though that may not even be remotely true.) But let's at least keep up the facade without resorting to back-alley barbs. Okay?

[All to-ge-ther now, ALL TOGETHER NOW, All to-ge-ther now! - if only my keyboard were superior, I could add treble clefs and bass clefs, but alas, I, and it are inferior to our machinations of grandeur. Sigh]


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
871

Look, I think the contention that people ought to be able to say "yeah, I'm smart" without being called assholes is a good one, much like the "yeah, I'm good looking" thing that I'm determined to get away with.

But you can't deny that saying "here amongst ourselves" is pretty insufferable, and that there's a qualitative, and important, difference in tone between saying "yeah, I'm smart" and "yeah, I'm smarter than most of the people I know." Comparing yourself to others in a way that implies superiority--especially if you're doing so in a way that implies that you're somehow victimized for being superior--is just rude, regardless of whether or not it's true.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
872

Yeah, so? We are.

True. There are also groups of people that are far richer and/or hotter than the plebes, but if I were to hear someone saying that I'd be strongly disinclined to date them even if they decided I was "acceptable." There are a few people here who apparently feel the same way, and are pointing that out.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
873

No, Lucy. You don't understand the local customs here. The back-alley barbs are a key part of our rhetorical tool box.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
874

is just rude

B is more polite than most of the people she knows.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
875

Comparing yourself to others in a way that implies superiority...is just rude

Even among friends? Is this just a remedial etiquette lesson? I shouldn't tell people I'm smarter than they are? Thanks, noted.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
876

874: No, but it's interesting that it's cool to hassle me for sounding PCer than thou, but not cool to hassle people for sounding smarter than thou.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
877

875: Swim not go well today, Ogged? You know that's not what I was saying.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
878

I believing in hassling everybody, even if no good reason exists.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
879

878: TROLL!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
880

Anyway, my point is that yes, among friends it's okay to talk about impolite truths, but it's a bit much to get pissy when someone points out that said truths are impolite.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
881

You know that's not what I was saying.

I have no idea what you're saying.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
882

871: Aren't you the one who's been known to complain about people going out of their way to read things uncharitably? I don't know how much more clearly I can say that SMART. IS. NOT. SUPERIOR.

And Di, I didn't say "affects our social lives in some negative way." The negativity was your contribution. All I said was that there's an effect, which I think is pretty obvious and ought not be controversial.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
883

Having only read the past 50 comments, I think I'm with Ogged here. Comparing yourself to others in a way that implies superiority can be rude, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes it's just honest, especially if it's done within a "safe" group.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
884

I have no idea what you're saying.

Ogged is smarter than everybody else, except BitchPhD.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
885

873: Cock walloping albino bushpig! I guess I'm compelled to comply. Fuck.


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
886

Son of an albino bushpig, I meant. Cock walloping SON of an albino bushpig. yes.


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
887

Aren't you the one who's been known to complain about people going out of their way to read things uncharitably?

Huh? Anyway, I wasn't saying you're an asshole who thinks the smart should rule everyone else, just that the phrasing sounds snooty.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
888

it's a bit much to get pissy when someone points out that said truths are impolite

Not when the post acknowledges that I'm only saying this among friends.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
889

I missed this thread getting contentious because I've been busy at work today but it seems like people aren't hearing what other people are saying and are interpreting their statements uncharitably, making the conversation unproductive. I'm close to shutting this thread down because of the size anyway and will surely do it if it's stressing the server without making any progress.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
890

888: Oh. I wasn't talking about the post. I've agreed with you re. the post more than once, and I've said so explicitly at least one other time on this thread. I was talking about people getting mad at DK for being uncomfortable with the "well, we are smarter than most people" thing, which--although I agree, for christ's sake--I think is a silly thing to get mad about.

After all, is not one of the reasons you (for example purposes only!) say in the post that you're only saying this among friends, that you acknowledge that it's really a potentially offensive thing to say?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
891

people who can walk around the museum with you and chit-chat about constructivism

I think this is a weird choice of class marker from someone who reads a lot of literary theory yet (I get the impression) identifies as working class.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
892

Don't make Becks pull this car over!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
893

B, my acknowledgment that this is potentially offensive is a reason for commenters to not note that it's potentially offensive. Nobody likes to be scolded for something they're abashedly talking about in the first place.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
894

891: C'mon. Surely part of the thing tokens know is that they're tokens. How far is this from dismissing John Edwards for talking about the working poor because of his house?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
895

What a stupid argument.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
896

893: Ok, agreed.

Though I think that as the thread wore on, people weren't really talking about you that much, honestly.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:42 PM
horizontal rule
897

Comparing yourself to others in a way that implies superiority can be rude, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes it's just honest, especially if it's done within a "safe" group.

Yeah, we could have much more forthright conversations about the black folk if DS didn't keep showing up around here.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
898

896: Yeah, they're just not that into you.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
899

897: And if I drank less.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
900

Eh, I was going to post something long and pissy, but Ogged and B seem to have worked it out to the point where I wouldn't have been adding anything.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
901

885: You have a rare greatly-appreciated gift. Our generic honky insults have grown stale.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
902

866: I did not know that. But I think we are now talking about a decomposing conductor, or a composer we are trying to induce to conduct. Perhaps the problem is that despite his protestations of being down with the gente, we know he was actually too good for the old neighborhood six feet under, and he's moving on up to the sunny side, so burger and "The Worms Crawl In" are too low-toned for him. Maybe he really wants to conduct some Kurt Veal.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
903

Except that there's a large and significant difference between not being attracted to someone and feeling distaste for them,

I really do not think that's even remotely true.

I agree with B, and furthermore I think this is why romantic rejection is so painful and feels so judgemental.

Also, FWIW I think "smarter than" is a hopelessly vague and undefinable phrase on its own...I rarely go through a day without interacting with someone who I find notably smarter than me in some way important to living well. There is a valid G/General IQ definition of smarts, that has to do with manipulating abstractions, but it is just a tiny part of the way we use our minds to live our lives. It may have taken on particular salience in the modern labor market, but whatever.

The other side of this is that we're all free to define our particular sort of smarts as the important kind. It's part of the tribal / communal nature of social life to do that.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
904

Discursive charity at the URL. Come one, come all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
905

whoops, 903 was me, and the italics tag should have included the "I really do not think that's even remotely true." quote from B.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:51 PM
horizontal rule
906

you should see the barrel of laughs they're having about this thread on the Jackie Mackie Packie Paisley Park blog.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
907

Y'all ain't makin' fun 'bout us stupid folk, is ya?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
908

there's a large and significant difference between not being attracted to someone and feeling distaste for them.

I really do not think that's even remotely true.

Huh? I'm not attracted to all sorts of people who I love dearly. Do you feel distaste for your parents?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
909

891: I don't identify as working class. That would be absurd and pretentious. Or rather, I only identify as "working class" in the sense that non-owners-of-means-of-production are working class--that is, sorta.

I don't make but hardly any money at all, if that helps.

But perplexingly, I have no real knowledge of constructivism!

My family is children of Swedish immigrants on one side (a bit difficult to place, class-wise, but wealthy until the Depression) and untreated-depressive autodidactic deskilled white collar workers on the other.

I am overeducated. I have family antiques from the old country and a couple of old, more or less valueless paintings. I've got what cultural capital is when it's useless, and lots of it.



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
910

903: Being rejected is incredibly painful, but that does not mean that inflicting pain was intended. The rejected one tends to overinterpret and feel worthless, but certainly that's a function of the pain he or she feels. In that context, indifference effectively equals hatred, but that's really an enormous error.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
911

B, I think you're now arguing with yourself.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
912

Or rather, I only identify as "working class" in the sense that non-owners-of-means-of-production are working class--that is, sorta.

Like me! Someone really needs to come up with a better vocabulary here.

(It's particularly difficult with UK types in the conversation, because to them 'middle class' seems to mean 'quite snootily well-off', whereas here if you can reliably pay your bills without stress, people start questioning your middle-class status.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
913

908 looks like I'm contradicting myself, doesn't it? What I thought was not even remotely true was that "everyone else has been clear [about that distinction] all the way through." Most people were at pains to say so, but I felt like there was still some "ick, stupid people" undercurrent in a few comments.

Which no I am not going to go back and find, and maybe I was wrong.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
914

908: B, I was quoting you!


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
915

911: Well, someone's got to do it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
916

All these hurt feelings, when we could have been holding hands and talking about nose flutes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
917

914: Right, but the referent in the phrase you were quoting was unclear.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
918

Be is so wholesome.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
919

Which just goes to show that the grammar nazis *are* smarter than the rest of us, and we should listen to them.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
920

916: so even if I don't make unfoggeDCon, I'm pretty much sure I'll be provided somewhere between 50 and 100 noseflutes for people. It really is a great instrument, and I really am quite skilled at it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
921

893: Oh, whatever. You don't like to feel scolded for saying particular women aren't smart enough for you. I'm not especially thrilled with being called condescending, high-schoolish, self-righteous and obtuse (correct me if I missed any) for saying that choosing to frame the issue as "not smart enough" was likely to be counterproductive.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
922

921: With the greatest of respect and admiration, and not at all for the purpose of re-igniting controversy, that is very far indeed from a fair summary of the conversation.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
923

The semi-conductor conducted the decomposing composer's unfinished symphony.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
924

It's particularly difficult with UK types in the conversation, because to them 'middle class' seems to mean 'quite snootily well-off', whereas here if you can reliably pay your bills without stress, people start questioning your middle-class status.

Like anything, there are vague/fuzzy borders, and I wouldn't attempt to define the middle-classes, but, someone whose Dad was a local doctor or an accountant and how grew up in a bought house would be clearly middle class. Someone whose Dad was a labourer and who grew up on a council estate would be working class. I presume it's basically the same in the US.

I am working class but it'd be pretty clear my kids [if/when I have them] would most likely grow up middle-class.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
925

Here's something for us to fight over.

I want someone to love me and clean my house.* Is that really too much to ask?

*It needn't be the same person.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
926

913, 914: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of non-bitch minds.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
927

I'm not especially thrilled with being called condescending, high-schoolish, self-righteous and obtuse (correct me if I missed any) for saying that choosing to frame the issue as "not smart enough" was likely to be counterproductive.

Aren't you confusing two things here? One is, is it unacceptably rude to ever under any circumstances admit to thinking you're smarter than anyone else. Which, you know, sure, we're all reasonably well brought up, Ogged's been acknowledging the manners issue all along, including in the post where he's given up on having friends fix him up because the problem he's having with the fixups is so unspeakable that he can't possibly explain it to the people fixing him up. I think everyone gets that talking about how smart you are is obnoxious.

But second, you're saying that Ogged's framing of the issue is counterproductive. How? He wants to date sharp, witty women. The women he's being introduced to aren't sharp enough for his tastes. What's the more productive way of framing it that doesn't involve acknowledging that the women he's being introduced to lack a quality that's a dealbreaker for him?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
928

925: Roberta's a cleaning machine. And me love you long time.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
929

924: it's not the same, because "council housing" as such doesn't really exist. Low-income housing is generally thought of as a signifier of the working poor, at most.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
930

925: Not too much to ask. Maybe too much to realistically hope for. Jobs + kid stuff + needing to eat = dust bunnies.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
931

226: So true! I contradict myself because I am a super genius!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
932

927: okay, so as a compromise, what if I believe other people to be fucking morons but make no claims as to my own intelligence?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
933

924: I suspect what LB is talking about is the asymmetry I mentioned before --- someone who self-identifies very strongly as middle-class may be considered rich/whatever by others who self-identify as middle class. This bothers the former far more than the latter, probably, but is unavoidable due to the vague borders. Things like home ownership aren't such good markers anymore (see recent variable mortgage fiasco for why) but I think the basic categories aren't so different here and there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
934

928: Come on over!

930: We are not talking dust bunnies. We are talking pushing-aside-last-night's-plate in order to sit down at breakfast every morning for the last week. And there's a fucking birthday party happening on Saturday.

I am the laziest person on the face of the planet, and I hate myself.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
935

924: No, the line's in a totally different place. Working-class is hardly used. As commonly used, there's middle-class (consistently employed in any job, reasonably secure in your housing, that sort of thing) which goes all down to where it turns into 'poor', which, say, means that money problems make your life disorderly on a fairly regular basis. If you're well educated and make enough money for some luxury spending, it sounds fraudulent to call yourself 'middle class' (see above where I got teased for calling myself upper-middle-class when my parents had a summer house).

UK 'middle class' hardly overlaps with 'middle class' as commonly used in the US.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
936

Is that really too much to ask?

Doesn't that rather depend what you're offering to pay, B?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
937

I am the laziest person on the face of the planet, and I hate myself.

Well, at least you have the energy for something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
938

936: Yeah, that's the problem. That and my being too lazy to just arrange for someone to do it even though I can't really afford to, because I've been telling myself all week that "I'll get started on that today."

Can we have a new thread for talking about UK vs. US class definitions? B/c it's interesting but we're getting close to 1000 here.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
939

bitch: I contradict myself because I am a super genius!

also bitch moments later:I am the laziest person on the face of the planet, and I hate myself.

Don't be so hard on the super genius!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
940

923: I do so love the recording of Beethoven's 9th by Herbert von Silicon. But we should watch out that the composer doesn't eat him. He was, after all, a Salzburger.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
941

935: not my impression at all. Maybe this is regional? I've known plenty of people/families who self-identify as working class. Tends to correlate highly with skilled trades and strong union industries, but these are/were definitely people who would reject (strongly) labellng of either `poor' or `middle class'. To them `poor' meant no trade or no job or a crap job, or living on assistance,etc. `middle class' though, was for people who didn't do `real' work, meaning didn't work with their hands, basically.

It isn't just about income level, at all; some of these guys made better salaries than academics tend to, but would consider it insulting if you called them middle class.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
942

How far is this from dismissing John Edwards for talking about the working poor because of his house?

Infinitely far. I'm not objecting to the discussion of class by anyone. I merely object to the apparent belief that an area of rather impractical knowledge that is unfamiliar to F must necessarily be the special province of the upper classes.

This kind of assumption pushes buttons for me because I have more than once come across the assumption that anyone involved in the visual arts is some kind of spoiled trust fund baby. Where's my fucking trust fund? Where?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
943

Where's my fucking trust fund?

Smasher took it to buy booze for the meetup.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
944

941: Huh. Because I'd think of someone with a unionized factory job as precisely who politicians talk about as 'the middle class'. I don't think this is particularly a useful way do describe such people -- I'd think of 'working class' as more accurate -- but, say, someone making $50K working for the MTA and living decently in the Bronx someplace? I think they'd self-describe, and generally be described as 'middle class'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
945

942: we hit it, mcmc. It's like a scavenger hunt! Fun!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
946

we hit it

Perv.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
947

945: I know Scrooge McDuck liked to roll in money, but that's taking things a bit far.

Booooy, do I have work to do.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
948

I'm breaking my catching up on this thread to note that I couldn't stand Fussell's Abroad.

It may not hold up. The one I've reread lately is Wartime, which does, I think.

What I remember most getting from Abroad, aside from thinking of travel writing in the age of technology as a genre, was Robert Byron. His history of Byzantine Art and Road to Oxonia were great reads.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
949

942: I don't think it's just "unfamiliar to F." Talking about constructivism, even knowing what it *is*, is a mark of formal education 95% of the time. And education is a class marker; a lot of formal education signifies a lot of cultural capital and the ability, socially if not financially, to hobnob with the upper classes, yes.

I think F's example is a really good one precisely because it raises that problem, the one where class markers and money start to diverge.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
950

Correct 945? Why?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
951

assumption, assumption, assumption!


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
952

944: I've known a lot of trades guys who were proud of their blue collars. The union poeple I knew that weren't trades tended to be roughnecks or foresters or longshoremen and lots of them felt the same way, I don't really know factory jobs. I've also known military families that would self-identify as working-class I think. Of course, they were all broke, too.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
953

949: what is constructivism, anyhow?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
954

935 is interesting, but 941 fits much more closely with how the division would be drawn here.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
955

This thread would be sweeter with some Strawberry Schubert.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
956

The Wagner Act made opera working class.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
957

949: for what it's worth, I know a bunch of ph.d's who probably couldn't tell you what constructivism is.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
958

944: Not me. I'd call that working class or blue collar or lower middle, at "best." Largely because I think that education, specifically a college degree (or at least an associate's) is pretty much a requirement for being middle class.

That and owning a suit and tie in case you ever get invited to the opera.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
959

957: what it's worth is not much, if you characterize worth in terms of informing me about the nature of constructivism.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
960

954: Another difference in the usage I perceive, and that I may have been unclear about, is that the UK 'middle class' seems to go up pretty high. To be unambiguously 'not middle class' because you're too rich, you have to be the kind of rich where working is optional in the UK, right? The upper bound on the US middle class is really really poorly defined, but people start reacting as if it's inappropriate to call someone 'middle class' well short of what a typical doctor makes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
961

955: I think the Maestro might prefer blood orange Schubert.


Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
962

for that matter, I know some ph.d's who've never owned a suit and tie, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
963

957: Well, I couldn't for one; but I have the cultural capital to be able to say "that's not my field" rather than "no, I don't know anything about construction."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
964

This is interesting. I sort of thought the American conceit was to lump everyone who's neither seriously poor nor seriously rich--maybe from the 20th percentile to the 95th or so?--as "middle class" and use "lower" and "upper" to do what little useful classification is being done.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
965

Constructivism is a belief that contractors are better than architects.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
966

932: we're all fucking morons. That's the most accurate take.

What brains we have, we use to come up with ever more elaborate justifications for our moronic prejudices.

(I'm talking human beings in general, not just Unfogged posters).


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
967

960: Are you factoring in that the typical doctor make 3x what they would make in the UK?

I'd tend to draw the (fuzzy) lines on the top end of middle-class around whether or not your income is wage based, but take into account that in the US physicians, some biglaw, etc. are real outliers in terms of a `wage'. Is it really sensible to define a `class' as including both 50k/year and 500k/year salaries?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
968

963: good point


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
969

Eh. I think American usage is incoherent and all over the place -- examining my thought process, I think I'm really talking about political rhetoric. Any program that's supposed to help the 'middle class' gets called fraudulent if benefits go to anyone in the upper half of the income distribution. While I approve of benefits going mostly to the poor, I find it weird that 'middle class' is used politically to mean 'economically struggling but employed'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
970

927.1: It's not just the manners thing of the "smarter" bit that I'm objecting to, but the inherent wrongness unless you are willing to go to the trouble of defining out carefully what it is you mean by "smart" is a precise and specific way. If we're talking about writing legal briefs, I am way smarter than Rory. Or at least a little. Truthfully, there are an awful lot of interpersonal things that she is a whole lot smarter than me about. I have no problem with someone asserting they are better at research than some other particular person. I do have a problem with assertions that we here are collectively "smarter than most." Personally, I think most people are smarter than you one thinks if one takes the time to get to know people.

927.2 As has been beaten to a bloody pulp in this thread, "not smart enough" doesn't really capture in any significant way what it is Ogged is looking for. It also set the problem up by locating the fault in the other person's inadequacy. I think it would be more productive to spend the time trying to identify exactly what this "mental whateverness" is Ogged is looking for -- which I agree he seems to be trying to do here! -- and leave off the "not smart enough" part, which I humbly submit was provocative without adding anything really concrete to the discussion.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
971

969: That's more to the heart of it, makes senst to me.

It gets politically confused though: when you have programs supposedly targetted at `middle classe' where essentially all the benefits go to the upper half of the income distribution, which would be fraudulent. After seeing that a few times, you'll distrust the use of `middle class'. Maybe it just doesn't have a useful definition any more.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:45 PM
horizontal rule
972

I find it weird that 'middle class' is used politically to mean 'economically struggling but employed'.

That's because "poor" means "lazy," and no one wants to help lazy people. Saying "middle class" means "has a job," and if you have a full time job and are having problems affording health care or housing, most people are willing to admit that maybe helping you isn't a form of highway robbery.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
973

Part of what's going on is that people want lower/middle/upper to divide the income spectrum into thirds, which really doesn't work at all. 'Rich' is a very small category.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
974

As has been beaten to a bloody pulp in this thread, "not smart enough" doesn't really capture in any significant way what it is Ogged is looking for. It also set the problem up by locating the fault in the other person's inadequacy. I think it would be more productive to spend the time trying to identify exactly what this "mental whateverness" is Ogged is looking for -- which I agree he seems to be trying to do here! -- and leave off the "not smart enough" part, which I humbly submit was provocative without adding anything really concrete to the discussion.

Wasn't this what the first half of this thread was largely about?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
975

you have programs supposedly targetted at `middle classe' where essentially all the benefits go to the upper half of the income distribution

This is because even at the upper half of the *income* distribution (as opposed to wealth), people still cannot afford to pay cash for college tuition.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
976

958:

Largely because I think that education, specifically a college degree (or at least an associate's) is pretty much a requirement for being middle class.

Now you're just talking crazy.

This thread is too long.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
977

"Middle class" also gets used to mean "us guys," which is always a good mantle to claim in politics.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
978

A propos the discussion of class I should mention that reading unfogged rarely makes me feel unsure of my intelligence (as some commenters joked about above) but significantly more frequently feel an odd, ill-defined class anxiety.

It's a combination of feeling like I'm missing a variety of cultural references that people here treat as representative of middle class experience, and the fact that reading unfogged makes me wonder if my economic/class aspirations are too limited.

Both are probably a byproduct of never having lived in a major urban center, and thus missing a variety of cannonical urban experiences.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
979

Actually, since Frowner says she doesn't identify as working class, I withdraw my characterization of her example as "weird". I agree that a knowledge of constructivism is probably a middle class marker these days, although I first learned about it in a public high school in Detroit. I just thought the example was peculiar coming from a Foucault enthusiast, since I find that kind of writing far more obscure than the average art history text.

Sifu, It's a book review, but it's a better summary of constructivism than most of what I've seen online. The most poignant thing about the constructivists was their attempt to identify their work with revolutionary values, only to be dismissed by Stalin in favor of totally kitschy (look! I'm a snob!) socialist realism.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
980

974: Sure. And then NPH said, "Here amongst ourselves, we ought to be able to admit that yeah, we're smarter than most of the people we run into, and yeah, that affects our social lives." To which I responded, suggesting that perhaps this "we're smarter than everyone else" angle was offensive and didn't add anything helpful.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
981

While I agree that it seems off to complain that someone said 'this is a safe space where I can say rude things' and then went on to say rude things, I didn't think that's what's going on here. "Intelligence" can mean any number of things, from interpersonal acuity to raw analytic power to educational achievement to IQ. And if ogged actually thought that the women he's been set up with were dumb, it would be rude to say so (which he acknowledges), but it would at least be an accurate reflection of what he thinks.

But to apply 'not smart enough' to 'not being a kindred spirit with ogged' seems wrong. And this has been, as Di says, beaten to a bloody pulp. But if that's the case, why keep insisting that this is the right sort of thing to say in a safe space?

863: Surely 'not smart enough' connotes distaste, not just 'not my type.' Perhaps it shouldn't, but it does. Just as describing a date as 'too ugly for me' rather than 'I prefer blondes to brunettes' connotes distaste.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
982

I could have had class, but I've never read any Bourdieu.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
983

970.1: This seems to come down to saying that 'smarter than' is an incoherent concept, you can't really tell who's smarter than who in any generally meaningful way, all you can do is identify particular skills. Which, while it could be true, isn't something I'm inclined to agree with -- I'd think we'd need to hash this over for a long time before there's any shot I'd buy into it.

970.2: As has been beaten to a bloody pulp in this thread, "not smart enough" doesn't really capture in any significant way what it is Ogged is looking for. It also set the problem up by locating the fault in the other person's inadequacy.

Sure it does capture what Ogged's looking for. In colloquial English, 'smart' is a perfectly reasonable way of describing a quality that you could also call 'clever' or 'witty' or 'sharp', which does seem to be what Ogged's looking for. 'Smart' isn't unambiguous, which makes the rest of the conversation necessary, but the only thing wrong with using the word in this context is the manners issue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
984

Part of the problem with comparing the UK and US usages is that UK usage is partly nothing to do with income at all. Living in a country which has an extant aristocracy makes class divisions fall out differently from one which doesn't.

Culturally middle class people in the UK can be extremely wealthy without being described as 'upper class' in exactly the same way that a plumber can earn significantly more than an academic but still remain working class.

Additionally, people would remain 'working class' even if they aren't working at all but are claiming state benefits.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
985

973: That's part of it, yes. Also the fact that income disparity is increasing, doesn't help. There is a very, very steep decay at the higher wealth end, which means that the further toward `rich' you move, the more obvious it is that the bunch above you have really a lot more money than you do. I think for certain demographics, this can lead to thinking of yourself as relatively financially constrained, whereas most of the country would just laugh at that. Combine this with the tendency to live just slightly beyond our means regardless of income level and you get people makeing 300k/year and thinking they aren't doing all that well because they are only just keeping up with their bills.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
986

Also, I happily admit that there are people who think long and hard about this -- social historians, political scientists, sociologists, social anthropologists, economic historians, etc. -- and who have much clearer definitions of these class distinctions and their intra and international usages than I do. I can only go on ordinary language usage.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
987

983: Dude, the examples were 'held the door in a way that played around with gender expectations' and 'proffered a french fry.' Someone who lacked those traits is not normally someone described as 'not smart enough.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
988

975: sure, that's why, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be more honest about who programs are targetting and why.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
989

This thread is too long.

Never say die.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
990

UK usage is partly nothing to do with income at all

Same in the States; we just aren't accustomed to realizing or acknowledging that, in part because it's a shibboleth that the US was founded in order to make everyone equal.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
991

Culturally middle class people in the UK can be extremely wealthy without being described as 'upper class' in exactly the same way that a plumber can earn significantly more than an academic but still remain working class.

This seems to disagree with something you said a couple weeks ago, that an academic who came from a working-class background but became an academic could still consider himself working-class, unlike in the US.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
992

1000!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
993

The most poignant thing about the constructivists was their attempt to identify their work with revolutionary values, only to be dismissed by Stalin in favor of totally kitschy (look! I'm a snob!) socialist realism.

Oh, them. I'm not sure I've adequately grasped the difference between "constructivist" and "social realist," at least aesthetically. Would "Man With a Movie Camera" be considered constructivist?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
994

986: Social historians, at least, are famously (that is, within the small group of people who read social histories) unable to define class, especially middle class, well. Ordinary language is the best they've got.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
995

Same in the States; we just aren't accustomed to realizing or acknowledging that

We aren't accustomed to realizing or acknowledging that a word means one thing instead of another thing? I think we just have a different definition of the word.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:00 PM
horizontal rule
996

987: Yeah, but he said that in the context of agreeing with Megan's 61, and slol's endorsement of Megan's 61, both of which were clearly about facility with ideas. The fact that Ogged can't pick examples from his own life for shit doesn't make him completely incomprehensible, if you look at who he's agreeing with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
997

1000!


Posted by: Coco LeBoobs | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
998

993: I dunno. I don't do moving pictures.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
999

I wonder if I'll have a second 1000th comment.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
1000

Nope.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
1001

988: Agreed, and never said otherwise. But we need to do more than just say "that program's for the upper middle class" (implication; and is therefore wrong); we need to talk about *why* the upper middle class needs that program, and then go on to have a discussion about whether or not having government programs to provide fundamental markers of middle classness (e.g., college educations) to people who are in the upper half of the income bracket indicates that maybe we're doing something wrong.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
1002

995: I think she meant that there is a lot more importance placed on the myth of equality, so some things become more difficult to talk around. The UK doesn't have such a myth.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
1003

And I shall exit gracefully, comforted in the knowledge that at least Cala understands...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
1004

993: IIRC, Constructivism is entirely non-figurative: black square on white field with red stripe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
1005

I don't think many film-makers self-identified as constructivists.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
1006

998: snob.
nob.s
ob.sn
b.sno
snob.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
1007

1004: url?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
1008

Dude, the examples were 'held the door in a way that played around with gender expectations' and 'proffered a french fry.' Someone who lacked those traits is not normally someone described as 'not smart enough.'

What traits are those?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
1009

100: personal sparkle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
1010

It wouldn't be m-fun if we had to call it o-smart.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
1011

Oh, jeez, you mean look something up rather than pulling it out of vague memories of 10th grade Art History? Like so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
1012

995: Are you saying that in the US, income = class, and it's that simple?

Okay. So you are saying that my father's wife, who works for the social security office and doesn't have a college degree, and her daughter, who is a bookkeeper with an associate's degree, were in the same social class that I was as a graduate student getting my PhD? Because I think that's just bullshit.

And so would they. Representative anecdote; dad's wife saying to me that she "could tell I was raised rich" because I had a juicer in my kitchen. I wasn't raised rich, and I wasn't rich at the time; what she meant is that she could tell I was a member of a different social class than she was, which is true. In contrast, I can tell that she is a different social class than I am because she goes out and buys brand new towels at Target every time I come for a visit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
1013

But I don't need to play Socratic; the last sentence of my 114 described what I think those actions showed and I think what I describe is perfectly reasonably and conventionally described as "smart." Maybe you prefer "quick" or "sharp" or "clever" or "sparkly," but it's not as if I'm using "smart" in some highly idiosyncratic way.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:07 PM
horizontal rule
1014

It's quite serendipitous that whoever described ogged's action as "proffering" a french fry, given what he's said about facials. We only need to know, now, whether it was thick-cut or not.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
1015

1011: huh. I love Kandinsky, but had never made that connection. Was he really so political? Where do the futurists come in? Educate me, overeducated!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
1016

Not me, I'm not even 100% sure that Kandinsky was a Constructivist. I just had his name rattling around in this squirrel cage I call a brain. Mcmc knows, I'm sure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
1017

LB, in her reactionary bourgeois running-dog fashion is confusing Constructivism with Suprematism.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
1018

I think another problem that comes into play in the US is the wide differences in the cost of living between different parts of the country. If LB moved to the Midwest and made what she makes in NYC I think most people would consider that an upper class income. In NYC however it probably isn't.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
1019

I was indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
1020

1017's first link is insufficiently explanatory about constructivism as applies to things other than graphic design. Further URL!

Suprematism's link to Futurism is trivial.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
1021

It would be sort of like if I described a bunch of dates as 'too ugly for me' and it turned out what I meant by that was 'he didn't have dimples.' It's got something to do with what I find attractive, but casts aspersions over a wider area than necessary. I don't like arguing just over the meaning of the word, but in your 114, "knowing what's going on in the other person's head" doesn't really seem to me like smartness.

And this is only important to the extent that you'd be using it to get set up with people that are actually compatible with you, which you have no interest in doing these days. So potato, potahto.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
1022

confusing Constructivism with Suprematism.

And so we come full circle.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
1023

I'm willing to argue at this point that Man With A Movie Camera was, in fact, Constructivist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
1024

if I described a bunch of dates as 'too ugly for me' and it turned out what I meant by that was 'he didn't have dimples.'

Not really. It would be as if someone very fast were looking for a running partner and said that someone was "too slow for me."

Yeah, we're past comment 1000, break out the analogies.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
1025

1021: I think this overstates the idiosyncraticness of Ogged's usage of 'smart', by a long shot. It clearly communicated what he was talking about to a whole bunch of people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
1026

Yeah, we're past comment 1000, break out the analogies

At what point are fonts and other html codes enabled?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
1027

Kandinsky shared the aesthetic values of the constructivists, but believed art had a spiritual mission, and as far as I know was a vague utopian socialist. The west in general was strongly influenced by the aesthetics of Russian Constructivism, but left the politics alone. The Futurists, as far as I recall, were enthusiatic supporters of Italian fascism.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
1028

I think another problem that comes into play in the US is the wide differences in the cost of living between different parts of the country. If LB moved to the Midwest and made what she makes in NYC I think most people would consider that an upper class income. In NYC however it probably isn't.

You're probably going to need to define "upper class," and I bet the numbers aren't going to change that much by geography. Unless NYC has changed a lot, there are in fact people there who are poor, middle class, etc.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
1029

1023: Okay.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
1030

idiosyncraticness

Talk about idiosyncratic usages.

1027: well, but they shared a similar enthusiasm for the conflation of of modern industrial process with humanism, no?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
1031

It clearly communicated what he was talking about to a whole bunch of people.

I definitely didn't think "open door with arched eyebrow."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
1032

Sifu: Have you seen Dziga and his Brothers?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:24 PM
horizontal rule
1033

Unless NYC has changed a lot, there are in fact people there who are poor, middle class, etc.

Yes, but they make a lot more money than similar people elsewhere.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
1034

1031: No? That's someone who's thinking about social subtexts, and kidding around with them. It's not the best "and then I knew she was truly brilliant" story, but it's intellectually playful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
1035

I definitely didn't think "open door with arched eyebrow."

MacGyver was smart enough to build a space shuttle out of toothpicks and turpentine, but you probably don't think "build a space shuttle out of toothpicks and turpentine" when someone says "smart" either.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
1036

1032: no! That looks great. You don't know anyplace to find other showtimes, do you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
1037

1036: No, it doesn't seem to be screened very often. I saw it as part of a Jewish film festival or something in Philadelphia, and it was indeed great. Maybe just keep an eye out for Jewish film festivals?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
1038

Lots of places three years ago, it appears.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
1039

1020: Below is link to a short article with a good list of links for individual constructivist artists.

http://wwar.com/masters/movements/constructivism.html


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
1040

As far as I know there's no agreed-upon definition of "class" anymore. It's an ordinary-language term with a multitude of semi-technical definitions.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
1041

1039: well, hm. I guess I do what that is. Never mind, then!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:33 PM
horizontal rule
1042

MSNBC had an article a few days ago about the thorniness of trying to define "middle class."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
1043

re: 991

No, the two aren't inconsistent at all and I'm not entirely clear why you'd think so [this is a request for clarification, not a piece of rhetoric trying to dispute what you're saying]. The whole point is that a significant portion of class identity is income-independent. It's precisely because of this that someone can be extremely rich while remaining middle class and extremely well educated while still self-identifying as working class. They're both instances of the same phenomenon.

I think you are assuming that 'upper class' means something to do with being rich. Which it doesn't. It's a socio-cultural category almost entirely defined by immersion in a particular culture which is largely defined by descent rather than by wealth. Lots of upper class people are income-poor.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:35 PM
horizontal rule
1044

1041: this edition of 'drop the verb' brought to you by The Poor Man Institute, failing to keep cobloggers in line since 2004.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:37 PM
horizontal rule
1045

Ogged asked for advice, concerning dating, and the topic begged for pontification about intelligence, class hierarchies, and snobbery. It's the perfect storm!

I predict the first ten thousand comment thread.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:38 PM
horizontal rule
1046

I think you are assuming that 'upper class' means something to do with being rich. Which it doesn't. It's a socio-cultural category almost entirely defined by immersion in a particular culture which is largely defined by descent rather than by wealth. Lots of upper class people are income-poor.

This seems to be the heart of the difference between UK and US usages. It's really hard to find upper-class people (ordinary language usage) in the US who aren't rich.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:38 PM
horizontal rule
1047

I just want to say, after being disconnected for about twenty minutes, something I don't get to say very often:

I've got your back, LB, about both the clarity and morality of "smart" in this context on this thread.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
1048

Lots of upper class people are income-poor.

Oddly enough, one of the best depictions of this I've come across was in Gone With the Wind (the book, not the movie). It's so blunt in its descriptions of social categories that it might as well be a sledgehammer, but it does manage to communicate the idea of being poor-as-church-mice gentry.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:40 PM
horizontal rule
1049

1048 crossed with 1046, with which I somewhat disagree.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:42 PM
horizontal rule
1050

969

"Eh. I think American usage is incoherent and all over the place -- examining my thought process, I think I'm really talking about political rhetoric. Any program that's supposed to help the 'middle class' gets called fraudulent if benefits go to anyone in the upper half of the income distribution. ..."

I haven't noticed this at least to any great extent. The current New York State "2007 Middle Class STAR Rebate Program" goes up to annual household income of $250,000 which seems like a fairly typical cutoff in actual practice.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:43 PM
horizontal rule
1051

Maybe I just haven't met the poor upper class. I have no idea what markers they'd have.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:45 PM
horizontal rule
1052

1034, 1035:

1. "Smart" is obviously a fraught word, particularly here, where people come for the cock jokes and stay for the smart cock jokes.

2. The playfulness described probably tracks with intelligence, but--after a certain not onerous intelligence ante--I suspect it tracks with class better. Even that's not quite right: I think it tracks best with "the sort of people I liked in college," which tracks with smarts and class and something more as well (recall "The Trouble with Chet"). It's really that "something more" that's at issue, I suspect.

3. If you use "smart" among a set of smart people when you mean something narrower, they'll dispute it for any number of reasons. One reason might be because (a) they know they're or people they know are smart, and (b) you're not describing them or people they know.

4. McGyver never made a space shuttle out of anything, and there was never any evidence of his ability to do so.

As I said above, I'm sympathetic to ogged's plight. And perhaps he described it well enough. But I think to understand it, you had to share some assumptions (wc?) with ogged that weren't stated.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:46 PM
horizontal rule
1053

1052.4: defeatist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:46 PM
horizontal rule
1054

re: 1048

Yeah, interestingly, that's an example from the 'South' which seems (to me, as an outsider, essentially talking ex recto and from a position of substantial ignorance) to share some features of the broadly 'European' class-system in ways that other parts of the US maybe don't.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
1055

1050: See the first half of the first sentence you quote. I didn't say that programs identified as middle class don't direct benefits to the upper half of the income distribution, just that they get described as fraudulent for doing so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:47 PM
horizontal rule
1056

1054: For the antebellum South this is especially true. There was a real effort to establish and maintain stratification by class, rather than by a variety of characteristics including income that are hard to pin down as class.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:50 PM
horizontal rule
1057

nattarGcM's right about the South, I think. And maybe that explains 1051, too -- aren't you from the West Coast? I think class to some extent functions differently in different regions of the U.S.

This doesn't really answer the question in 1051, but I think Bell/e War/ing once described a class issue around family silver -- apparently it's more upper class to have silver monogrammed with someone else's initials, because that means it's generations old, rather than some new shiny stuff with your own initials. I guess that falls under "Wealth, not income."

Amusingly, I was trying to think of an example to illustrate this and am only come up with a family I knew growing up...who were French. Definitely not a good illustration of the American class system!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
1058

927

"But second, you're saying that Ogged's framing of the issue is counterproductive. How? He wants to date sharp, witty women. The women he's being introduced to aren't sharp enough for his tastes. What's the more productive way of framing it that doesn't involve acknowledging that the women he's being introduced to lack a quality that's a dealbreaker for him?"

While I think there is nothing wrong in wanting to date smart people I think Ogged's framing could be questioned. It seems unclear that he actually wants to date anybody. In which case his criticism of the people trying to set him up is off.

Also smartness is not really a binary quality. I doubt his dates were all actually readily apparently so dumb as to be for this reason alone unacceptable assuming Ogged was actually looking.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
1059

Class is quite 'sticky' but not absolutely so. Upper-class people can remain upper-class while being quite income-poor, but not indefinitely. Being upper-class is definitely correlated with (relative) wealth at some point in relatively recent past. Where relatively recent past would be measured in decades but probably not tens of decades.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
1060

I think Ogged's framing could be questioned. It seems unclear that he actually wants to date anybody.

James B. Shearer makes his points with a certain deadpan charm. This one seems right to me, and has seemed so for a while.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
1061

Where relatively recent past would be measured in decades but probably not tens of decades.

Dude, the country itself is only 230-odd years old. We don't measure anything in tens of decades.

(I'm not arguing with you.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
1062

If this post was any more boring, I'd be reading Washington Monthly. Oh, no! I am reading Washington Monthly!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:01 PM
horizontal rule
1063

by the way, if fucking Ogged can't get laid because everyone he meets is so much less fucking intelligent than he is, consider what living hell things must be like for the likes of me. sorry if someone has done this joke already, I am just in an uncommonly intolerable mood because I have finally riled Professor Emeritus Norman Geras to the extent where he has thrown a rather embarrassing hissy fit at me on his blog.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:02 PM
horizontal rule
1064

1060: Marcus is banned permanently, irrevocably, and with great prejudice.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:02 PM
horizontal rule
1065

The South was wrecked settled primarily by Scots. of course.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:02 PM
horizontal rule
1066

1055

Described by who? There are nutty attacks on all sorts of generally accepted terminology.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
1067

1061: I'd argue that the relevant number is 400 years, but I've used up my argumentativeness for this thread. I'm trying to remember some cock jokes.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
1068

1063: See, having someone throw an embarrassing hissy fit would put anyone with a brain into a great mood. Dummy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
1069

You're right, I'm from the west coast and when you add in the mostly immigrant family background and my not having met many people period, you can get a long way towards how I wouldn't have met many poor or even rich upper class people. I don't have a lot of personal experience with class in this sense, once you rule out Europeans I've met.

However:

1) Obviously there are upper class people trying to stay in the upper class, but who might be on the way out if things don't improve employment/marriage-wise. I'd be interested to know of upper class people who are relatively stable as poor and upper class. (In the US, of course.)

2) Most people in the upper class in the US, I suspect, are from families that broke into it (maybe a few generations ago) and I'm not sure you can break into the upper class without being rich, in an income earning sort of way, at some point. There really isn't a history of landed gentry/aristocracy in the US. But of course you can be from a "was rich, now isn't" group, like the people in 1).

3. "Upper middle class" seems to be pretty clearly an income-based term in ordinary language usage. Jumping from there to "upper class" usually means moving up in income again, doesn't it? Or am I completely wrong about that?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
1070

1063: We have considered that. That's why we cut you some slack about saying "cunt" so much.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
1071

The Lur practice Taqiyyah with a vengeance. The relationship-free enforcement authorities have no problem with devotees who pretend to want relationships, as long as their behavior makes it clear that they don't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
1072

I am in a great mood. that's what makes me so intolerable. Ask Professor Emeritus Norman Geras if you don't believe me (curiously, despite being "unloveable" in my online persona in Professor Emeritus Norman's view, after five years of blogging I still have roughly the same mates as when I started and have made a few more, whereas a casual glance at Norm's blogroll reveals that he has lost nearly all of his vintage 2002 friends and gained an awful lot of new mates who tend rather more American, rightwing and insane than the old crowd).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
1073

Poor upper class people: immigrants with PhDs working as cab drivers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
1074

1057: My family has silver looted from Germany during WWII. Coincidentally, it has my grandmother's maiden name's initial.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
1075

1072: I couldn't love you more, dsquared. You tell that terrible Norman fellow that, see if he feels like re-fighting the battle of Hastings right what ho. Huh?

Where am I?

Where's a new thread?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
1076

1073: that would be immigrants with titles of nobility working as cab drivers, shurely.

for my part, I was lucky enough to meet a woman rather cleverer than me when I was 24 - since that time I have adopted the dual strategy of marrying her and poisoning her gradually with alcohol to bring her down to my level.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
1077

1072: That's right, D2! You tell him! You're with the popular crowd, and he *isn't*!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
1078

1069.3: I think of the difference between "upper middle class" and "rich" as being more or less high income vs. high assets, but that may be just me.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
1079

Where relatively recent past would be measured in decades but probably not tens of decades.

I am going to go out on a limb and state that this may vary from country to country, and that when some Americans say "wait a second, that's not how class works" it may not be because Americans have no way to talk about class, but because that's not how it works here.

I mean, sure you can be this sort of upper class in the South, but in the eyes of the rest of the country, you're still a dumb Southerner (a rich one to be sure, but a dumb Southerner nonetheless).


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
1080

While Dsquared is gracing us with his presence I'd like to thank him for his elucidation of the Davies BBC Pronunciation Department Theory Of Geopolitics:

[...] Mahmoud Ahamdinejad's name is fucking difficult to spell. It's also difficult to pronounce. This forms the basis for my latest raft of pronouncements on international affairs.
It is based on the Davies BBC Pronunciation Department Theory Of Geopolitics, which basically states that the importance of any foreigner to the politics of the UK can be reasonably assessed by looking at how much trouble the newsreaders take to get his name right.
In general, the BBC appears to believe that all foreigners are pissy little no-marks and you pronounce their names phonetically as if they were English words.
Viz, the pronunciation of Ahmadinejad's name (which is actually much easier to spell than Khruschev's if you remember that it is actually a double-barrelled name - Ahmadi-Nejad - the Guardian actually used to spell it this way for a short while but seems to have given up). This is basically pronounced as "I'm a dinner jacket".

More.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
1081

I think 1078 is correct, in the American context. (Which is to say, upper class sorta kinda is not *having* to work. Of course upper class Americans usually do work as CEOs or consultants or what have you.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
1082

in the eyes of the rest of the country, you're still a dumb Southerner

Nonsense. In the eyes of the rest of the country, you're a rich motherfucker who owns racehorses or runs for Senate or some shit like that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
1083

I was counting investment income/rents as income, you know.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
1084

I'm actually in America next week, but I doubt I'll have time to meet any of you types - the itinerary that has been set out for me, I will need good luck and a following wind to spend more than half a minute in the same metropolitan area as my own arse.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:16 PM
horizontal rule
1085

And of course you can be rich and not upper class. Whether you're a rich "dumb" Southerner or a rich upper class Southerner with some prestige is going to be related to things including income, but not only income.

I've just been wondering about non-rich upper classhood.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:16 PM
horizontal rule
1086

Ok, new post is up, let's clear out of here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
1087

Everybody give the lovable Davies a hug!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
1088

Go back 8 generations and you get to places where Cheney and Obama have a comon ancestor. The Upper class families have black sheep. Not everyone inherits from the estate. People spend it. Someone mentioned here that the Mayflower Society is average folks. Still, having a name and relatives in the right places (3rd cousin could be OK) can't hurt. That good ole cultural capital.

I was thinking of Sir Richard Saltonstall who was part of the Great Migration. Googling "Saltonstall Family" shows various US Senators and such. But it also snags some guy in CA who is growing olives and boasts about being in the umpteenth generation of the American branch of the family. The farmer is trying to bank on the cultural capital. (Though there's an argument that doing so is proof that he isn't upper class.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
1089

1) Obviously there are upper class people trying to stay in the upper class, but who might be on the way out if things don't improve employment/marriage-wise.

Oh, for sure.

I'd be interested to know of upper class people who are relatively stable as poor and upper class.

Stable for one generation, yes. More than that...what nettarGcM said.

I'm not sure you can break into the upper class without being rich, in an income earning sort of way, at some point.

Completely agree.

"Upper middle class" seems to be pretty clearly an income-based term in ordinary language usage. Jumping from there to "upper class" usually means moving up in income again, doesn't it? Or am I completely wrong about that?

Necessary but not sufficient. You also have to have time. So Grace Kelly's father can be a bricklayer, but not until the next generation can a member of his family be considered an appropriate match for a prince.

And to B's point about cabdrivers: the mental-health implications of moving from a high-status occupation in country of origin to a low-status occupation combined with xenophobic prejudice in a new country are significant. And in my opinion, very poorly understood.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
1090

Test. No reason to think commenting from my smartphone is any easier once my treviso-stansted flight's been grounded til 240 am?


Posted by: wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
1091

Late to the thread, but: Yeah, I think that's the only thing that annoys me about polys, even my friends. They really do think everyone is poly, on the inside, and just haven't realized it yet.

Wow. You need better polys in your circle. All the polys I know are completely respectful of monos who say "I just couldn't deal with it" -- at most they might say "it's not as weird as you might think", but would never insist that everyone is poly and just hasn't realized it yet.

On the other hand, all you monosexuals are in denial.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
1092

Someone mentioned here that the Mayflower Society is average folks.

That was me, and my point was that talking much about your Mayflower ancestors feeds the suspicion that your family hasn't done anything during the intervening 487 years.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
1093

Go back 8 generations and you get to places where Cheney and Obama have a comon ancestor.

Isn't Obama from Kenya? I guess that's still technically possible, but...


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
1094

Grace Kelly's dad owned a masonry business. He wasn't a laborer, but had done physical work for wages during his lifetime, so he was initially excluded from the Olympics and only allowed to compete after he sued. It is said that he revolutionized rowing by taking short powerful strokes instead of long graceful strokes which didn't provide much oomph at the beginning and end.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
1095

No class markers there.


Posted by: wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
1096

Immigrant cabdrivers seem to be an interesting and related, but separate point from what I was talking about. I was trying to get at what people who've spent a great deal of their lives in the US, have been heavily socialized in the US, and are talking about people with similar backgrounds who are living in the US, mean when they say "upper class."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:29 PM
horizontal rule
1097

Anyway, as far as I can tell, we're mostly agreeing. Except my attempt to get at differences between US and UK usages seems to have failed. Oh well.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
1098

I know an upper-class big-time MD who has two slacker sons. They've been able to stay in the middle class with his parents' help, and the one with a kid will probably be able to raise him into the middle class too, but when their dad dies i think that they'll find that they already have most of his money. They've gone from upper to lower-middle and their kids will have trouble getting back.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
1099

Nonsense. In the eyes of the rest of the country, you're a rich motherfucker who owns racehorses or runs for Senate or some shit like that.

Rich motherfuckers is rich motherfuckers. But if your parents owned a huge sugar plantation back in the day but you yourself are not particularly distinguished other than that (i.e. high class if not high income/assets), no one in the rest of the country particularly cares.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
1100

And while I'm clarifying, when I wrote:

Jumping from there to "upper class" usually means moving up in income again, doesn't it? Or am I completely wrong about that?

I meant jumping from one category to another when talking. You say "upper middle class" for some range, but when you cross the upper boundary you start saying things like "upper class." I wasn't talking about upper middle class people themselves moving up, like the Kelly family - who, I'd note, pedantically, were not moving up entirely in an American context. But now that I think about it, I suspect most people see "rich" as above "upper middle class"; "upper class" does keep it's more-than-income connotations.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:35 PM
horizontal rule
1101

DS, it was brief news item, but it turns out that they are distant relatives. I'd guess it was documented through his mother's family tree. I looked it up and it has been corrected to 9th cousin once removed, so 10 links up. Obama and Bush are 11th cousins.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:36 PM
horizontal rule
1102

All this confusion would be solved if we'd just say "our social betters" and defer to them in all parts of our lives.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:36 PM
horizontal rule
1103

I think I've figured out all the confusion. Ogged really meant "smart" as in "wow, that's a really smart-looking suit". In other words, he's looking for a woman with a good tailor, which is certainly in short supply these days.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
1104

Oh my god, elevendy-hundred comments. People, is it even worth it for me to read this damn thing?

(Confidential to ogged: just give up on finding perfect love, already.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
1105

is it even worth it for me to read this damn thing?

Depends on whether you've run out of cereal boxes to read the backs of.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
1106

Grace Kelly would never have caught Prince Rainier's eye if Hitchcock didn't have a pervy thing for ice queens.

My first cousins are all over the map geographically and financially. Are they all upper class? Most certainly not, but they know which fork to use.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
1107

They've been able to stay in the middle class with his parents' help

That's as good a definition of comfortably middle class as any. Upper middle is when you can do that over two generations; upper is when you can do it for three or more.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:52 PM
horizontal rule
1108

(Confidential to ogged: just give up on finding perfect love, already.)

The smart chick who dates skinny Persians is taken.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
1109

1107: agreed. Class is the set of attitudes and prejudices designed to protect this state of affairs.

Marcus is banned permanently, irrevocably, and with great prejudice.

B, you've been waiting to say this for months.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10-18-07 8:30 PM
horizontal rule