Dr Strauss says I shoud rite down what I think and remembir. March 19, 2013 6:55 AM   Subscribe

According to the responses to this AskMe question, MetaFilter is home to 15+ regular users who score at least three standard deviations away from the mean on IQ tests (in the positive direction). And, moreover, these extraordinary savants monitor AskMe systematically enough to pick out questions relevant to their stratospheric intellects, and they are happy to discuss their lot (some via sock puppets). I think that we, the MeFi userbase, should be proud to share the company of so many outstandingly gifted individuals, and that this is truly one of the things that makes MeFi such an extraordinary online community.
posted by Nomyte to MetaFilter-Related at 6:55 AM (255 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

I'm pretty sure there's well beyond 15 regular users with high IQs - see one person's note in that thread that 140+ IQ works out to something like 1% of the population. Then, too, note that most people in that thread (and I'd agree with them) don't consider that experience to be radically different - this labeling as "extraordinary savants" with "stratospheric intellects" feels a bit weird.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 7:00 AM on March 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I guess I do not belong to that group, because I can't seem to grasp whether you are being sarcastic or not.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 7:01 AM on March 19, 2013 [79 favorites]


yeah I'm with gnfti. It makes sense in a community of tens of thousands that we'd have people all over the bell curve for intelligence. Why are you being snarky about them?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:05 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I keep trying, but not very hard, to come up with some sort of MensaFilter joke, but then instead I just wrote this. I don't know, we'll fix it in post I guess.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:07 AM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


That tape on your glasses really sets off your eyes.
posted by MustardTent at 7:07 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


MensaFilter joke

RU
    T
    A
  B
  A   A
    G
posted by griphus at 7:11 AM on March 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


An IQ of 140 is not 3 SDs from the mean, so they're a bit more common than you seem to think they are. Also, I would be extremely surprised if the curve for the Metafilter population fits the regular bell curve at all.
posted by Ms. Next at 7:19 AM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


Wait, are we mad about that week old thread?
posted by Think_Long at 7:22 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


My question is why did it take so long to come up with this snark. Wasn't that post like last week?
posted by loriginedumonde at 7:24 AM on March 19, 2013


The passive-aggressive is strong with this one.

Also, I don't know what my IQ score is, but I do know that QI on the triple letter square going two directions is a score of 62, although some consider it to be a 5-point penalty.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 7:24 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Posts like this one make me feel really glum when they come so soon after a Mister Rogers post on the blue.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:30 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


That question and the first few answers have so many preconceptions, assumptions and false beliefs that I can't even begin to reply.
posted by DU at 7:30 AM on March 19, 2013


My question is why did it take so long to come up with this snark. Wasn't that post like last week?

You quick-of-wit are all the same!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:30 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The sarcasm in this post is at least 2, and possible 3 standard deviations from the mean.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:38 AM on March 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


DU, that was where I found myself on that one, too. I just kind of sputtered for a bit and felt a little badly that I couldn't marshal my brainmeats into being more useful, but then found myself amused because it proved the reality of the OP's assumed ideal so neatly.

I'm also confused about whether or not this is sincere or sarcastic. It seems to be sarcastic, but, if so, it's unctiously deft.
posted by batmonkey at 7:40 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now I think I know why I don't comment here as much as I used to.
posted by tommasz at 7:41 AM on March 19, 2013


Im dumb
posted by chococat at 7:42 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why is this thread still here?
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:46 AM on March 19, 2013


My IQ is so big, it's been sighted in a loch in Scotland.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:49 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can see it from my house.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:49 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why is this thread still here?

Because we were sort of hoping Nomyte might clarify what they were actually trying to accomplish. I usually wait an hour.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:50 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


A while ago, I read some stuff that left me satisfied with two claims: 1) IQ tests are fundamentally flawed; 2) a theory of mind that includes intelligence, the way we normally think about it, is wrong.

But then I lost the stuff I had been reading, and I don't remember much about it. So, basically, I had nothing to contribute to that Ask.Me or to this discussion. You're welcome.
posted by meese at 7:52 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm 3 std deviations below the mean mean and so I think that Nomyte needs a hug.
posted by drlith at 7:54 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm good enough, I'm smart enough. And people like me.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:54 AM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


I always found that the best way to feel smart was to hang around stupid people.

The only IQ test I ever took I scored 127, which puts me at the high end for society in general, but at the low end for MeFi, I'd wager.
posted by jonmc at 8:00 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The asker concluded his question as follows:
However I'm nowhere near the big leagues [intelligence-wise]. How do I come to terms with that, and embrace what I have now?
Among several others, smoke answered the question as stated. The rest came out with variations on "Speaking as an extremely intelligent, nay, gifted, individual, it ain't so great." The reason I waited several days, which is apparently an extremely long time on MeFi, is that this tendency to turn questions into puffery is pretty endemic. If another similar question was posted tomorrow, I'm sure it would turn out exactly the same.

I obviously understand that I can't turn around good ship MetaFilter single-handedly, and this isn't a callout against anyone in particular. I'm hoping that by posting this, at least some people will consider the inherent ridiculousness of responses to questions like the one I linked to.
posted by Nomyte at 8:03 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's an odd question. Adult asks how do I come to terms with not having this facility that I wish I had. To which my answer would be something along the lines of ... "You're an adult. How have you not come to terms with this yet?" In other words, the answer ends up being probably the most common of all Me-Fi answers. "Maybe you should think about some therapy."

As for IQ tests, my experience is consistent with jonmc's. Did one. Scored okay, but nothing to brag about. The real question is, was I high at the time?
posted by philip-random at 8:05 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nomyte - It sounds like you don't consider anecdotal responses to a question to be valid or helpful, is that what you're saying?

I'd wager that others would disagree with you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think a week is a pretty long time for a MeTa regarding an actual thread - I see most MeTa cal louts as corrective or divertive in nature, to do so after the discussion is over is kind of pointless to me.

That said, I can see how the humblebrags in that thread could be annoying, but isn't that why God made our eyes roll-able?
posted by Think_Long at 8:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm a mean deviant.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:11 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I dunno, Nomyte, this looks like puffery too. I get the IQ hate, but you're smart, and it's weird to see smart people making fun of intelligence. Ironic humblebragging is still humblebragging, which means it's still bragging. It's like rich people who make fun of conspicuous consumption: insincere privilege-guarding. Whereas the folks in that thread are answering the question: IQ ain't all that great.

Seriously, intelligence isn't all it's cracked up to be. My grandfather worked in a factory all his life, drank all the family's savings away, and would hit my grandmother so badly she lost an eye, but everybody always said he had a high IQ. He loved puzzles.

Some things are better than being able to speed-solve the Rubik's cube.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:15 AM on March 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Having a high IQ and being on metafilter is underachieving. I've scored as slightly below average and am on metafilter! Suck it you unrealized potential losers! I'm over-achieving. At least temporarily until the Algernon-Gordon effect kicks in.
posted by srboisvert at 8:15 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think many of those answers were honest attempts to answer the OP's question. One way to come to terms with not having a really high IQ is to understand that IQ isn't everything and doesn't always lead to success or a happy life.
posted by Area Man at 8:16 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nomyte I heard about your pet today. I'm sorry. I hope you're doing ok. That mouse loved you. My best to you and Alice.
posted by boo_radley at 8:16 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


I know a lot of words, but I count on my fingers.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:17 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


yeah I'm with gnfti

From now on, I will always read goodnewsfortheinsane's username as "nifty."
posted by phunniemee at 8:19 AM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


I guess I'm naive, because I read this post as being sincere, and agree with it as written. There are a lot of smart people here, and I'm happy to be in a community with them.
posted by jbickers at 8:21 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


jessamyn: "yeah I'm with gnfti."

Also hello new metafilter tshirt idea (Along with "Jessamyn West has a posse").
posted by boo_radley at 8:21 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]




I'm hoping that by posting this, at least some people will consider the inherent ridiculousness of responses to questions like the one I linked to.

I would think if someone posted about coping with a genetic abnormality (in the form of a disorder) and people posted their experience with said abnormality, almost everyone would consider that a valid form of answer. Extremely high intelligence is a genetic abnormality.

It looks like the majority of people in that thread who claim a high-level of intelligence posted thoughtful, often negative responses to it. People often talked about giving up IQ points for perceived shortcomings. The fact that you read those as puffery says more about you than it does the poster, in my opinion.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:23 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Really good humble bragging uses the language of privilege. The best is when someone recognizes and admits in an online comment that they are privileged by being what is conventionally understood to be physically attractive, particularly when they spell out what makes them so attractive (darn that symmetrical face!) I've only seen that a few times, and never at Metafilter, but it always gets me laughing.
posted by Area Man at 8:27 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The answers being taken as humblebraggy are pretty clearly attempts to answer the question via anecdote. "I'm in that alleged 99th percentile, and it's not so great. So take that personal experience for what it is, and hopefully that's helpful in whatever coming-to-terms-with-it means for you." Based on later comments by the askme's OP, pretty clearly that's how they received it too.

The case can be made that anecdote-answers aren't the most optimal way to answer such things. Of course, the case can also be made that snarky sarcasm isn't the most optimal way to post about a Meta concern. People being people, the most optimal way often doesn't happen.
posted by Drastic at 8:29 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


> I would think if someone posted about coping with a genetic abnormality (in the form of a disorder) and people posted their experience with said abnormality, almost everyone would consider that a valid form of answer. Extremely high intelligence is a genetic abnormality.

Yes, but the question wasn't "how do I cope with being extremely intelligent," it was, in fact, the exact opposite, "how do I cope with not being extremely intelligent."

> I dunno, Nomyte, this looks like puffery too. I get the IQ hate, but you're smart, and it's weird to see smart people making fun of intelligence. Ironic humblebragging is still humblebragging, which means it's still bragging. It's like rich people who make fun of conspicuous consumption: insincere privilege-guarding. Whereas the folks in that thread are answering the question: IQ ain't all that great.

Thank you, I appreciate this. I wanted to say that "I may or may not be smart, but you couldn't tell by my writing," but I guess this admission says more. MetaFilter represents a world of diverse experience, and it is my sincerest hope that it can also be a place of patience, curiosity, and humility. This applies to myself as much as anyone. But I do realize that all is vanity, etc.
posted by Nomyte at 8:30 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The best is when someone recognizes and admits in an online comment that they are privileged by being what is conventionally understood to be physically attractive, particularly when they spell out what makes them so attractive...

You know that actually reminds me of that Pinterest gallery someone linked of beefcake shots of hirsute celebrity dudes with adorably lascivious captions. A number of people could not, would not, believe that was a genuine appreciation and not an ironic point-and-laugh festival.
posted by griphus at 8:33 AM on March 19, 2013


This is obviously a sarcastic and snarky, even snotty, callout which really surprises me because it's from a poster I had a generally positive impression of, in passing at least.

The answers strike me as predominantly really sensitive reflections on growing up with the sort of intense thought storms that high intelligence can create and the ensuent feelings of not being like other kids, or adults, and thus introspective, shy, or even anxious or worse. High intelligence very often comes with an emotional price.

Maybe the point is the question is comparable to the apocryphal question "My dick is so big it gets caught in my bicycle seat. What kinds of problems do people with even bigger dicks have?"

So maybe the question could have been more nuanced or subtle, but many of the answers are extraordinary and why on earth Nomyte would want to make this callout I have no idea, and his/her more recent comment does nothing to take the edge of it. In fact, it reinforces the interpretation that this is not a good faith callout, but one which is self-evidently snotty, maybe bitter.

The best one can say is, Nomyte, use your words when making a Metatalk post of this nature.

Anyway, I don't see the value in keeping this ridiculous callout open.
posted by Rumple at 8:36 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes, but the question wasn't "how do I cope with being extremely intelligent," it was, in fact, the exact opposite, "how do I deal with not being extremely intelligent."

But the person asking also described his perception of what it was like to be intelligent - and that is what prompted all of the anecdotes. It's a way of saying, "okay, you're trying to get over not being able to achieve something that isn't even a reality in the first place."

It's like - say they were asking for advice about "help me cope with not being a rock star", but then explained that they'd always wanted to be a rock star "because you get massages from all the groupies hanging around your studio, and it's money for nothing because all you do is sing and you've got parties all the time and your own corporate jet and a mansion and a free Ferrari whenever your album goes gold and it's a sweet life, so help me accept I won't get that sweet life." That impression of a "sweet life" is a total fantasy on the asker's part, so a lot of people no doubt would be telling them what being a real musician is "really like" -- to drive home the point that even if the asker WAS a musician, they wouldn't have the sweet life they'd imagined it was.

And often, hearing that your fantasies about what a certain life is like are just that, fantasies, can help you get over them really easily. ....Hell, a taste of what an acting life was really like is what finally cured me of the wish to become an actress when I was 19.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:37 AM on March 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


The best is when someone recognizes and admits in an online comment that they are privileged by being what is conventionally understood to be physically attractive, particularly when they spell out what makes them so attractive

it's mostly my eyes, which are like two pools of sable tiger fur (in a erotical sexual way)
posted by Greg Nog at 8:37 AM on March 19, 2013 [21 favorites]




Yes, but the question wasn't "how do I cope with being extremely intelligent," it was, in fact, the exact opposite, "how do I cope with not being extremely intelligent."

In which case, "Meh, it ain't all it's cracked up to be" is a perfectly valid and potentially helpful thing to say. If someone posted an AskMe about how much he wanted a Corvette and how it always pissed him off that his neighbor owned a Corvette and how he felt like not having a Corvette was negatively impacting his life and how could he stop obsessing about not having a Corvette, then "I have a Corvette, and it's a huge money sink and the last time I hitchhiked to the mechanic to pick it up I was kidnapped by aliens" is... well, I won't say helpful, but it's close.
posted by Etrigan at 8:38 AM on March 19, 2013


the question wasn't "how do I cope with being extremely intelligent," it was, in fact, the exact opposite, "how do I cope with not being extremely intelligent."

"How do I stop obsessing about this thing I don't have, but imagine would be fantastic to have?"

"Well, I have that thing, and it's not so fantastic, it's actually problematic in some ways. You have a false idea of this thing, which makes it unattainable and thus not worth obsessing over."

Pretty reasonable response, even anecdotally.
posted by fatbird at 8:41 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I tested a really high score when I was a kid. But then I discovered marijuana and reality TV, so I imagine it's about 30 now.
posted by angrycat at 8:42 AM on March 19, 2013 [20 favorites]


"the question wasn't "how do I cope with being extremely intelligent," it was, in fact, the exact opposite, "how do I cope with not being extremely intelligent.""

I mostly take solace in my extremely large genitals.
posted by klangklangston at 8:42 AM on March 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


I think OP's attempt to "turn around good ship MetaFilter" is misguided. If there's any behavior that needs to be corrected, it's that of posting a tongue-in-cheek MeTa, then waiting over an hour to clarify one's intent. I have no problem with any of the comments in that Ask thread, and I would actually hope that if a similar thread were posted tomorrow that it would be answered similarly.
posted by antonymous at 8:42 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm hoping that by posting this, at least some people will consider the inherent ridiculousness of responses to questions like the one I linked to.

It would have been awesome, then, if you could have made your point more clearly in your post originally.

I specifically didn't answer in that thread because I didn't want to be ragged on for saying "Yeah. I fall into the high IQ category, here is some advice..." because that's been the MO my entire life. Say you're smart, people rag on you. Act smart, people rag on you. Trying to quietly be smart without mentioning it or trying to act it is difficult for me. I wish I were better at it, I'm not. I'm known in town now as the girl who won bar trivia the night I went by myself and it was sort of embarrassing because 1. the only reason I was alone was because my friends didn't show 2. the only reason I stayed was because there were only two teams otherwise 3. I was really conflicted about whether it was better to try to win or try to lose. This stuff is hard. Sometimes it's nice to be in a place where you can commiserate.

I grew up, and now live, in a rural area where being at this end of the spectrum is even weirder than it would be if I was in a big city. But more importantly, other people know a ton of other things that don't show up on IQ tests and a lot of them, including how to not be a twitchy awkward person, are things I could stand to learn.

It's similar (I suspect) to having a big penis (on preview, oh hi klang!). If you complain about it, everyone wants you to shut up but it's still a problem sometimes, and that's sometimes a bit worse because people think they'd want to be you and actually they probably don't want to be you.

tl;dr I thought that AskMe was fine. I think it is nice that MeFi is a place where people can talk about being smart.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:45 AM on March 19, 2013 [112 favorites]


this had better not be another mac/pc thread thing.

or i am pretty sure i might be upset.

maybe.
posted by lampshade at 8:45 AM on March 19, 2013


I mostly take solace in my extremely large genitals.

Artist's conception.
posted by griphus at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, but the question wasn't "how do I cope with being extremely intelligent," it was, in fact, the exact opposite, "how do I cope with not being extremely intelligent."

I have this one friend who, when we were growing up, was an autism fetishist - through movies and TV, he got it in his head that it was amazing to be able to "ignore" most of the world and just focus on music, or counting cards, or whatever. He thought of it as a "gift."

I also dated a girl with synaesthesia who had people constantly come up to her and tell her how cool that must be - to hear things and see colours.

The only counter to the perception that genetic abnormalities, even if not severe, are not necessarily gifts is by explaining experiences that counter that. People look at high levels of intelligence as a gift - as this poster did - and people's experience is often very much the opposite of that experience.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2013


Saying "it's not all sunshine", with more words, and more details, or a variation of that is a pretty direct answer to "How do I come to terms with that, and embrace what I have now? To stop obsessing so much over this ridiculous insecurity of mine?"

I mean, besides the "being NDT" part, which, no one can be... or could answer, unless we have some secret "popular authors"... so, yes, maybe the intent of the question was to the part about "how do I get past not being part of the thought-makers"/super elite writer/thinkers/prodigious publishers... but it seemed like it was also asking the other more basic general thing about insecurities. Which, the responses discussing being happy with what one has, and working hard, and challenges of assumptions and expectations of others surrounding "high-IQs" (more eloguently) seem like fine answers to.
posted by infinite intimation at 8:49 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mostly take solace in my extremely large genitals.

So do I.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:50 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


They are large.

They contain multitudes.
posted by griphus at 8:51 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mostly take solace in my extremely large genitals.

So do I.


Jesus, how fucking big are his genitals?
posted by fatbird at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2013 [26 favorites]


However, they have a low IQ.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


> I'm hoping that by posting this, at least some people will consider the inherent ridiculousness of responses to questions like the one I linked to.

Next time try saying what you mean; then maybe people will consider what you want them to consider instead of the apparent ridiculousness of your post.
posted by languagehat at 8:57 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Jesus, how fucking big are his genitals?

So big, they won't take Spielberg's calls.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:58 AM on March 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


It's sort of funny, one of the things that really held me back in life was this IQ/testing nonsense and being told that I was smart by whatever criteria was popular at the time over the last 30+ years. I would have been rather been told I was good and that I worked hard.

Once I figured out that it mostly didn't matter how smart you were unless you worked hard with it, life got easier. That was a lesson I didn't learn until I dropped out of college and actually got hungry for the first time in my life and had to work hard.

Now with a minion in my life I try to focus on the hard working aspect, I don't care if she's smart, I care if she works hard...which I value dramatically more over clever, smart or some testing shit that attempts to rank her against peers.
posted by iamabot at 8:59 AM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


I mostly take solace in my extremely large genitals.

Artist's conception.


Artist's conception (a quarter of the way down the page)
posted by Think_Long at 9:01 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps as an addendum, how high I tested mattered not one shit because it took me until my mid 20's to figure out it was all a racket. That's how stupid this "smart" guy is.
posted by iamabot at 9:02 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


:I was really conflicted about whether it was better to try to win or try to lose.
This describes a lot of people and situations, for one in terms of trying in school, when it "isn't cool", or it will draw all sorts of attention (some at first "nice" but then hostile, and angry, and expecting weird things, or like "super-performance") there is a whole thing that "boys are troublemakers, and caring about book stuff is stupid", dozens of cliches, and pervasive attitudes around this.

There is a whole mess of social stigatization (a flavour of which is seen in this original post) that tries to make sure people can be smart... but not too smart (or acknowledge it). There are hundreds of smarts... so being IQ smart doesn't mean it is possible to perform tricks, or "succeed". The other smarts that people praised in that ask were well noted... being persistent, caring, attentive, all those other forms, and so balancing two ideas "there are many types of smarts, here are some, not all of them require brain-modification", and "being IQ smart is stigmatized, in a 'weird' zone of mixed expectations and assumptions and other challenges, so it isn't something that you want to modify your brain to 'get'..."

Cutting off the tall poppies or something. But the tall poppies are easier to knock over, and they are already more likely to get broken by wandering animals, more likely to be thin, and they aren't exactly super far outside of normal anyway... but some people feel like they "meant" to get tall, so they should take their lumps when they are cut down.

YAY.
posted by infinite intimation at 9:02 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've never taken an IQ test - did they have you take them in high school or something?
posted by Think_Long at 9:03 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some AskMe questions tend to attract answers that are less direct answers and more "I have experiences that are related to this. Let me tell you about myself!" This was one of them. And some users have a tendency to jump at questions that allow them to talk about themselves. I am one of them. (I'm working on it and think I'm getting a little better.)

But there are times when "Let me tell you about my experience" is a useful answer, even if it doesn't directly answer the question as stated. If you're looking for ways to cope with not being smart/beautiful/rich/etc., getting a few holes poked in the fantasy is a way to cope.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:08 AM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


I took one when a friend of the family had to give some as part of her grad program. And apparently had interesting-to-my-family results, because I remember then my folks taking me in to one of the local universities and taking another IQ test there.

And, yeah, dealing with how to be smart and how that manifests can be awkward-making. One of the things I like about my relationship with my partner is that neither one of us is "the smart one" (a thing which can often result in weird relationship Stuff).
posted by rmd1023 at 9:15 AM on March 19, 2013


I take comfort in my ...

Um.

Well, shit.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:20 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mostly take solace in my extremely large genitals.

Do they ride in the front seat or the back?

Here am I, brain the size of a planet, and what has it ever done for me?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:20 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, shit.
posted by Rustic Etruscan


Rusty, you'll be okay. Trust me: I have extremely large genitals.
posted by Nomyte at 9:23 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


We just had a very interesting question about a user who wanted to keep his thinning hair. Many of the answers ran to the "forget it, learn to rock the bald" end of the spectrum. I just counted. The post has more comments towards the rock the bald end than how to do what the querent wanted to actually do.

I view the comments in the post you pointed out less as bragging and more as the, ah, often contrary responses to AskMe questions, which very often veer towards the "do not want what you want; give up this want" side of things. I'm not too keen on that non-answer but it happens, just as above in the thinning hair question.

This tendency mated loudly and vigorously with the fact that, let us be honest about it, Metafilter has self-selected for folks who have skied so far on the right side of the bell curve that it looks like they're on the bunny slopes, and thus "Yeah, I'm really smart, it's not a great time, craving leads to suffering" was born, squalling and red.
posted by adipocere at 9:24 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait are we doing eugenics or not?

Cause I'm a double blue eye carrier so budding starts in the low thousands.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Could we get just one thread where Whelk doesn't try to spread his DNA all over the place?
posted by Think_Long at 9:28 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


If they're already budding, that means something is wrong with the containment unit.
posted by griphus at 9:29 AM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


He's an altruistic pervert. He's here to spread some genes!
posted by Nomyte at 9:30 AM on March 19, 2013

Yes, but the question wasn't "how do I cope with being extremely intelligent," it was, in fact, the exact opposite, "how do I cope with not being extremely intelligent."
There is a fine line between those two questions, and answers for either respond to both (it's a basic relational problem question, come on! [Joking, I have no idea what it is]).
Also, note this from the question:
I know that I'm above average, but nowhere near the gifted spectrum.
From my reading of the question it isn't like they were looking for "coping mechanisms from 'the unintelligent'", whatever that would be. They were soliciting responses from a wider group than that. The answers there do answer the question as asked. Coping mechanisms for "ridiculous" insecurity. An answer of "professional advice" would work, but the answers were valid, useful, and answered the question that was asked.

So, the asker was not self-describing as "gifted" (if that is a thing), but above average still sounds like a variation of 'extremely' intelligent.
So, I think the question is fine as is, as a question, but by taboos or social pressure that seem to come from saying "stop humblebragging", or "don't talk about intelligence, especially if it is your own" the question itself *could* be seen as just the same to others.

budding starts in the low thousands
The Whelk can make more Whelks, an army of The Whelks!
posted by infinite intimation at 9:34 AM on March 19, 2013


Goddamn, TIL I'm an extrordinary savant. What am I doing with my life beyond watching netflix. It explains a lot though, I thought I was just moderately smart. Now I find out I'm like Tesla, no wonder I have so many issues, I'm a savant for god's sake.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:34 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, but the question wasn't "how do I cope with being extremely intelligent," it was, in fact, the exact opposite, "how do I cope with not being extremely intelligent."

I'm sure some dummies tried to weigh in, too, but they probably got distracted by something shiny before they could hit the Post buOOH LOOKIT THE SHINNY SHINY!!!1OU'O
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:35 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Jesus, how fucking big are his genitals?

My God, they're full of stars!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:45 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've never taken an IQ test - did they have you take them in high school or something?

They took me out of class to take my first one in 1st grade - I don't remember the exact scenario but I was the only kid in the school to be taking the test in an office somewhere and they did it because I won the school essay contest. In first grade. Thankfully I was never accused of cheating or having my parents write it for me.

Frankly, having that stupid ass score over my head these last 35 years has been no help at all.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:46 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just so long as we get a new breed of hurricane proof dogs.
posted by The Whelk at 9:48 AM on March 19, 2013


Are things like www.iqtest.com legit? If they are, I'm a friggin' genius!
posted by Grither at 9:52 AM on March 19, 2013


Friggin' genius is the best kind of genius.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:55 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've never taken an IQ test - did they have you take them in high school or something?

I was tested a few times. As a child I was tested as part of an autism assessment. When I was 11 I was given the Stanford-Binet 4 for a school admission process.

I'd like to propose that the 15+ of us schedule some meetups to discuss how dumb everyone else is.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:04 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


And here I am, just a regular ol' fuckin' genius.
posted by item at 10:04 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I remember hearing parenting advice (I'm not a parent) that cautioned parents not to praise children for inherent traits (e.g. physical beauty, intelligence) but for behavior (e.g. kindness, determination). That's how I took some of the answers to this question - "it's not something I asked for or worked for, and here's what it's really like" - and I feel like I remember a similar question about beauty (and I'm sure answers who admitted/claimed to be "conventionally" beautiful got/would get the same criticism as in this original call-out).

I guess my point is that the answers were good - answerers acknowledging intelligence as a morally neutral and unearned trait and discussing what struggles they had (isolation, depression, etc), along with the behaviors that affected and were affected by that trait (e.g. hard work vs. never having to learn how to work hard).
posted by Pax at 10:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


When I was 11 I was given the Stanford-Binet 4 for a school admission process.

I was given the Stanley-Beignet test last time I was in New Orleans. I devoured it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:13 AM on March 19, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm just glad I'm three standards above being a mean deviant.
posted by rtha at 10:15 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


being a mean deviant.

Sigh, I remember college.
posted by The Whelk at 10:17 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Mmm beignets.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:19 AM on March 19, 2013


you can get beignets at the Modern Bar at the MoMa.

Just...saying.
posted by The Whelk at 10:21 AM on March 19, 2013


That's farther away than New Orleans.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:22 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Great, now I'm craving beignets. Thanks.
posted by Sophie1 at 10:23 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The dumb part of my genius brain is telling me to go get a dozen donuts for lunch.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:24 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks

Do nata
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:26 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Crepuscular.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:26 AM on March 19, 2013


you can get beignets at the Modern Bar at the MoMa.

Well, LA-DI-DA, Mister Rockefeller, some of us just dip our hands into batter and plunge them into hot oil then eat the batter off our hands like GOD INTENDED
posted by Greg Nog at 10:27 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'd like to propose that the 15+ of us schedule some meetups to discuss how dumb everyone else is.
...
...some of us just dip our hands into batter and plunge them into hot oil then eat the batter off our hands...

I'd like to propose this be the same meetup.
posted by griphus at 10:29 AM on March 19, 2013 [20 favorites]


I score stupidly high on standardized IQ tests, too, but mostly I'm just proud of my magnificent ass. It's so big I think I store the extra IQ points there!

(Also, for what it's worth, I use my brainpower to publish knitting books, snark on the internet and try to avoid housework. It's not really that helpful or good past a certain age...whereas being hot will get you free stuff and good attitudes from other people all your life. So really, on balance, I think being hot might have been more fun, all things considered. Hurray shallow American society!)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:31 AM on March 19, 2013


The only IQ test I ever took I scored 127, which puts me at the high end for society in general, but at the low end for MeFi, I'd wager.

The only IQ test I took, I scored so laughably high that my immediate and only takeaway was "these things are fucking meaningless." Because yeah, no.
posted by KathrynT at 10:31 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Speaking of beignets and IQ, the greatest genius of our time is probably the inventor of beignet ice cream.

The second greatest genius is anyone who knows how I can get some in Boston.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:35 AM on March 19, 2013


There's something sublime about the inexplicable ingredients list on the beignet wikipedia page:
Ingredients

lukewarm water
granulated sugar
active dry yeast
evaporated milk
bread flour
shortening
Oil, for deep-frying
confectioners' sugar
posted by griphus at 10:38 AM on March 19, 2013


The low intellectual standards of this discussion and question bore me. Please, something more intelligent, as soon as you can, Metafilter.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:38 AM on March 19, 2013


I tested rather high once too.

please, something more intelligent

:armpit farts:
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:40 AM on March 19, 2013


I think being hot might have been more fun, all things considered. Hurray shallow American society!)

I used to think that too. But imagine some of us really were savants, like House or Sherlock style savants. If you ignore the whole being tormented part, it would be pretty awesome. As it stands I'm like a half assed House. I can give people inexplicable tech advice like "go jiggle your printer cable" and have their computer start working, but I can't save lives or catch killers. You know what, being hot would have been better, I might have gotten free beignets.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:41 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can give people inexplicable tech advice like "go jiggle your printer cable" and have their computer start working

You are not a savant, you are the Fonz.
posted by LionIndex at 10:43 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, there you have it, Ad hominem. FREE BEIGNETS? Duh, I'm going with that option. ;)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:43 AM on March 19, 2013


Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:46 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Saying House or Sherlock is redundant. House is Sherlock. :)
posted by infinite intimation at 10:48 AM on March 19, 2013


Houselock is all about the inclusive disjunct.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:50 AM on March 19, 2013


Look what you people made me do
posted by The Whelk at 10:57 AM on March 19, 2013


Look what you people made me do

. . . make an HTML error?
posted by KathrynT at 10:59 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Jiggle your printer cable and click it again.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:00 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


My printer is wireless, so I just blew on it. We'll see if that works...

Wow! You're good, Sherlock!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:03 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


pic.twitter.com/j5ehJKIU4R
posted by The Whelk at 11:03 AM on March 19, 2013


Damn, I was hoping The Whelk would have fixed the link while you were jiggling the cable.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:05 AM on March 19, 2013


Wait if you're a savant do you automatically get a sidekick? A sidekick would be cool.
posted by The Whelk at 11:06 AM on March 19, 2013


Is that an USS Enterprise - sized donut floating o'er the glittering Pacific?
posted by Think_Long at 11:06 AM on March 19, 2013


I'm smarter than you.

Do you want to know how I know that?

Because I'm smarter than you!
posted by mazola at 11:14 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


The closest thing to a donut I have in my office is an organic kids CLIF bar. Not such a fucking genius after all, I guess.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:15 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Having looked at the Whelk's photo (because I'm such a savant I figured out the actual link, cough cough), I say: NEXT, GET A MANICURE. Cuticles, man. Cuticles!

(I've been watching too much Frisky Dingo lately with the X-Tacles...now I want my sidekicks to be called the Cuticles. Good?)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:26 AM on March 19, 2013


Frisky Dingo lately with the X-Tacles

woah whatisthis this conversation has taken a strange turn
posted by Think_Long at 11:28 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The second greatest genius is anyone who knows how I can get some in Boston.

The distributor page says they're available at Whole Foods, but not necessarily in Boston. I don't recognize any of the other stores, but it sounds like they have national distribution so you could do your neighbors a favor and ask a local store to pick some up.

You can also order New Orleans Ice Cream online, which seems to come to about $10.50/pt if you can get 6 or 8 people to share shipping costs (because surely no one person needs 6 or 8 pints of ice cream) and probably includes some awesome dry ice as a bonus. Unfortunately they don't sell the beignet flavor online, probably to teach us all a lesson about hubris.
posted by jhc at 11:29 AM on March 19, 2013


I'm a little on the fence about the 160+ people in that thread.I tested into a school based on an IQ test. I was far from the smartest person there. I met some little man tate types that were taking advanced math classes at Columbia because the "high iq" school didn't offer classes advanced enough. These kids were supposedly in the 160s. I am incredibly tolerant of strange people, but even I thought these kids were strange.I'm not sure they would have been capable of relating what their day to day life was like to me if I had asked. It has got to be rough connecting to people.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:30 AM on March 19, 2013


God i need a mani pedi, meet up cobcept?
posted by The Whelk at 11:32 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Where'd you go to high school Ad hom?
posted by griphus at 11:32 AM on March 19, 2013


Next time I'm in the city, we'll go, Whelk! Let's do it! (Although the last two NYC manicure places I hit up were not so hot). MEEEETUP!

And hey, Ad hominem, depending on who you believe, I tested out at 157-163 in fifth grade and I'm not a TOTAL Little Man Tate weirdo. Not by a longshot. Did I read a hell of a lot more than other kids? Yes. Did it keep me from having any friends? Nah. But I wasn't terribly fond of school til they skipped me a grade and it wasn't constant, ACHING boredom every single hour of every single day.

The weirdos in the 160+ camp, in my experience, always tended to be dudes, though. Maybe we were just better at masking...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:36 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I went to a highly gifted magnet. There were a couple of people there that obviously were just heads above all the rest of us smart asses. We had one kid, a polymath, (who I adored) who came to school in a kimono pretty frequently. He was awesome. Another kid when we had an essay assigned on religion in society; we would all write about the role of religion in law and policy and crap and she would pull out some serious Foucauldian shit way before we knew who Foucault was.

I loved being in those kinds of environments.

Sometimes, that's how MeFi feels to me.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:39 AM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


So...i can put on this kimono then?
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess it doesn't matter since I mentioned it once before. I went to St. Ann's. I was on scholarship and tested in during HS.

Yeah, I totally believe everyone in that thread. I also believe there may have been other issues with the people I met. They are just interesting perspectives.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:43 AM on March 19, 2013


So...i can put on this kimono then?

If you would....
posted by Sophie1 at 11:45 AM on March 19, 2013


Ah! I thought you were talking about the Specialized High School exam and for a second thought it doubled as an IQ test and no one told me about it.
posted by griphus at 11:47 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


My ancient tested IQ is lower than Jayne Mansfield, higher than Madonna, and that feels comfortable for me. I love that there are a lot of smart people here; It's why I started hanging out here!
posted by taz (staff) at 11:48 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Theres also the test to get into Breakbills
posted by The Whelk at 11:49 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I ain't ever taken a IQ test but I look DAMN good in a kimono. AskMe, what other problems will me and my Big Sweet Kimono be likely to have?
posted by Greg Nog at 11:52 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Smart and FUNNY.

And also I miss elizardbits, speaking of which...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:52 AM on March 19, 2013


So...i can put on this kimono then?

Just keep it closed in front. That's all I ask.
posted by Area Man at 11:55 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eluzardbits tumblr is drinkmasturbatecry.tumblr.com if you are feeling withdrawl.
posted by The Whelk at 11:56 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Big Sweet Kimono

Woo! Skim beignets.
posted by griphus at 11:57 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah! I thought you were talking about the Specialized High School exam and for a second thought it doubled as an IQ test and no one told me about it.

The specialized high school exam was graded out of 800 right?

The testing for St Ann's was significantly different. It was done individually with an administrator. We even did the pattern analysis parts using colored blocks. The whole thing was fucking strange.

At any rate, now I'm wondering why I don't have a kimono.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:58 AM on March 19, 2013


Man, I wish my mom had known about the wider specialized school thing outside of the 3 big ones but whatever. I don't remember what the test was scored out of, but I do remember I got into Brooklyn Tech by the skin of my teeth. Once I got there, I realized that so must have everyone else. It was a building of 4,000+ chronic underachievers who managed to do reasonably well on an SAT-lite test in eighth grade.
posted by griphus at 12:00 PM on March 19, 2013


I know, Whelk, but it's just not the same.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


At any rate, now I'm wondering why I don't have a kimono.

*realizing* Wait, I have one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:03 PM on March 19, 2013


At any rate, now I'm wondering why I don't have a kimono.

I have a yukata. It's really not all it's cracked up to be.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:09 PM on March 19, 2013


Oh god the IQ tests and the aptitude testing weekends and the specialized everything and on and on. Now, like jessamyn, it mostly translates into being really good at trivia night (and hanging out here. As has been said above, this place is pretty self selecting for smart people and those who just want to bask in klang's epic genitals, and that Venn diagram has a lot of overlap.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:12 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


We had one kid, a polymath, (who I adored) who came to school in a kimono pretty frequently.

Shucks. I had a kimono, but my parents never let me wear it to school.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:17 PM on March 19, 2013


My IQ score is 140+, but I didn't graduate from high school because I couldn't pass Algebra I. Hurf durf mathletes.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:19 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was never told what my IQ was (a vague "Quite high," is all I ever heard). I suck at trivia games because my brain freezes. I can tell you the answer if it's tangential to what we're discussing, but answer-on-command-in-front-of-other-people is usually a fail.
posted by rtha at 12:20 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have an IQ of 140+ and Denise Milani has just offered to father my children, which makes perfect sense, when you consider I am in the top 1% of people by intellect and she is in the top 1% for looks. So yeah, being brilliant does have its perks.
posted by biffa at 12:24 PM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


I think we have all learned an important lesson. We are all pretty smart, but some of us are not smart enough to have stocked up on beignets, kimonos, or sidekicks to go get some right fucking now. True intelligence is having beignets.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:27 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't know my IQ and I don't care to know it. I doubt it would make me feel any more secure in my intelligence than my MCAS or my SAT scores did. Now that I know what a beignet is, though, I would really like one.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:32 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone that knows me can attest to the fact that genius, I am not. But for some reason the Monsignor at my parish school told my parents that I was. I didn't know this at the time, in fact in those years I was still wetting the bed (eh, 3rd grade?). They also heard the same spiel about one of my brothers. Neither of them have much formal education and had the Irish peasant absolute belief in anything that came out of a priest's mouth. So they allowed us to make our own decisions at waaayyy too early an age. If we were so gifted then who were they to tell us anything?

Very bad move. But hey, I'm good at trivia and analogies.
posted by readery at 12:36 PM on March 19, 2013


I've never taken an IQ test - did they have you take them in high school or something?

I took my first one in grade one for the same reason a lot of people do - because I was having trouble in school. The reason why was kind of a surprise, but that trouble never really ended. My second was in grade seven to get into a special program and also included a creativity scale. My last one was in college, when I took developmental psychology for my teaching license and we learned all about the problems of these things while also getting our own set of profiles done.

As stupid and clumsy as GI evaluation is, a topic I dearly love to discuss, I still don't enjoy the tone of this post . It's hard to perceive it as anything other than trying to shame people for a set of qualities they've probably had to experience enough shame for already.
posted by Miko at 12:42 PM on March 19, 2013


Also, I never don't picture The Whelk wearing a kimono. It alternates with his smoking-jacket.
posted by Miko at 12:43 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


"If I'm wearing the smoking jacket, accent with a fez. Should I choose the kimono, go with a sugegasa."
posted by boo_radley at 12:50 PM on March 19, 2013


I've never tried making beignets, but I can attest that this recipe for sopapillas is easy and almost magical in its results. (There's actually two magical moments: when the dough goes all springy as you fold it, and then when they puff up in the oil.) It has fewer ingredients and less rest time than beignets seem to, so could be handy for people who can't wait to get some fried dough going.
posted by jhc at 12:51 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: I can't turn around good ship MetaFilter single-handedly.
posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on March 19, 2013


Pretty sure my IQ is fairly low and/or average but I just did fifty pushups with my 16-pound fat meatloaf of a cat on my back so THERE

*flexes a cat hair-covered bicep*
posted by zennish at 1:17 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can do twenty pushups, if I try hard.

I should look into Starting Strength already.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:21 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a family member who uses IQ tests regularly as part of her job. She says that the younger you are when you take the test, the easier it is to get a higher score, and that most of the people who brag about having above-average IQ test scores only got those scores because they were tested as young children. Also, that most of the tests really can't measure intelligence, only recall.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn someday that IQ testing was basically the phrenology of the 20th C.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:24 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


it's mostly my eyes, which are like two pools of sable tiger fur (in a erotical sexual way)

I am at this time endowed with all the natural gifts which make the perfect gentleman; my eye is brilliant, mild, and of a clear azure blue. But the most skillful physiognomists, those divers into the soul, on fixing their looks upon it, if it had been possible for a mere observer to sustain my glance, -- the most skillful physiognomists, I say, would never have been able to fathom the depths of that abyss of mildness. It is with my eyes as with the immense depths of the azure heavens, or with those more terrific, and almost as sublime, which the Mediterranean reveals under the keels of its ships in a clear summer day, a gigantic mirror in which heaven delights to reflect sometimes its stars, sometimes its storms.

It's hard to be humble when the unworthy so surround us.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:37 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't be surprised to learn someday that IQ testing was basically the phrenology of the 20th C.

I got into Harvard based on my phrenology scores. They asked what I had to offer Harvard, and I said I bet they could all use a little head. I got in. True story!*






*not a true story*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:38 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter represents a world of diverse experience, and it is my sincerest hope that it can also be a place of patience, curiosity, and humility


I don't know about patience, but curiosity definitely..

As far as the last, it is the farthest thing from being humble to request humility in others.
posted by Debaser626 at 1:39 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


FWIW I have met Greg Nog and can verify that where his eyes should be there are only tufts of fur he stole from a tiger.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:40 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


In conclusion, Metafilter is a land of contrast. Thank you.
posted by arcticseal at 1:43 PM on March 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


For people to want you around, you need to be smart, handy, good-looking, or funny.

I am SO FUCKED.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:44 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


For people to want you around, you need to be smart, handy, good-looking, or funny.

also you can't be sad about not being any of these things
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:46 PM on March 19, 2013


But if you're all of those things and hate people, you're STILL fucked.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:46 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I guess the recall thing explains all those people who are good at trivia contests.

Of course then one has to live with the curse that no one ever will play You Don't Know Jack against you again after the first few games. Cue dejected Charlie Brown music.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:49 PM on March 19, 2013


Nah, it's still pretty great.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:49 PM on March 19, 2013


But this answer from the IQ AskMe cheered me right up!

In fact, I learned that standing out was a bad thing, and I developed a habit of cushioning answers I knew were right with phrases like "I think" and "it seems" and "is it...?" Even online I do this.

I do this, too! I thought I was the only one.

FWIW I have met Greg Nog and can verify that where his eyes should be there are only tufts of fur he stole from a tiger.

Greg Nog, Misbegotten Missionary.
posted by misha at 1:59 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whelk beignets... nah, whelks taste better when chilled and served with freshly-cut lemon to squeeze over them and perhaps a touch of homemade aioli.

Honestly the only thing I've found to matter about my particular IQ is that it's enough that I pick up foreign languages quickly. That fucking rocks, man. I can order whelks and beignets in both hemispheres and on nearly all continents.

So you see it all comes around in the end, a perfect circle, the highest reaches of our rational human minds serving our most basic, delicious needs.

Des bulots à l'aïoli en plat suivi de beignets en dessert, et une carafe de Bellet rosé, s'il vous plaît.
posted by fraula at 2:03 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have met Greg Nog and can verify that where his eyes should be there are only tufts of fur he stole from a tiger.

FACT: i am the only person to have a lifetime ban from the American Museum of Natural History for "petty theft and screaming that all the taxidermied animals are [my] favorite pokemons"
posted by Greg Nog at 2:03 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now that I know what a beignet is, though, I would really like one.

Best enjoyed with coffee and chicory.
posted by ericb at 2:06 PM on March 19, 2013


Greg Nog stars in: The Corinthian vs. Tigger. Now available at a Dreamplex near you.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:06 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


"petty theft and screaming that all the taxidermied animals are [my] favorite pokemons"

Greg Nog you stand accused of trying to feed sour poffins to a stuffed capybara, how do you plead?
posted by griphus at 2:08 PM on March 19, 2013


The Whelk can make more Whelks, an army of The Whelks!

New FPP: Whelks: They're called snotwinkles on the East Coast, and they're "the next oyster" ?!
posted by ericb at 2:09 PM on March 19, 2013


I should look into Starting Strength already.

Save your money: get a cat that likes draping itself on warm human backs. When your form starts to dip many tiny little needle-pricks of hate will remind you to straighten your spine posthaste!
posted by zennish at 2:11 PM on March 19, 2013


We require photographic proof of said fitness accessory.

At least, I do.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:40 PM on March 19, 2013


Look deep into Greg Nog's eyeholes...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:42 PM on March 19, 2013


Save your money: get a cat that likes draping itself on warm human backs. When your form starts to dip many tiny little needle-pricks of hate will remind you to straighten your spine posthaste!

sure but you don't have to feed or care for a book.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:44 PM on March 19, 2013


I don't know. My copy of the Necronomicon seems to require frequent feedings. And talk about high maintenance!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:48 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dude that's just a Tom Clancy novel you hollowed out to hide Snickers bars in.
posted by griphus at 2:50 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but they're haunted Snickers bars! Spoooooky! Spoooooky! Stay away!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:52 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dude that's just a Tom Clancy novel you hollowed out to hide Snickers bars in.

Nah, the really hungry ones are written by Ayn Rand.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:55 PM on March 19, 2013


Atlas Swallowed
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:56 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


"the question wasn't "how do I cope with being extremely intelligent," it was, in fact, the exact opposite, "how do I cope with not being extremely intelligent.""

I mostly take solace in my extremely large genitals.


Being a big dick isn't quite the same thing as having one.
posted by jamjam at 3:00 PM on March 19, 2013


Yeah, but they're haunted Snickers bars! Spoooooky! Spoooooky! Stay away!

In The Mouth of Nomness
posted by griphus at 3:02 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Being a big dick isn't quite the same thing as having one.

Ah, so it's all about the mental genitals.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:04 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have an IQ of 140+ and Denise Milani has just offered to father my children

I think there might have been a few gaps in your gifted school's curriculum....
posted by kagredon at 3:08 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, I just hope somebody is harvesting the DNA of all these genius MeFites. Now if the really, really, ridiculously good looking ones would identify themselves, we ought to be on our way to world domination.
posted by peripathetic at 3:11 PM on March 19, 2013


I wouldn't be surprised to learn someday that IQ testing was basically the phrenology of the 20th C.

Why wait?
posted by smoke at 3:17 PM on March 19, 2013


Now if the really, really, ridiculously good looking ones would identify themselves

In all seriousness, we have had threads like that. People have asked about all sorts of stuff related to being good looking, like whether it's harder or easier to get dates, whether it makes other aspects of life easier, whether peers are mean to someone who is good looking, how to be more good looking, etc. And in those threads are plenty of people who say "I am good looking" or "people tell me I'm good looking" or "I'm reasonably good looking" or similar.
posted by Miko at 3:25 PM on March 19, 2013


My grandma says I'm smart and hot.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 3:37 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Line up, kids!
posted by Miko at 3:47 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So after I tested as whatever I was put in the 'gifted' program. Try being super nerd and responding to taunts well I am in the GIFTED program. Strangely, this did not help my social standing.

My main memory of this stupid program was we were blindfolded and asked to identify what was put in our mouths. I was fine until they gave me a mouth of dehydrated potato mix. It was like what I imagine the cinnamon test to be.

Now I wonder if 'gifted' actually meant she's such a freak we must torture her with potato sand, because what else explains that
posted by angrycat at 3:49 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


For people to want you around, you need to be smart, handy, good-looking, or funny.

I had a truck.

Now, since I got rid of the truck, I can make scones and really quickly. I'm going to look into that sopapilla recipe upthread, too. In case the scones loose their luster.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:03 PM on March 19, 2013


My IQ tests came out ridiculously high and yet I am pretty much an idiot about everything worthwhile.

Except cooking. I can cook really well. So please don't vote me off the island.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:56 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus, how fucking big are his genitals?
posted by fatbird at 5:56 AM on March 19 [14 favorites +] [!]


"Welcome to Metafilter. Have a nice day"
posted by Sebmojo at 4:57 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


My IQ tests came out ridiculously high and yet I am pretty much an idiot about everything worthwhile.

I was sitting here feeling simultaneously

A) perplexed at the idea of 140+ being an extraordinarily high IQ, rather than simply a highish IQ

and

B) dejected that I am using my apparent SUPERCOMPUTER OF A BRAIN almost exclusively for predicting otherwise unlikely TV show arcs*.

But then you reminded me of my actual chief talent:

I can cook really well. So please don't vote me off the island.

Earlier this week, someone complimented my ability to make a restaurant-quality dinner out of what appears to be an empty pantry, and I responded, "Yeah, that's going to be the one reason I won't get thrown out of the compound or used as bait in the zombie post-apocalypse." It's my most valuable real-life skill, and the one that would be precious in a long-term infrastructure breakdown.

*which I totally do with regular and bizarre accuracy; my husband calls me "a TV psychic" or, when he's feeling less charitable, "you freak" and "I'm pretty sure she's a witch." You'd think there'd be a way to monetize this, except NO OBVIOUSLY NOT.
posted by Elsa at 5:37 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


We just had a very interesting question about a user who wanted to keep his thinning hair.

i would like to point out here that i am 55 and still have all my hair and wear it quite long
posted by pyramid termite at 5:44 PM on March 19, 2013




One time at French Camp, a girl started bragging about having tested into her school's gifted and talented program. She was teased. Mostly, because that was so common there as to be not worth bragging about.

(There was also a boy that year who claimed he was a Rockefeller. No one believed him until a seaplane came to pick him up at the end of the session.)
posted by Area Man at 6:18 PM on March 19, 2013


I'm not smart but I can lift heavy things.
posted by chinston at 6:22 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I only buy my plain black t-shirts when they are 40% off, and then I buy them in bulk. Beat that, smarty-brains.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 6:27 PM on March 19, 2013


I mostly take solace in my extremely large genitals.

Being a big dick isn't quite the same thing as having one.


hey now, RuPaul closed the library like an episode ago
posted by en forme de poire at 6:57 PM on March 19, 2013


When my kid was about three years old he drew a stick figure of himself, equipped with with a large penis. Wondering about the reaction if he drew something similar in daycare, I said gently, "Honey, this is wonderful, but we don't draw pictures of our private parts." He looked at me disdainfully and replied, "Mummy, these aren't my real private parts, they're just a picture...I'm an artist."

As it happened, I worked in a museum at the time and when I told this story, the production crew demanded I bring in the drawing, and they matted and framed it for me. It's hung (heh heh) in my home office since as a reminder not to constrain my kids' talents.
posted by angiep at 8:20 PM on March 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


I'm not smart but I can lift heavy things.

I'm not smart, but I wear glasses, so I look smart.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:32 PM on March 19, 2013


I'm apparently "genius" level smart according to whatever IQ test I was given in kindergarten. I don't know why I took the test, but I imagine it had something to do with my teaching myself to read before the age of 3. I was ALWAYS the smartest kid in my smallish rural school and didn't meet anyone my age smarter than me until I went to private school at age 15.

It was nightmarish. I got harassed and bullied every damn day for being smart. I can't even describe how weirdly mind fucking it was to be constantly belittled for being intelligent. I guess since I was smart, the other kids inferred that I must think they're stupid and therefore this was all a pre-emptive strike before I could start harassing them.

Anyhow. It bears mentioning that I am for shit at math. Numbers baffle me. I got good grades in class, but my SAT score when compared to my verbal score was akin to what you'd expect from a dog taking the test.

My husband is an engineer. When we started dating, it was the very first time in my life where anyone ever thought I was stupid. His mentor, his best friends, all thought I was a point blank idiot because I'm not in STEM and couldn't talk to them at all about *their* interests. They honestly told him "I don't know why you're with her, she's not very smart." Now, my husband is an extremely smart guy, but he would tell you that in terms of innate intelligence, I'm smarter than he is. I don't know about that, but it's a nice vote of confidence when I feel dumb for not understanding what he does all day. (His friends after knowing me for years have at least come around to view me as reasonably intelligent. They actually really like me, even if their dear friend dating an artist who thinks "SQL" is an abbreviation for "SQUIRREL" was a shock.)

Anyhow, this is to say both that being smart isn't an automatic blessing and also no matter how intelligent you are, SOMEONE thinks you're an idiot.

(Also there are many kinds of intelligence and not all of them require any talent at math.)
posted by sonika at 9:21 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I agree with Notmye or Nomythe or whatever his name be. That thread was full of unhelpful patronizing bragging. Being smart is not like having a big wang. Nobody really wants to be a porn star. Many people want to make an appreciable impact on an intellectual field, and realizing that's never going to happen is earth-shattering. Oliver Sacks seems pretty sad. So what? I'd rather be him than me, he's brilliant.

So telling an average joe (like me on most subjects) that it's SOOOOO HARRRRD to be a genius just makes you sound either like you're full of crap and not actually that smart, or ungrateful. Being a low-totem pole professor with only a few books under your belt is still better than being the adjunct who went into writing ad copy, in the world of brains. This is hard to accept for a lot of people who dreamed in college of being a famous or accomplished. It's not like being smart makes you more depressed than a dumb person yah know? We dummies get depressed too, despite our supposedly comforting averageness. And we get bullied for being fat AND failing the exam. So that blows twice as hard.

Anyway, I know no harm was meant, and I bet the asker didn't feel patronized, and I think Nonamye (I am too mediocre to scroll up to see what his real name is), went too far with the sarcasm here. But still yeah, brains and ability are in fact an automatic blessing, and you should acknowledge them as such. I'm better than a lot of people at some things and I'm damn happy for it. If you want some advice about how to deal with being a shitty karaoker I'll stay out of that thread.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:35 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's Nomyte.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:38 PM on March 19, 2013


I wish I understood what that meant :C
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:40 PM on March 19, 2013


The fact is, we all want to be immortal. Some people get their hopes crushed early when they fail to be professional athletes or actors or pop singers in their teens. Some get them crushed in the middle when they fail to be doctors or lawyers or fighter pilots or political rising stars in their 20s. And others hit 30 and realize they aren't going to gain immortality, even from beyond the grave, as a writer or researcher or theorist. So we get kids or cats and take care of them and gain wisdom if we're lucky, cuz it's the one realm we all have a shot at being great at just by failing a lot and learning from it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:42 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


That thread was full of unhelpful patronizing bragging. Being smart is not like having a big wang. Nobody really wants to be a porn star. Many people want to make an appreciable impact on an intellectual field, and realizing that's never going to happen is earth-shattering.

But the point that I see being made, in that thread and this one, is that having the poster-specified 140+ IQ isn't a ticket that allows you to make that impact, that it's actually not all that special, and that in many cases the celebration of their supposedly high intelligence prevented them from making the effort that is typically necessary to make the impact you describe, or even makes them feel guilty for failing.

The OP of that AskMe says "However, I cannot help and fantasize what it's like to have an IQ of 140+ It must be very satisfying to know that you're the smartest guy in the room," but people with the qualification s/he's specified are chiming in to say:

- actually, that IQ is not as unusual or as rarefied as you seem to think;
- it doesn't mean I feel smart;
- it doesn't mean I behave in intelligent ways;
- it had limited impact on my productive life;
- it kinda sucks in some ways;
- it isn't as big a difference as you're imagining.

A high IQ means I'm good at the narrow set of skills measured by IQ tests and in childhood I was good at the slightly different set of skills measured by that barrage of tests, and it doesn't mean a whole lot more. But because the adults in charge of me knew my IQ and thought it was meaningful, I was praised for "being smart" and criticized for not living up to some imagined potential bestowed by a high IQ, but that those adults tacitly expected me to achieve through some sort of innate intelligence rather than through diligence and determination.

That was deeply destructive to me as a young person, not only because it discouraged me from developing and valuing good work habits but because it encouraged me to think of myself as "the smartest person in the room." Even if [insert hypothetical 140+ IQ person here] were the smartest person in a room, that's a useless and isolating way for a child to interact with their peers, and an unproductive, combative way for an adult to approach collaborative work.

Others here have described a similar experience, and that just shows how destructive it is to assume that a high IQ is an important factor in becoming, as you specify, famous or accomplished.

So there are a few assumptions here that people are trying to address, and one of them is the idea that an IQ over 145 makes a person "a genius." No matter what the scales say, nowhere near everyone with a 145+ IQ is a genius in the sense that word is commonly used in our culture. Gifted? Maybe, sure. But not every gift is a treat, y'know?

Now, the flipside miiiiiight be true: maybe most or all of the people we identify as possessing legendary genius have had high IQs. I don't know anything about that because, whatever my stupid IQ suggests, I'm not knowledgeable enough to have that information and not brilliant enough to draw a conclusion based on the limited information I do have. The only way I'd ever answer that question is through plodding, diligent research --- the kind of shoulder-to-the-wheel drudgery that both my parents and teachers taught me I didn't need, and which I consequently only learned as an adult, painfully and painstakingly, after a childhood of slack work and shortcuts.

Smartest person in the room? Ha, as if! Even if it were occasionally true in terms of IQ, and even if that mattered --- and those are some enormous ifs --- there are zillions of different and valuable kinds of intelligence that IQ tests don't measure. Thanks for that childhood-ruining piece of nonsense, Dad.
posted by Elsa at 10:25 PM on March 19, 2013 [16 favorites]


This callout is making me really glad I posted on that thread with a sockpuppet.

Because when I talked about the mixed messages the world gives you about intelligence, and the shame I felt about it all, comments like Nomyte's and Potomac Avenue's were exactly the sorts of things I heard all of the time that lead to those feelings. Usually such comments weren't even directed to me, because I learned quickly to keep my head down and shut the hell up (thus increasing my isolation). Even so, such comments still did a great job at instilling a sense of shame around my intelligence -- and around myself for even daring to notice that I was quicker at some things than some of my peers, or daring to occasionally have problem with the isolation it caused, or daring occasionally to open my mouth and use my actual vocabulary or express my actual opinions on things.

So if you could read my comment and others like it and dismiss them as "puffery", or trying to set ourselves up as having a "stratospheric intellect" so we can look down at all the plebes ... well, I think that says a lot more about you than it says about us. Because that's not what we were saying or trying to do at all.
posted by fluffysocksarenice at 10:36 PM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


"Being a big dick isn't quite the same thing as having one."

Existence precedes essence.
posted by klangklangston at 10:50 PM on March 19, 2013


This was the question in question:

Particularly feeling jealous of people who have stratospheric intelligence — those who test in the 99th above percentiles. I'm talking about the Nathan Myhrvolds and Neil DeGrasse Tysons of the world; people who make amazing use of their intellect, while deriving absolute pleasure from their prodigious mental abilities.

The poster ALSO mentions 140 IQ, but I think it's clear that they aren't talking about you if you're not a genius. The testing thing is a red herring, not sure why that became the focus of the thread.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:54 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay, but until a cohort of stratospheric genii come to answer that particular facet of the question (and that would obviously be delightful, especially if Neil DeGrasse Tyson started coming to meet-ups and answering AskMes), the OP seems happy to settle for the help and advice that we mere 99th-percentile ~140 IQ folks can offer.
posted by Elsa at 11:01 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be clear, that advice seems to be summed up as I mentioned above: that merely having the thing we call intelligence isn't as meaningful as s/he seems at the outset to believe and that it doesn't confer a huge benefit on its own, so there's no sense in pining after that particular abstract quality when there are so many other, more valuable abstract qualities one could develop or admire.
posted by Elsa at 11:07 PM on March 19, 2013


"Being smart is not like having a big wang. Nobody really wants to be a porn star. Many people want to make an appreciable impact on an intellectual field, and realizing that's never going to happen is earth-shattering. Oliver Sacks seems pretty sad. So what? I'd rather be him than me, he's brilliant."

I'd rather be Oliver Sacks too, but that doesn't mean that plenty of folks don't want to be Oliver Clothesoff. And more to the point: you've confused intelligence with achievement. As a high-testing ADD underachiever (a cohort I can't be alone in here), it's a bit of my duty to point out that while I'd rather be smart than dumb, intelligence isn't necessarily strongly correlated with success — especially compared to hard work and persistence.

"Even so, such comments still did a great job at instilling a sense of shame around my intelligence -- and around myself for even daring to notice that I was quicker at some things than some of my peers, or daring to occasionally have problem with the isolation it caused, or daring occasionally to open my mouth and use my actual vocabulary or express my actual opinions on things."

There are two things to note: First off, I'm frequently the dumbest guy in the room on a given topic, because I seek out opportunities to be the dumbest guy in the room. Why? Because then everyone else around me knows something I can learn. Second, intelligence isn't monopolar, it's multipolar. As an anecdote, I once canvassed this guy about teaching about LGBT people in public schools. He was from France, and works at JPL as a research physicist. So, brilliant, right? Except that he tells me, with his wife there, that there isn't any sexism or homophobia or racism in France, and the reason there's not is because there aren't minorities that "make a big deal out of things." Now, reader, this was some six weeks after riots lit Paris ablaze, due, in part, to endemic racism experienced by the Arab minority. He argued with me, then got huffy and stomped off because he said I was calling him a liar, just because I was firm (but polite) in insisting that yeah, actually, there is sexism and racism in France.

I tend to think someone who is both irrational in his arguments and flatly wrong in his facts would be classified by Linnaeus in the moron family. But this physicist, he's unarguably a smart guy… within his field. Within his band of intelligence. Outside of it? Fuck it, he's a moron.

So, look, there's always someone smarter than you, just like there's always someone taller than you, and just because someone is smart in some ways doesn't mean they're smart in all ways, or even all the ways that matter.
posted by klangklangston at 11:10 PM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


There are two things to note: First off, I'm frequently the dumbest guy in the room on a given topic, because I seek out opportunities to be the dumbest guy in the room.

Oh, hell yes! Starting college in my 30s was the best thing I ever did: suddenly I was immersed in an environment where I knew almost nothing about a wide range of subjects. Being wrong, and especially figuring precisely where and how my arguments were wrong and then correcting it, became my full-time job. It was astonishingly liberating.
posted by Elsa at 11:14 PM on March 19, 2013


My IQ test was pretty high. (Another small town lone wolf.)

My slightly older brother scored 125.

I remember him telling me, when I WAS FIVE " You're a POW now, kid. Good luck."

And if the test means anything, I think 125 is the most graceful of IQ's.

Just perfect. No one will make fun of you, torture you into a "gifted" program of learning that is exactly the opposite of smart, admire and/or hate you for no reason, expect you to get into ____ University or think you are too good to be a ______."

They will simply ask you behave as an intelligent, hard-working person. Like everyone else on earth.

He tells the funniest jokes in the room and everyone adores him, angst free. He treats animals really well, too. He's better at simple math, figuring out directions, understanding folks with thick accents, has had a partner for 10+ years who adores him, understands body language and is a patient teacher.

125 is the number dreams are made of.
posted by metasav at 11:47 PM on March 19, 2013


brains and ability are in fact an automatic blessing, and you should acknowledge them as such.

All hail Krang, Supreme Allied Commander of the Foot Clan, Blessed Leader! Don't look at me, I say my daily hail Krangs!
Brains and ability are not the same. People with 'high IQ's' can have learning disabilities. IQ tests these days are broken down into multiple performance factors, and indicators (multi-faceted intelligence quotients, which bleed into emotional intelligence quotients). None of the comments I see there denied the privilege of a high IQ. Most of the responses did go a little further than putting IQ on a pedestal, or hold it up as something to strive for (can't change brains, might as well focus on things we can change). I don't get the objections to the responses, is it because someone with a high IQ said it, people were saying "it isn't that special, or singularly telling of future success, nor accomplishment, nor ability; and TONS of people are AMAZING without an IQ of some arbitrary and likely shifting value". Take out of the equation whether you think that person then self-aggrandized or not... is that idea true? (yes, it is.)

If you take out "ability" (which is far more encompassing of the diversity of things people said matter more than "brains" in that thread, that everyone seemed to be stressing). The question was not about getting people to be ashamed of having a high IQ, as some are painting it, in fact, it put (incorrectly, many argued) "high IQ" up on a singular pedestal, which, for many, it is not so clearly deserving of (for one, the cultural biases, and history of abuse of the tests), but beyond those... it is not a 1:1 indicator of future accomplishments/life (where is that genius guy who wore the bandannas all the time and wrote books? How many musical geniuses... Picasso?). My point is that the whole "being a genius is unrestricted awesome" is confirmation bias in action; we see, and are told of, and made aware of "the successful and historic" genius... but no one cares about the genius who doesn't do anything with it, or has errors somewhere else, or checks out early. Hyperfocus on, or fawning deference to only one of the dozens of other axes that make up human good/beauty/quality is harmful to understanding what is special about people in totality. It is like physics, which was drowned in the training of "string theorists", or high energy particle physics, trained to hunt the Higgs... to the detriment of "other sorts of focuses for physics minded folks".

Many responders also however take the question a step further, responding to the other questions in the question (there were several in there, so seems wrong to blame folks for choosing which ones to answer) and say, well, you describe this desire for something, that something you describe wanting is not so clearly tied to the "method" of getting that you describe (high IQ, and/or nootrophics [brain chemicals?], in fact, you don't even "need" those things, and it is possible to become good/successful at "$things" by spending hours honing even limited innate ability. The question actually asked users to disabuse the asker of notions that it would be thrilling or exciting, or unleashing to have a higher IQ. Blessing is a weird word. Does it mean like "god" talk, that is hard to address, or accept, or like the human sorta gifts, because there was this big wooden donkey that was "Given" to someone at some time in a city, and it had people inside.
Being a low-totem pole professor with only a few books under your belt is still better than being the adjunct who went into writing ad copy, in the world of brains. This is hard to accept for a lot of people who dreamed in college of being a famous or accomplished.
That is the thing... some, like the poster did initially, before getting some excellent answers (that were marked best answers, it should be noted), are conflating an arbitrary (incomplete, flawed) "definition" of "smart" with success, with being able to communicate ideas, with being "enlightened", with being able to shoot to the top (and I don't know, but it might be easier to say "I would definitely be that super depressed genius", than to actually be them, when they have to get milk, or take out the garbage, or do laundry. It is easy to imagine becoming the "cool" part of some famous person, but that isn't their "life", that is a coffee table book.

Far as I can remember, NDT is not a "singular" over the top IQ... he was not an IQ prodigy, publishing quantum mechanics papers at 15 or anything, he uses hard work, focused intellect, creativity, a mind that creates connections between topics (not the sole province of "genius" IQ) and his own excitement about his field, science in general, and the interactions between fields to engage audiences. I don't actually know why he is being heralded (besides that he is really awesome), he writes for a general audience. But is his "IQ" like known publicly? Otherwise he fits in exactly with what many in that ask were saying... that it takes many factors to be "special", and they aren't all "brains", or "IQ numbers". Finding connections where others don't... is both the world of genius... and madness, so theres all that side of things as well.
posted by infinite intimation at 12:49 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Except that he tells me, with his wife there, that there isn't any sexism or homophobia or racism in France

Digression, but man are a lot of Europeans really invested in this bizarre idea. I've seen it in people all across Europe, too - including the UK. I often see the same thing with alcohol-related issues. Weird.
posted by smoke at 1:06 AM on March 20, 2013


I agree with most things being said here. I used the IQ number more because it's a convenient shorthand than because I think it should be reified as an awesome Thing That Reflects Truth or anything like that. .. But, note that I felt the effects of being "smart" (however you seek to define it) before knowing anything about my actual IQ score. I also do think I've gotten where I have in life largely through hard work -- which I learned to do in spite of my "intelligence", whatever that may be. In fact, I feel imposter syndrome most of the time now, and I think I don't work as hard as I need to most of the time too.

And, yes, lots of people are smarter than me (or anyone who does well in IQ tests) in many ways. In my question I was addressing the one way to be smart that the OP seemed to be focusing on, and pointing out that it really isn't all that great.
posted by fluffysocksarenice at 1:09 AM on March 20, 2013


Digression, but man are a lot of Europeans really invested in this bizarre idea. I've seen it in people all across Europe, too - including the UK.

Yeah, I don't think any Europeans really believe this -- but we do tend to bristle at taking lectures on diversity from people who live in a country that imprisons virtually all of its black male population.

I often see the same thing with alcohol-related issues.

What, Europeans don't believe alcohol exists? Go to any city centre any night of the week and witness us fighting and vomiting into the gutter.

But again, we tend to be disinclined to take policy advice on alcohol from a nation that thinks prohibition is the only solution, or treatment advice from the inhabitants of a country where the overwhelmingly dominant treatment modality is rooted in a model of alcoholism that hasn't changed since the 1930's.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:32 AM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


This reminds me of going to see They Might Be Giants and the half the people waiting in line were comparing SAT scores. It's obvious that the sort of people - I was one of them - who were smart and misunderstood in a very typical way are over-represented in Metafilter. But even after IQ is repeatedly pointed out to be racist in every thread they still brag about our SATs and IQs because some pride in being abstractly smart was the only thing getting them through the hellish high school they will tell you about at great length. I was exactly the same way, and its funny how MeFites can't even take gentle ribbing about themselves.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:02 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


(because surely no one person needs 6 or 8 pints of ice cream)

I know more about this topic than you could possibly imagine. I have purchased 8 pints of ice cream online. I can't understand why you would state that such a modest amount of ice cream is unnecessary.
posted by medusa at 4:06 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't think any Europeans really believe this -- but we do tend to bristle at taking lectures on diversity from people who live in a country that imprisons virtually all of its black male population.

Or from Australians, apparently.
posted by Etrigan at 4:35 AM on March 20, 2013


PeterMcDermott: "Yeah, I don't think any Europeans really believe this -- but we do tend to bristle at taking lectures on diversity from people who live in a country that imprisons virtually all of its black male population."

I'm just gonna leave this here for you:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/oct/11/black-prison-population-increase-england
posted by Grither at 4:36 AM on March 20, 2013


I get slightly annoyed by braggarts but at the same time I'm even more annoyed by people trying to bring other people down. Humble bragging, big fucking deal. Save your scorn for the real arseholes out there. There's no shortage of them.
posted by h00py at 5:25 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a friend who I don't see often enough but who, when I do see her, likes to mention that she and her fiance think I am one of the smartest people they know. She knows it makes me uncomfortable when she says it and she says it anyway. All I can do is think that they just need to meet more people.
posted by jillithd at 6:41 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't understand why you would state that such a modest amount of ice cream is unnecessary.

Honestly I was hoping to hear some passionate defenses of the joys of bulk ice cream purchases, because talking about ice cream is awesome. (It turned out Whole Foods in Boston doesn't carry New Orleans Ice Cream, unsurprisingly, but they did have gelato on sale so I was a winner in the end.)

Incidentally, does anyone else do that thing where the main subject of a conversation is uncomfortable or upsetting or personal, so you try to deflect with humor, but then you just end up blurting out nonsense and looking like a weirdo? I did that one time.
posted by jhc at 8:34 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


She knows it makes me uncomfortable when she says it and she says it anyway.

I have a good friend who does that and it's some sort of weird joke with her (she is also really bright but in more of an "I worked my ass off!" way which I have always admired) so I've taken to just clutching my throat and saying "It's like a prison cell, it's not cool at all!" and she's starting to stop saying it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:38 AM on March 20, 2013


"Yeah, I don't think any Europeans really believe this -- but we do tend to bristle at taking lectures on diversity from people who live in a country that imprisons virtually all of its black male population."

Since I was out there doing public education on a law that we'd passed which updated guidelines to include LGBT people in general civil rights lesson plans, I wasn't lecturing him on anything. I spent the first half of the conversation entirely befuddled that the guy was making these claims, specifically that the U.S. has problems with racism/sexism/homophobia because minorities make a big deal out of things and that teaching about those political movements for equality would only encourage more unrest. He was in his mid-30s, too, so it wasn't like he was an old crank or obvious Le Pen voter.

But, by way of another anecdote about intelligence: I remember going on a class trip where we were whitewater rafting, and one of my classmates asserting that he should go in the front of the raft because he got a perfect 1600 on his SATs. That didn't keep him from putting his helmet on backwards, or from being knocked out of the raft at pretty much every turn.
posted by klangklangston at 8:57 AM on March 20, 2013


That didn't keep him from putting his helmet on backwards...

He shall know your ways as if born to them...
posted by griphus at 9:13 AM on March 20, 2013


> I have a family member who uses IQ tests regularly as part of her job. She says that the younger you are when you take the test, the easier it is to get a higher score...

One of my kids got an amazingly high score on an IQ test at a very young age. One or two experts in related fields have informally told us not to have that test done again, as the score probably would go down. (We have Reasons for wanting a high IQ score on the official record.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:22 AM on March 20, 2013


There's a charter school near us, The corpse in the library, that lets you test in with IQ scores.

Given the sorry-ass state of the public schools near us and the rising costs of the Catholic schools (forget the Montessori my husband went to as a kid, it now costs more per year than I paid for college in the early 90s), that's one case where I could see IQ test results being a net positive for the families around us in terms of getting their kids a good education. Sort of sad, yes -- it would be great if our public schools didn't suck goats -- but at least an option.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:19 AM on March 20, 2013


MinusIQ | The pill to lower your IQ permanently
WARNING: very mild casual racism, conspicuous failure to understand that IQ scores are normalized to 100, and rampant asshattery.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:29 AM on March 20, 2013


I never ever learned to read or write so well, but I can butterscotch a knapsack just like amortizing a yak.
posted by mintcake! at 10:40 AM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


She says that the younger you are when you take the test, the easier it is to get a higher score...

It's true. I am not a statistician or cognitive scientist, but my basic understanding from teaching and reading has been that children whose cognitive development happens to be ahead of their age cohort have an advantage in that the standardization sample for their age cohort includes many children whose developmental curve is a bit later. That delay often does not reflect those children's ultimate capacity, but a temporary physical or environmental condition. Those delayed students often "catch up" when their developmental delays resolve or the environmental conditions that may have impaired them in earlier childhood improve. But: those environmental factors can work in the other direction as well.

There is a fair discussion about whether IQ remains relatively stable over a lifetime because it's a true representation of a capacity that is stable, or because environmental conditions (family, health, schooling, amount of stress) remain stable.

Also, the score often varies a bit when different testing instruments are used (there are several).
posted by Miko at 1:55 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I actually really like IQ as a sort of symbolic representation of The Problems With Studying Psychology, because it's one of those things where the closer you try to look at it, connect it with the exterior world, etc... the more it comes apart at the seems, and that's a persistant problem across psychology. The closer to lived reality, and thus the more generalizable, the less predictive studies are. The closer to distinct, well isolated variables which can be tested using semi-random assignment of a large number of subjects, the farther from generalizability and utility outside of the laboratory it becomes.

There are a few notable exceptions, like the Implicit Bias studies Harvard does which try to keep the tests connected to real-world implications through using vignettes and problem solving, but by and large psychology is an endless balance between predictive-but-narrow and descriptive-but-broad.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:22 PM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oliver Clothesoff

The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A ...nevermind.
posted by The Whelk at 2:41 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Surely that's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a You Can Leave Your Hat On?
posted by RogerB at 3:49 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


An Anthropologist On The Satin Sheets.
posted by The Whelk at 3:57 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have no idea what my score was aside from "high," but I was given an IQ test when I was five to prove to my first-grade teacher that despite my poor handwriting, I really truly already knew how to read. Her theory was that I was faking it and my mother was delusional and that I belonged in the class with the kids just learning the alphabet.

Funny thing is that I was pretty much faking the scant level of arithmetic ability that I'd managed to convey.

I suspect "was given an IQ test as a child" is a pretty reliable indicator of having some sort of learning weirdness.
posted by desuetude at 5:36 PM on March 20, 2013


Ohhhhh, eyyyyyye QUEUE, I thought they wanted to know my Haiku Score. Do I have to choose an Eye, or can they both get in?
posted by infinite intimation at 5:47 PM on March 20, 2013


Oliver Clothesoff
(nude) Awakenings.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 6:10 PM on March 20, 2013


A pencil hovers
Above an empty circle
Shade, shade - Haiku score!
posted by Miko at 6:46 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Haiku Haiku Hai-
ku Haiku Haiku Summer
Haiku Haiku Hai!
posted by Deoridhe at 1:52 AM on March 21, 2013


Hippopotamus
Antihippopotamus
Annihilation
posted by Etrigan at 4:39 AM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


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