Sunday, May 18, 2008

goobers

At the Volokh Conspiracy there is an interesting discussion going on about stupid nerds (my proposal to refer to such individuals as "goobers" fell on deaf ears). What interested me about the discussion was how so many people seemed to think that the people who are at the bottom of the high-school social hierarchy are pitiable due to their position. But if they have no idea that there is such a hierarchy, why should they care? And if they don't care, why are they pitiable?

Most of those people don't know it but there was another hierarchy at their high school, the hierarchy of interesting people according to nerd standards. And most of those commenting were probably pretty low in the hierarchy. Are they to be pitied for that?

As someone who was an extreme introvert in high school, I think it's a little condescending for people who no doubt had their own problems to be so concerned about problems of the sort that I had, as if mine were somehow more pitiable. Yes, there is something a little pathetic about the extreme introvert who misses out on the good things in life that come from an active social life. But there is also something pathetic about the extreme extrovert who lets his self-image be controlled by the opinions of others or the extremely ambitious who can only be fulfilled by being the best at something.

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