October 2, 2013

I will answer the writer Mark Joseph Stern’s question with a parable.
At least once all up in a time, the Slate magazine website posted a substanceless, speculation-filled article with a loaded headline in an attempt to build controversy, make a few dumb people think they are smart, a few other dumb people really angry and overall waste everybody’s time. I decided it was silly. The end [7 paragraphs later].

No, gay people are not smarter than straight people, and straight people are not smarter than gay people, and anybody who gives in to this sort of thinking, wondering if one should win or one can win is an idiot, gay or otherwise.

The full, post-lure title includes “or do they just work harder?” but that is even worse, in a sense, because it implies one of those options MUST be true.

Is it not enough to have “men vs women” a core component of pointless, unwinnable, non-debate? Why can’t we treat this like racial questions? This same writer would be asking “are asians smarter than whites?” if that wasn’t likely to get him fired, and if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be a new question. So why doesn’t this get anyone fired? We know people are different. Generalizing about intelligence never gets us anywhere. Most people consider intelligence a fundamental aspect of their being. Attempting to rank huge segments of the population by this basic yet hard to quantify attribute has never been good for humanity and isn’t likely to start.

There are not but two sides to the world. straight v bent is like democrats v republicans. It divides people needlessly while also insisting that it is sufficient to pick one imperfect thing over one other imperfect thing and that this is in everybody’s best interest. It encourages us to argue passionately about GARBAGE. Look even I am doing it.
complacency about one’s intelligence is one of the dumbest behaviors I encounter, and it’s about even between gay and straight people. An article like this will only increase that behavior in either of them.

It may be possible for “straight” types to go longer in life without having their fundamental beliefs or feelings questioned, which may make them more inclined to be stubborn on everything and never consider other possibilities. Increasingly, however, gay people are taught to believe there is nothing out of the ordinary about their preference (thus holding up the concept that ordinary is something to strive for) and they are RIGHT and should be PROUD and so become inclined to be just as insufferably set in their ways, and just as inclined to track down rubbish like this article to use as “proof” of their own superiority as the opposing side, which ideally wouldn’t be opposing them at all.
And anyway there are other ways to be misunderstood or disliked than what sort of person you make sex on. I don’t do it to anybody and that’s not the biggest thing that keeps me from relating to them.

People are bullied and tortured for being or seeming homosexual. I am not saying that is good. I just think pride is excessive. Criticism is not persecution.
On a similar note, my previous blowing up about Nazi symbolism should not imply I am one of those ultimate “friend of Israel” types. We shouldn’t be afraid to point out when the Israeli government does something cruel or foolish. It DOES and it gets away with that because it is proud and can easily equate criticism with persecution.

Mr. Joseph Stern determined who was smartest by what category of people were getting genius grants. This one time, even though gay people have existed for longer than a year. I saw a few years ago another article about the smartest cities in the country and determined the winner by counting libraries and museums. You can’t determine overall intelligence quantity by such limited categories. I question if we really can at all.

A direct quote from today’s article:
“Gays are wealthier and better educated than most Americans; shouldn’t that indicate that they’re also smarter?”

It shouldn’t! That is centuries, millenia-old self-justifying nobility dogma whose only result is that they vote themselves higher salaries and lower taxes. That’s how we get manifest destiny and slavery and all that manner of horror. The fact that more multimillionaires are openly gay than previously doesn’t make them all grand and noble now. I realize this as slippery a slope argument as “what’s next? letting people marry animals?” but this has historical precedent. I do not think slavery of non-gays is likely or feasible, but it starts like this. When you declare one group less smart than another group you declare them less worthy of decency.
I denigrate intelligence too often, but I avoid declaring a “smarter” group. I also avoid putting faith in group that has proclaimed itself worthy to declare a smart group. The sad fact is that a declaration of superior intelligence often arises over evaluation of a subjective matter, often in artistic fields. I don’t believe any of us is smart enough to know who is really smartest, and we only hurt ourselves as a species when we convince ourselves that we are.

I do not say “nobody is smart.” I say trying to label everyone accomplishes nothing good, and I have said it for years. If I do it, it is for amusement purposes and should not be mistaken for serious journalism, and I will never pretend I know who is the most superior.

This reminds me that deviantart, the ostensibly free visual art website, recently fulfilled my prophecy and gave paying members huge stars next to their names. Fortunately, and for the first time of those when I paid attention, more people are protesting the garbage change than supporting it, but not without some priveleged bootstrap class elitism slipping in.

Criticism isn’t just persecution, it’s an act of treason. Observe how it doesn’t matter if these two are homosexual.

And without switching websites:

I won’t point fingers but I have a theory that one of these openly male artists is gay and the other one isn’t, but I think they actually have a lot in common. They both blame someone else, for one thing.

Back to my “point,” plenty of idiots go to college. And plenty of idiots are inclined to imagine they are smart BECAUSE they go to college. They could be exceptions, but that would still call the criteria into question, and assist in calling the question into question. By this definition of intelligence it really doesn’t matter who is smarter. You could ask “are gays better at adhering to arbitrary constructs of society than straight people?” And you wouldn’t because straight people built them.

Another quote:

“Gay people might just work harder than their heterosexual counterparts”
And you just might have NOTHING and be tossing out speculations about things that are impossible to verify so you fill more space.

The article concludes with the author ADMITTING that there’s nothing:

“Gays might be overrepresented in the “genius” pool—and the Ivy League, and the Fortune 500—but there are more than enough dumb gays to even out the numbers.”
but never considers that his criteria is garbage. Nor that there is any alternative to being a “genius” than being “dumb.” “Intelligence” determines many things and is not a single value that can be conclusively measured. He also does not appear to consider that there might be any alternative to being hetero than homo sexual.

we can probably say that whoever bought this magazine to gain home access to the “who’s gay” list is probably a moron. And still I can imagine a remote exception in which that would not be the case.

I saw these both the same day and wasn’t even taking a picture of this one, an issue of Globe. I think I was aiming at an US weekly for some reason. I only noticed it now when I was trying to find my picture of the Examiner cover. Maybe we can talk about “smart” when we stop caring who is gay.

And yet I think we have come a long way even since I have been on the internet.

Nobody even wonders if Pokemon are gay anymore.

You know what, forget it. I would like to wash my hands of this matter, but I am currently at an important business meal engagement. What-ever shall I do?

Boh fiddlesticks.

Next time I will wear my dinner [fingerless] gloves.

3 Responses
  1. 1
    3:15 am, October 3, 2013

    The World's First Rockin' Rooster sez:

    I, too, tend to be annoyed by “Why does group A seem to score better on average than Group B when rated on a particular factor? Is it because they’re just that intrinsically jawsome?”-type articles, though in this particular case, there is a core non-daft question, albeit one typically glossed over by those writing on these issue. In essence, it amounts to this: Being a member of a minority group which faces discrimination in day-to-day life is usually correlated with poorer education and fewer economic opportunities. Why, then, does group-whatever tend to defy this trend, and in fact display on average better education and economic status than even non-discriminated-against majority?

    There’s probably a number of factors going on here, but I think our friend here does actually touch slightly on the main one, namely the issue of (open) self-identification, always a tricky thing in statistical analysis. As noted, the only means we have of collecting the “who’s gay?” data is by asking people–we can’t very well pull out our trusted gayometer and measure their gay levels against some objectively defined standard of gaiety. So our data category shifts somewhat from “who’s gay” to “who’s willing to tell us”? And it shouldn’t really be surprising that this should be skewed in favor of the educated and economically successful.

    Education, after all, tends to involve a large degree of hearing other viewpoints, be it through the study material itself, through interacting with fellow students of more diverse backgrounds in an institution of higher education, etc. As such, educated people–and even more so academics and intellectuals–tend to be somewhat more accepting of unconventionality vis-a-vis social norms, and more likely to personally embrace such themselves (see the stock character of the eccentric professor).

    As for higher economic success, well, wealthy people have always had an easier time getting away with bending or even flouting social norms. Firstly, they tend to have fewer of both peers and “superiors” in the socioeconomic hierarchy, and thus are less subject to the whims thereof. Secondly, what blows they do receive they can better shrug off due to better armor and reserves. Thirdly, higher-paying jobs tend to also be those which offer more autonomy, whereas low-paying jobs are overwhelmingly ones that emphasize being a “team player” and not rocking the boat. Finally, there is, as you suggest, a heavy classist bias, whereby people higher on the socioeconomic ladder are assumed by default to be a better quality of people, and thus the non-standard qualities they display are generally viewed through a softer lens (see the stock character of the eccentric millionaire) than that on someone lower down the ladder (see the stock character of the crazy hobo).

    I think you are correct that the “I’m innately awesome for belonging to this group” does have its ties to the of “proud to be etc.” (the former mainly being a somewhat hubristic extension of the latter, which is itself simply a perfectly normal need for self-validation), but I would intend to interpret it a bed less cynically in this particular case. Remember that homosexuals are a group that have traditionally been–and in many circles still are–told that not only should they not be proud of who they happened to be by sheer chance, they should be ashamed of it (alternative: they’re told they’re just flat out wrong about who they think they are; that sort of thing doesn’t exist; your personal identity is a lie, we decide who you are). Unsurprisingly, that sort of thing tend to weigh heavily on a person’s psyche, and is another reason why gay folks also tend to be statistically overrepresented in far less beneficial categories, like number of teen suicides. So eventually, people start pushing back, and saying, “No, I’m not ashamed. In fact, I’m proud of it!” in defiance of those who would harass them. This is pretty much always the first step by any group who faces discrimination in being accepted by the larger society. In fact, it’s probably a necessary one–if you act downtrodden, people will tread on you. If you demand respect, people are more likely to give it to you. No one ever gained equality by being a polite victim, no matter how often the victimizers insist this is the key to success. Nor by trying to make your membership in the discriminated against group appear invisible. The only reason we are starting to see a major societal shift in attitudes concerning homosexuality is because ever-more people have been standing up for decades announcing their “pride”.

    Does this have the risk of increasing factionalism, the idea that “not only am I not worse than you, I’m better!“? Certainly. Does it, not, as you hint above, run the risk of not moving society to the goal of accepting the diversity of human attraction and sexuality in all its many and diverse forms, but instead of simply increasing the number of shoe boxes that one can be shoved into from one to two (or if you’re very lucky, three, but only under the strictest conditions) while still preserving the judgmental and oversimplifying attitudes that insist we need to be shoeboxed in the first place? Yes, and I’d say that sadly, that’s exactly what seems to be happening at the moment. But we shouldn’t discount all progress that has been made for nor reason other than that things are still far from perfect. That just means we need to keep the proper perspetive.

  2. 2
    9:12 am, October 3, 2013

    PurpleSpace sez:

    Now how do you feel about a list determining the cleanest states based on how much pollution is dumped in the rivers? Ostensibly, places should be trying to dump as little in waterways as possible, but could that still be skewed to make some places seem worse than others?

    Also, it is really hard to quantify just exactly what the requirements are for someone to be considered intelligent, so people need to be careful when they start saying some people are smarted than others!

  3. 3
    8:58 pm, October 3, 2013

    Heapinfrimp sez:

    I have perhaps overanalyzed your comment, but that is nothing new.
    I tend to think any list of the most, least, worst or best anything is suspicious. They are fine for personal purposes, or to just be for fun, but their rankings should never be considered strictly factual by anybody, unless the figures are inarguable. A list of cities by the amount of libraries in them is more accurate than a list of cities by their intelligence with the fact that this is determined by counting libraries considered a secondary topic. But that’s less exciting, isn’t it. Nobody gets to brag that experts said their city and therefore them in it was smartest, regardless of their relationship with any libraries or the quality of those libraries

    The actual content behind such a list still may be of use in many circumstances, at least if you are looking to solve a problem, like illiteracy or bad water quality, or wondering which of your problems you should work on first. Bragging shouldn’t be a priority.

    After my first read-through, I was concerned that if I looked the thing over again my issue would go on even longer. Initially I intended to not read it at all and just criticize the headline (because I tend to go on a bit), but I needed to make sure it was really suggesting what it was. Although if it wasn’t that would be false advertising and still worthy of complaint.

    The writer suggests that gays who do not out themselves are closeminded and thus less-smart for that, which I couldn’t accept. They could be TOO openminded, or find it, unfortunately, more beneficial for their current position. But perhaps somebody who WORKED HARDER would have found a way to make that a functional life and not simply hide. In that case I don’t know what to say; I am so accustomed to my own shame that it starts to feel like my own [not necessarily strive-worthy] ordinary. I am not about to imagine that means I am a moron, however. Not because THIS guy says so. If Stern has a point, I do not think it is the one he was trying to look like he had.

    No, absolutely don’t be a polite victim. I hope those who are no longer victims can separate themselves from the victim mentality. I suppose there is still time to see how that goes without making a judgement. Fortunately or not I am not a deliberate follower of the antics of any outspoken advocates, but we have examples in someones like Al Sharpton or Sarah Palin who like nothing better than to find an excuse to put themselves in a victimized group, beyond the point when it is valid. I believe homosexuality is capable of that. If it is ultimately less inclined, maybe it IS smarter. In one way.

    I don’t believe there is a secret gay war on straight people any more than I believe there is a secular war on christmas. I wonder if I’ve seen too many undesired phalluses in the company of other undesired phalluses on bad art sites and it is messing with my mind off of them. Those conventions, also, made me feel as if I was looking into a future of total sexual liberation, and it was often very, very dumb. But this article isn’t talking about that, I suppose.

    Really this bimshwoid needed more attention, but I wanted to put the whole topic away since I am tired of letting them pile up. I do not think that will be a permanent matter.
    If I didn’t write for free, ideally I would have an editor who paid as much attention as you do. And then I would make sure what I said was reasonable before I let it be linked off of another person’s article.

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