Saturday, January 05, 2008

Make way for the Homo Superior

Okay, so here's an interesting topic: Mensa. Has anyone been to their meetings? I'm going to arrogantly assume that the regulars could all get in. I'm befuddled, but could qualify. Holly, Hiromi, and Claire are all Smarty Smartsteins. Greg could probably control Mensa with his mind...

But, I'll be honest, Mensa has always struck me as a bit... I don't know, eugenic. There's something a bit weird about getting people with "superior intelligence" together to form a society. What do they do, sit around and finish crossword puzzles together? Do they want you to breed with other high IQ people? How far do you have to go from socializing primarily with other brainiacs to writing studies of the Jukes and the Kallikaks and advocating sterilization for low IQ people?

Okay, that's probably unfair. It's not like they're a lobbying group, right? I mean, Claire's told me that they basically get drunk and do anagrams! Also, it strikes me that Mensa is one of the only truly affirming social organizations that I can think of. Most social organizations empower their members in some way, but they generally mix the praise with the shame in a way that Mensa really doesn't. Unlike political, therapeutic, or religious groups, Mensa don't really imply that their members need them, or that they're flawed or embattled without them. I think this is a point in their favor.

In other words, Mensa is the only social group I can think of that has the life-affirming elements with none of the lowering elements. It's weirdly Nietzschean, isn't it? Actually, that's not entirely true- I'd imagine that body building clubs are similar. I wonder if anyone's ever formed a Mensa weight-lifting club. They could bench press and do anagrams!

Postscript: We could also form our own Mensa. With hookers and blackjack.

7 comments:

gregvw said...

Mensa. With hookers and blackjack.

I am so there.

Rufus said...

It was Holly who reminded me of the great Futurama the other day.

Holly said...

I'm down with the heavyweight brainiac's gym. There's really, truly nothing in this world that smart people NEED like we need to be reminded that the physical laws still work.

Rufus said...

I've always wanted to get really well built and then be really intimidating to other academics. Like go to conferences and when people ask tough questions about your paper, yell, "WHAT?!?"

Holly said...

"WHAT DID YOU SAY?! I dare you to come over here and say that again! I will twist your head around until it pops like a packet of ketchup!!"

In fact, there is probably not enough WWF in academia.

gregvw said...

Attacking your dissertation committee with a folding chair: great stress reliever or greatest stress reliever?

Rufus said...

I just need a tear-away shirt like Hulk Hogan has.

"Listen pencil-neck, this dissertation is finished!! You got that?!!"

Of course, this could lead to an arms race of sorts. Before long, all of my department's professors could be walking around in sweats and mesh muscle shirts, having roid rage in department meetings, etc.