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#124548 03/05/04 12:09 AM
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Well, it's not exactly AWAD in Schools, but it definitely provides a fascinating perspective on the plight of nerds in US schools & the social forces at work:

http://paulgraham.com/nerds.html


#124549 03/05/04 12:54 AM
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Dear Fiberbabe: I just don't remember peer pressure being even noticeable when I was in highschool. It was in the worst part of the depression, and the thing most kids were
worrying about was the chance of their getting job when they got out of school. All I was worrying about was getting into college. I didn't give a badword for what the
other kids thought of me. I knew I'd never see any of them
again after I left highschool, and I didn't. Popularity
is good for politicians, but not much else.



#124550 03/05/04 10:42 AM
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Thanks, Junior Wheatgerm. That was a very interesting essay.


#124551 03/05/04 06:09 PM
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I experienced this phenomon in several different ways. In the earliest years it was the really dumb, vicious kids who attacked me. About half-way through middle school it changed radically. The dumb guys and the normal guys were great buddies. We just sort of accepted each other even though we didn't hang out in the same crowds. I know it sounds conceited, but I when I talked with these guys, they would sometimes act like they held me some kind of awe. This was particularly true in high school when I was an upperclassman talking to lowerclassmen. The real pressure at that time came not from people who were dumb or average, but from people who were "almost smart," most of whom were extremely popular football types. But it wasn't a really clear thing. Some of the cheerleaders and football players were extremely decent people. But the pool of almost smart antagonists was drawn exclusively from their number.

I, too, went through puberty about this time - I was the only person on both the speech team and the wrestling team. I was also president of the post chess club and member of the math and latin teams. I wasn't a great wrestler. I was good, but did not have the instinct to really hurt anyone - except by accident. I broke two different people's collar bones at two different schools - in damn near the same place - by using an illegal throw. I really felt terrible about it in both cases - all I can say it's difficult to keep all the stuff in mind at the same time. There's a lot more thinking in wrestling than most people suppose. Anyway, when I switched high schools from fairbanks, ak to ft knox, ky I hadn't joined the new wrestling team yet - and I immediately became friends with the one of the weakest guys in school. He was a real target and an absolute victim. Two bullies started picking on us and I threatened to rip the top off a desk and bash their fucking brains out when a teacher intervened. They kept crowing, but they never screwed with me again - and they didn't screw with him when I was around. Chickenshits. Bullies really are chickenshits. I'm not even going to get started on the "teachers are liars" thing or the "pseudo-intellectual morons have taken over the school systems" thing. Suffice it to say I was shocked to find out my redneck step-father was right and the lying teachers were wrong - ignoring bullies is a seriously bad idea, and going to a teacher is a SERIOUSLY STUPID THING TO DO in some circumstances.

The real thing is this: there are alphas, betas, and gammas. Most, but not all, really smart people are gammas - they're just interested in other things besides making other people happy. Unfortunately the cost of marching to one's own drum is more than just unpopularity. If there is a way, the idiot contingent could very easily start screwing with you - physically.








#124552 03/05/04 06:52 PM
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What bothers me even more about the incident with my new-found friend and myself getting bullied by these two pissants:

1. One of these guys grew out of his stupidity. By the time we were all seniors, this guy had joined JROTC, was a leader there, and had actually learned to be a human being.

2. The other fellow died in a freak accident. He moved off post but was visiting a (non-bullying) friend on post when a storm struck. There was a flash flood while they were playing frisbee or ball or something and he fell in the water and was drowned. Seemed like everyone was extremely mornful of this weasel. This in itself didn't bother me, but all the talk about what a great human being he was made me want to puke. I can't count the number of times I've regretted not charging down to the office, commandeering the microphone, and giving the school an earful of well-deserved venom. This was not "a nice guy." He was a popular guy who was gutless, unscrupulous, and slimey.

k



#124553 03/05/04 06:59 PM
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Or how about, "My mother always told me, if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all. Let's all have a moment of silence for our deceased classmate."


#124554 03/05/04 07:14 PM
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FF, thanks for your story. I found it fascinating. But I've got two questions (and if I as a fellow Amurican don't understand, then maybe some of our furriner friends won't, either):

What is JROTC? And what is "post chess club", "on-post", etc? (Army post?)


#124555 03/05/04 07:17 PM
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"Let's all have a moment of silence for our deceased classmate."


Good idea. But I don't think it would give me much relief.

I don't mind being bullied by this cretin. I was not at any time afraid of him - hell, I can't even remember his name any more. I can almost remember the other guy's name, the one who turned out okay. I can't remember my friend's last name, but I remember his first name, "Chuck." I spent the remainder of my first year at the new high school afraid that this goon was going to waylay Chuck. You know that guy on SNL - one of the guys of that goofy dancing duo - the one's who act like sissies and during an audition where they bring their boombox. The chubby guy looks a lot like Chuck. Chuck was 14 and looked 11, a little chubby and he looked a little bit Gaussian, which is to say a bit like a ten pin with legs. It's hard to get across exactly how innocuous this guy was and how much of a lowlife life a person would have to be to attack the kid.

k



#124556 03/05/04 07:44 PM
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JROTC = Junior Reserve Officer Training Core. It used to be a big thing at Ft. Knox. I'm not sure any more. Last time I went to Knox - just a coupla years ago - it seemed like a ghost town.

I was in it for two years myself. You learn military history, first aid, cpr, marksmanship (there was a shooting range in the basement of the elementary school next to the high school). You also learn a little about leadership - in fact, the main reason I signed up was because I saw how idiot number 1 had done a 180 with his life. (I'm something of a persona non grata at my alma mater, particularly with the JROTC people, but even in general. Not sure, but I may be the only person from Ft. Knox to get to USMA and then leave on purpose.)

They also have a drill team and those guys are pretty impressive. I saw a number of poorer (intellectually, not financially) students actually blossom in the program. I think I was the only nerd. It was also interesting, because there were people younger than me who outranked me. It was very funny at times to see them exert some kind of respectful control over me. I've seen people abuse authority before - particularly at the USMA - but not too many in the JROTC. Not saying it doesn't happen, just that I either never witnessed it or didn't notice it.

k


#124557 03/05/04 07:46 PM
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Interesting, but I can state that large chunks of that thesis do not apply here in Zild. Unifroms make a big difference, and at least in my own case, I only had one teacher who would have taken the "Cliff Notes" approach, most of the others were actually interested in tecahing their kids to think, shockingly enough.


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