Thursday, May 10, 2007

Left Side of the Bell Curve

More episodes in infantilization:
There's a large billboard on Queen City Ave in Cincinnati that tells me it's never good to shake a baby. Would this same billboard be acceptable in toney parts of town?

Anti-smoking commercials: Obnoxious teenage virgins harassing people about their smoking. Listen up jackass - get yourself a prospectless job, a loveless marriage, an endless mortgage, an unappreciative kids, then come bitch at me for my 5 minutes of pleasure with the Marlboro Man freezing my ass off because that b&%$h in the next cube would do that half hearted (ahh, ahh) cough if I lite up within 5 miles of her. I know it's killing me - the sooner the better. (OK, I don't smoke, but that would be my reaction.)

Ad campaigns that remind people - younins, usually, but not always - that unprotected sex leads to disease and - even worse - children. They know this. Tell them they'd bleed from the ears and they'd still want it. It's sex. Besides... A condom just don't feel right, baby. I don't want anything between us.

Which leads me to my topic for today: Dumb people.

Plot IQ scores on a x-axis and a the number of those people with those IQs on the Y. You'll get a nice clean normal distribution of intelligent. The famed Bell Curve of controversies past.

I think we need to remember that there are dumb people our there. This is hard to take in a society that strives for egalitarianism under "all people are created equal" but the fact is that half of use are below average on the brain-o-meter and the majority of that half are big lummoxes.

The worst policy the Bush administration pushed is No Child Left Behind. It assumes that kids that don't go to college are 'left behind'. No they're not. A lot of smart people just don't go to college (N.B. the converse is also true: a lot of dumb people teach college). But a lot of people on the left side of the curve are just not capable of higher or abstract thought.

This isn't meant to be cruel - it's just a fact. Pressuring them into going to college where they either fail or are passed along doesn't do anyone good - them or the people who actually have the IQ to be there.

Dumb people can do good jobs and worthwhile things, but let's not kid them or ourselves. And I'd rather them be doing those jobs than higher IQ illegal immigrants.

And don't give me any grief that everyone is smart in their own way. That kind of thinking needs to be left behind in about 5th grade. There's just some people who are just plain dumb.

And don't confuse station in life with intelligence either. IQ doesn't guarantee success. Neurosis, society, culture, and self-esteem all factor in, but give a kid with an above average IQ a decent home life and relatively benign neighborhood to grow up in and he'll do ok. The block head won't.

I go on this jag from a favorable review of Saturday Night Fever by John Derbyshire. He rightly claimed it was a movie respectfully about those that live on the left side of the curve. He claimed it was the last. Maybe. But My Name is Earl is a tv show - not so much about trashy people, but about dumb people and their lives. The fact that dumb people are often trashy is not unrelated, but the dumb came first.

Stay You.
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