Link o’ the day

Why Nerds are Unpopular

A lot of people seem to think it’s good for smart kids to be thrown together with “normal” kids at this stage of their lives. Perhaps. But in at least some cases the reason the nerds don’t fit in really is that everyone else is crazy. I remember sitting in the audience at a “pep rally” at my high school, watching as the cheerleaders threw an effigy of an opposing player into the audience to be torn to pieces. I felt like an explorer witnessing some bizarre tribal ritual.

If I could go back and give my thirteen year old self some advice, the main thing I’d tell him would be to stick his head up and look around. I didn’t really grasp it at the time, but the whole world we lived in was as fake as a Twinkie. Not just school, but the entire town. Why do people move to suburbia? To have kids! So no wonder it seemed boring and sterile. The whole place was a giant nursery, an artificial town created explicitly for the purpose of breeding children…

And as for the schools, they were just holding pens within this fake world. Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults can get things done…

What bothers me is not that the kids are kept in prisons, but that (a) they aren’t told about it, and (b) the prisons are run mostly by the inmates. Kids are sent off to spend six years memorizing meaningless facts in a world ruled by a caste of giants who run after an oblong brown ball, as if this were the most natural thing in the world. And if they balk at this surreal cocktail, they’re called misfits.

An interesting essay, with a few sideswipes on school, surburbia, and the nature of popularity (“Popularity is only partially about individual attractiveness. It’s much more about alliances. To become more popular, you need to be constantly doing things that bring you close to other popular people, and nothing brings people closer than a common enemy.”).

Hurricane preparedness

So, here we sit, waiting to get the snot beat out of us by Hurricane Charley, which the news is saying may flood downtown Tampa, knock out power for the weekend, rip the roofs off houses, and my neighbors are…

…mowing their lawn.

Pays to be prepared, I suppose. A well-tended debris field is so much nicer than an overgrown debris field, after all.

And in completely unrelated news, I want to make a vampire movie starring Gary Busey as a vampire. He’d be an excellent antidote to angst-ridden, whiny, introspective, Anne Rice postmodern vampires, don’t you think?