Mitt and Maewen

Jacob Proffitt Jacob at Proffitt.com
Tue Sep 19 14:10:40 EDT 2000


On Wed, 20 Sep 2000 00:02:44 +1000, Sally Odgers wrote:

>It is, of course, a clich? to speak of the genius who is a duffer at games
>so I was unreasonably miffed to learn that Alex was afraid of any animal
>bigger than a goldfish and couldn't swim. James, a fisherman/swimmer, came
>home from school camp and remarked placidly that he'd "got Alex through" the
>water sports part of their course. It seems he loaded the poor lad into a
>2-man kayak, assured him he wouldn't let him drown and gave him a
>cram-course in paddling.
>
>Does anyone have any theory about this "intellectual wimp" clich? came into
>being? *Is* it just a clich?, or was Alex really typical?

If I may be so bold as to offer myself as an example.  I have been very
fortunate in my skills and talents.  I have a natural bent for mathematics
and logical puzzles.  I am, in fact, a geek in the modern use of the term.
Although I'm not as sharp as Alex obviously is, I have tested at genius
levels.

On the other hand, and this is the part that should really make you sick, I
also have some skill in physical pursuits.  I used to finish in the top
three in races in PE no matter what length and without any training, often
beating guys on the track team.  I have some natural poise as well that
makes things like soccer and basketball a natural pursuit.  I actually *did*
pursue some Martial Arts and was a top student and sometimes instructor.  My
instructor used to be amazed because he only had to show me something once.

Now, to get back to Sally's question, I can say with some emphasis that
there is a direct antagonism in physical pursuits directed at anyone who
excels in other areas.  Geeks are not welcomed in athletic programs even if
they can help the team win.  When a jock is beat on his own grounds by
someone he feels inferior to in other areas, well, it isn't pretty and it
isn't fun.  Plus, athletic pursuits leave a multitude of openings for the
very basest of human impulses to find outlet.  Not a good combination.

If you combine that with the simple fact that mental pursuits are just
easier than physical ones, well, it's no wonder the clich? is validated.

Jacob
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