Monk, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Reid, Dr. Brennan. All crime show detectives. All brilliant.
Penelope Garcia, Abby Sciuto, Felicity Smoak, Skye. All FEMALE Computer hackers. All brilliant.
Now. Find something normal about them.
Do you see? You cannot be brilliant and have a normal social life. You cannot be brilliant and not be a bit autistic or OCD or borderline Schizophrenic. All these common traits in brilliant people on TV and in Movies are exaggerated in order to make normal people feel better about themselves? Whatever for?
Why are we still doing Mad Scientists?
Why can’t brilliant people be charming and suave and debonaire? Why can’t child prodigies have a normal social life?
Ever since Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein’s Monster, the mad scientist has been codified.
- Every brilliant person is quirky
- No brilliant person can make friends
- No brilliant person ever works as hard as the rest of us
- Every brilliant person is a braggart
- Every brilliant person has a huge vocabulary and no emotions
- Every brilliant person is socially awkward
- Every brilliant person knows they’re the smartest person in the room
- Every brilliant person listens to nothing but classical music
They are emotionally immature. They are not empathetic. They prefer to be alone.
Now add to that the fact that smart people are mistrusted, avoided, and ridiculed for their entire time in school. Then, to make things worse, the abuse doesn’t stop after school. They are called names, and patronized, and categorized as “other-than-normal”.
I understand why you’re more likely to find an EVIL genius than an ANGELIC genius. The tree in Eden was called the Tree of Knowledge…but it was the knowledge of good and evil and people never add that last part. Wouldn’t you, if you had been treated as an anomaly, as a freak, as some sort of alien all your life, want some sweet revenge? Use technology beyond mortal understanding! Be the master of the ultra-long con! And yet the evil geniuses that became serial killers preyed on women and girls mostly. They didn’t take over the world, did they?
Who did? CEOs, Judges, Senators (?!), Members of the House of Representatives, and the rich (read billionaires, not millionaires). The extremely smart represent 1% of the population. If the population was evenly represented, 1% of the homeless would be extremely smart, 1% of the blue-collar workers, 1% of the athletes…you see? But this is not the case. If it were, then 1% of the CEOs would be at the 130-140 level and that is a shocking 38% instead. 1% of billionaires would be brilliant, and yet 45% of them are. The Senate has 41% brilliant members, and the House–20%. How can this be? They don’t fit into the category of geniuses and brilliant people. Those types are supposed to be geeky, autistic, OCD, quirky people. How could they make friends? How could they possibly get elected? Shouldn’t the people in power be the alpha dogs? The emotionally intelligent, type A personalities with tons of charisma and 1000s of FaceBook friends? They’re not.
I was always told that “A” students work for “C” students. Not in 38% of the cases… If the brightest people only make up 1% of the population, why are there 38 times more CEOs in the 1% than there are supposed to be? We’d have to do some regression analysis, but I’d say that there’s a significant correlation between intelligence and the CEO position. It’s the same for Judges. I challenge you to find a judge or a CEO that acts like Sherlock or Monk or Reid or Brennan.
Quit putting brilliant people into the “weird” box. Quit assuming that brilliant people have no social skills. Quit bullying them because you know what? When your case comes up in front of THAT judge, you’re going to go down. If you want the best lawyer, you’d better remember if he’s the one you stole lunch money from. When you’re having that heart attack, remember how you treated your surgeon in 6th grade. Remember that Senator or Representative you made fun of in high school may not actually represent YOU. That dorky kid in the business class may become your boss in 10 years. That computer geek may be running your portfolio for your retirement.
The rest of us? The ones with IQs of 95-105? You’re more likely to find a serial killer in the 85-95 range than one in the upper levels, although they do happen. Less than 1% of the serial killers are above 130. So if you make fun of the slow guy in the class, you may find yourself in a dark alley with Tim Curry holding a garrote.
2 thoughts on “Is it just me?”
Emotionally stunted genius is a popular trope bc it puts them on even footing with everyone else. Look at the nemeses for some of these tv geniuses, for example. It’s never some mouth-breathing thug. Most often it is someone of comparable intelligence unhindered by social awkwardness. See, the message says, if you don’t bully smart ppl they’ll turn into Moriarty. Or just abt any Bond villain.
Very likely, those 38% you’re talking abt had money. So they weren’t getting swirlies in public ed, they were getting SAT prep in private preschool.
Yes, very interesting. I began to notice a trend… oh, maybe as far back as 20 years ago… in TV shows, in which the main characters were said to be “geniuses.” Especially when they got to The Big Bang Theory. I wondered, “Why such a fascination with genius all of a sudden?” One of the most recent shows to air is called “Outmatched” in which two “ordinary” parents have four genius children. Funny! Hahaha! Why such a concerted effort to convince us about the ‘stereotypical’ characteristics and personalities of “smart people”? I agree with your post.