2659 They Weren’t Going To Stand For This.

Comic Vote
Presents List
Shirts & such.

Sorry this went up so much later than usual. Under normal circumstances I would just power through and try to post closer to the appointed time, but I simply had to lay down for a few hours until my discomfort abated enough to work. Anyway, I’m fine now. No need to worry if you were, in fact, worried.

I kind of feel like I should stop and talk about something since it doesn’t matter if I take a while to blog. Part of the reason I’ve been able to make more spectacular pages is that there’s no major disaster going on in my life for a change. I hesitate to even express that for fear of something deciding to destroy the tranquility. By the grace of God, or whatever you want to ascribe the power of luck to, I was able to ad some flair to a key moment in the comic and I’m very thankful for that.

I got distracted just now. I’m just gonna post this before I fall asleep or something. Have a good one. I’ll see you on Monday, I hope.


I’m glad your day-to-day has nothing to write about.

Jessica seems like one of DIII football players who really shound be in DI for the coaching, training, and competition they’re capable of.

Maybe Jess’s plan is to go to a four year college after two years in community – if so I hope she gets into a good school with teachers who will give her a fight! She deserves better. There are still smart people in physics.

Is nobody going to point out the reference to the lynching of the inventor of the II drive?

Ah, yes. The classic case of “I want you to be smart but I don’t want you to be smarter than ME!” routine. I get it all the time from my folks, teachers and other elders who want to set an example but still insist on being higher on the food chain because heaven forbid, a whippersnapper will usurp control from them.

And to think they call the kids “childish”.

In my experience, these types Jess is talking about can’t stand anyone being better than them at anything, really, even if it’s on totally different fields of specialized knowledge than their own. And it gets worse if it’s a famous person too. It’s the old physicist syndrome that SMBC comic from the 10’s illustrated so well. A difficult type to deal with, honestly.

So, funny wall o’ text story.

When I was a kid, I was in a behavioral institute called Island Discovery. This was back when no one knew anything of how to handle autistic children. Anyway, one of the goals of this institution was to “mainstream” its kids into the public school system. When my turn came up, I had a math teacher who had a habit of verbally abusing students who he felt didn’t meet his standards, either in arithmetic or behavior. Note that I rarely did homework or classwork and mostly just sketched in class.

One of the big things about Island Discovery was that they were shit at actually guiding kids. We all learned at our own paces because they couldn’t come up with a lesson plan to save their lives, so they just gave us schoolwork as we finished it. And I was a smart cookie, so I tore through material. By the time I was mainstreamed, I was excited to see what “real” students were learning; imagine my surprise when I found out my fellow “real” students were having trouble adding and subtracting fractions with common denominators. Meanwhile, I was already using graph paper and simplification to solve for variables in algebra. To say I was absolutely bored is an understatement.

Anyway, fast forward to third year of middle school. Word eventually got out that I wasn’t doing any of my work, so they decided to recall me back to the institute. Before this happened, however, we had to take the state-mandated tests that they made students take. The aforementioned math teacher had quite the ego, and apparently every year he would take the test alongside us and then brag about how lucky we were to be receiving instruction from someone so intelligent. These tests ran all the way up to late college level, so I actually was motivated; finally, new material!

Fast forward ten years or so. I’m visiting my hometown and family for vacation; Island Discovery has long since shut down due to ineffectiveness and restarted in Canada where they didn’t know how shit it was. I’m on the bus home, and someone calls out my name. Turns out it was my middle school art teacher, who was the only adult in my mainstream life that gave me the time of day. And he told me what happened after I took the tests and left public school.

Apparently, my math teacher had a massive breakdown in class when they’d gotten the test results back. And he’d found out that this do-nothing student that he’d mocked and ostracized in front of the class daily (usually that I’d have no future, an example of parental coddling, etc) had outscored him in his own subject on the test he took to stroke his ego. Apparently, he started screaming and cursing, breaking things, police were called, and he lost his teaching license and had to serve jail time.

So yeah, this comic reminded me of that. Good stuff!

I always love it when egotistical dickheads like that get a good dosage of karma. Goes to show that it really doesn’t pay to stroke your own ego.

I dunno man, from how you describe it, it seems like Island Discovery was leagues better than the public school system and you learned alot in it. Maybe it’s not so bad despite being un-structured (there are several movements insisting a lack of structure is better for education, though I can’t claim to know who is right).

I’ll play devil’s advocate and say that kids, no matter how intelligent, lack wisdom. And oftentimes, being more intelligent than some adults, they get an attitude that they know everything and don’t need teachers, mentors, even their parents. Then they grow up and life kicks them in the teeth, because no matter how good they were at their studies, they don’t know everything, they CAN’T know everything, and learning to coast along on their high grades didn’t teach them how to succeed in life. Many flounder, some at least get jobs in stuff like engineering but still struggle to handle relationships, taxes, home maintenance, and so on. I’ve had terrible teachers and understand the frustration, but I also imagine it’s incredibly frustrating to a teacher to be trying to prepare a student for their future, to give guidance, and the student rejects it and acts like a smartass just because they already figured out the homework.

So maybe Jess is realizing the limits of what her high IQ can accomplish for her.

I say this is more of a case-by-case basis. While there are intelligent students who will use their intelligence to develop an ego of their own and end up getting dealt a hard blow by reality, there are others who can balance their intelligence with wisdom to handle life. It still doesn’t excuse a teacher from disavowing an alternate and challenging viewpoint if a student genuinely makes a solid case for it to protect their sense of superiority. If anything, it should help evolve the teaching process. But, at the same time, making a solid case for an alternate and challenging viewpoint is not an open invitation for the student to be a condescending and cocky jerk. Both sides should exercise the proper respect towards the learning process.

Can confirm that people in positions of authority/seniority don’t much like those who are smarter than them or otherwise display unexpected intelligence.

My stories, as my mother has told them to me (since I’m some 25+ years removed from them at this point):

1) My Pre-K class went to a Library where the Librarian would quiz us on what certain words were in a book. I kept answering and our teacher asked me to let the other children try to answer. The librarian said it was fine and assumed I’d already read the book. My teacher informed her that I was, in fact, literate. The librarian scoffed and replied something to the tune of “Oh, please – he’s too young to be able to read!”
My teacher then handed me a random book and told me to read it aloud, which I did. It didn’t take long for the librarian to huffily retract her statement. My teacher was pretty smug about it though.

2) Had an assignment in, like, Kindergarten or something where the goal was name one animal for every letter of the alphabet. I tried submitting “Aye-Aye” (the lemur with the long middle finger) for ‘A’ (I played A LOT of “Buzzy the Knowledge Bug” games as a tot – “Buzzy goes to the Jungle” especially) and teach either refused to believe that it was a real animal or was convinced it started with an ‘I’ from how it was pronounced.
My mother came in the next day fuming to tell the teacher off and tell her to actually check to make sure I was wrong next time.

3) In first grade I ended up in several advanced learning classes, some of which contained children old enough to be in third grade. They all hated me because I tended to breeze through the work and, in my boredom afterwards, tried offering help to the other older children. Our teacher’s solution was to give me drawing supplies and little activity books to keep me occupied after my work was done.

I’ve got to ask: what evidence exactly have we seen that Jess is as smart as she claims to be? I mean, sure, there was a comic where her community college professor was impressed by her most recent paper, but that’s not really a display of savant-level ability there. We haven’t ever really seen her display any particularly exceptional skills or talents at any point in the series. The one thing she’s actually done, i.e., make videos with Brooksie for a website, required her enlisting the help of some dude living across the hall from her. Sure, she can manipulate people, but she’s also a hot girl. That’s not exactly a superhuman challenge for them.

At this point, her supposed “brilliance” is feeling a lot more like an informed-ability than an actual character trait.

It is not my custom to simply have characters go on needless rants on scientific theories in an effort to make myself seem intelligent to my audience. If you want that style of writing I suggest trying Questionable Content.

I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to cause offense. It’s just that I’ve known a number of people who talked like her about how hard it was being so smart when they were younger and knew better than their teachers. And trust me, not one of them was even half as clever as they thought they were. People who ramble on about their supposed virtues or merits often tend to be lacking in them…

Jess has made every effort to hide her intelligence. She is speaking in confidence to a trusted person. You are looking at the situation as though she is trying to boast in front of an audience. Narratively you don’t exist. She’s not trying to impress you.

Ok, this is a real experience of people in this position. So the emotional consolation value is seeing this relieved on stage and in story. As such you somewhat sense. It would be strange if the character is actually smarter than the creator, but not impossible if derived from someone else’s, and so either it is the creator’s or someone they met their experience, by which it sounds like it is fully valid. In-universe many people can sense this, by way of what types of problems people get worked up about vs. just unfazed by and by proxy how nuanced their approach. This is very much sensed in their conversation and responses, so emotional intelligence, at the very least, is pretty high up there, and stringing people into your projects is also a typically sign that you can construct a reality around them and a game to play. … Ok, but apart from this situation, even so, anonymous’ posed problem and Jess’ experience is a bit more complicated if we generalize it. Who should you trust and what stance to take in a room full of smarts and not-so and dominators, leaders, followers, and egalitarians? There is at least two-three types that could be confused, those who want to be smarter but actually aren’t: let’s call them ‘the envious’. In fact, they want status or power. Those who are smarter, but only in a certain area, and they mistake that area to be more important than it is, losing sight of the big picture: let’s call them ‘the overnerdy’. Those who perform better in a bunch of areas, typically higher IQ, but more importantly applied: let’s call them the actual ‘smarties’. (there are also the honest mediocre, and honest specialist, but let’s keep it). Ok this line of actuals and wannabes bump into each other and they paired up on a second line sorted by power dynamics. And power is not just about mental faculties hierarchy, it’s (also) about calling decisions and taking charge (consistently), so that other folks get used to getting good-enough calls to action from you and seeing you as leader and outsourcing their decision-making to you. (which is nice for them subconsciously because it saves their brains energy if they don’t need to spend it thinking on their own). So, the two lines align and sometimes clash. Basically there is a tradeoff between smarts and power: If you spend more time optimizing and thinking about one decision, you get to make fewer decisions in the same time. If you have time off or are comparably faster at processing, you might still end up on par, as a smarty, but otherwise you lose the initiative to an envious power keeper – whose job may even be to put you down, in order to remain unchallenged (or successful at what they do). But the power keeper also has to make best use of their fellowship including the smarties and so needs to orchestrate some kind of collaboration (but make it look like they called the shots). If the power keeper is somewhat wise they will allow the best policy to surface, either claiming it or building up their followers (which works as another power-enhancing move). I.e., if you consider not just yourself but your whole team and side as you, it makes sense to build up everybody (as long as you remember to be seen giving value more often than the rest, it will subconsciously register, and people will defer). But if the power keeper is more dumb or anxious, they may try to limit everyone to their level of understanding and thus put a lid on the whole group. It’s best for the group if they don’t stay in power, but if they are tenacious or if there is no decisive challenger, then the group gets stuck in following the mediocre course. … Given these dynamics, what’s the best attitude? If you want your group to succeed you should take charge or help put those in charge who can best coordinate the abilities (smarts being just one of several on a team) – but in a way that’s accepted by the majority (so you can win the popular vote). That might also amount to being extremely polite, and seen as more dependable, minimizing conflict, striking agreements etc. Looks like it depends entirely on the group or society expectations. If your goal is not to advance the group, but just to get by living a comfy life on your own, you might end up shying away from conflict and direct challenges more often, and thereby being more often the target of misguided domination attempts by the envious, unless you extract yourself from the interaction or establish and defend boundaries. … Intellectual humility is a formidable trait to put others at ease, but if you are too humble when you should rather speak up for everybody’s sake, the group loses out, too. So, it’s sometimes good to give people space for their own thoughts, and sometimes it’s wasting everybody’s time by holding back. And unfortunately, we fall prey to falling into the patterns of our past training or conditioning, and rationalize that that’s the best way to be, because we’ve made it this far the same way or because we’d have to get uncomfy changing otherwise. (but we don’t have a true comparison). I don’t know of any good way and it sounds like it’s still lottery balls dynamics and anything goes. If you know what to do or have some agent-based modeling where we can play around with dummies, let me know. Else we seem to end up in the more uncomfy situation where we need to accept, that any way to show up is ok or at least in-character or the best one can do from some perspective. (Unless you try to optimize for best outcome for the group, which seem to be a bit clearer: e.g., delegate delegation to most organizationally savvy and open-minded, delegate work to most experienced on task, delegate decision-making and tradeoffs to most decisive, negotiation/solution-savvy and fair, reign in bullies but keep in stock against outgroup bullies; establish some space for tryout, and give some leeway or variety to keep people engaged and creative and an opportunities for ownership). Federate and make the swarm, sprawl out into local semi-stable groups with their own smarty-power struggles or pacified, yay. (In theory, pacifying and giving up on either power or smarts domination should yield the most pleasant results, but it’s a riddle how to get that across.) … Then, out of nowhere, bring in outgroup horde, crush prior ownership with a godmode force, because thuglife faceboot, and bask in self-reinforcing glory. hierarchy beats intricate net on short-term decision efforts, and civilizational advances are down the toilet, duh! Now restart the next cycle of the needy vs. the ones at peace (hoping to end up with a higher share of ‘at peace’ this time around). Or, alternatively, before the horde shows up, simplify or automate your decisions to an extent so the swarm can beat the horde and defend higher level. good luck. … If you play this on the long game, it gets even more fun and unpredictable. Also you can play as NPC, but with the exciting twist that you are not told so. Now you can play humble, because you don’t know if you are mistaken, because you suspect you are not but want to give others the space to realize on their own terms or because they are too tense, because you have the time and don’t mind, or you can play assertive because you sense you need to, or because you figure this is too complicated but someone has to take charge, or because you don’t get it but you’ll be damned if you let someone get the better of you. Who is right in this? I’m confident someone is, but I don’t know who. If you know, please share, so we can get comfy in taking the right stance.

Also, why dumb yourself down? A good school system, evena poor one, would move the person up in grade, give them more stimulation, see that they had a chance to get into college. She’s talking like she’s a genius, but seems to be wasting her time when she should be in MIT.

When I was a teacher (at university level) I was proud when a student outdid me. I took that as a real success.
What I didn’t appreciate, though, was when a student kept interrupting the class with advanced questions the rest of the class was not ready to understand. That was showing off.
I offered to take him aside and teach him separately at a level appropriate tp him, but he declined. My interpretation: he’d have a hard time showing off that way. Had he accepted, he would have earned my respect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.