Join 3,415 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


MENSA Members Love Girl Genius, duh.
April 6, 2010 8:27 AM   Subscribe

American Mensa members across the country cast their votes, selecting their Top 50 Web Sites. MetaFilter is NOT on the list, proving what I've been saying for years that IQ is a poor measurement of real intelligence.
posted by oneswellfoop (207 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
...but BoingBoing is?
posted by gman at 8:31 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Looks like Mensa members spend too much time taking IQ tests and not enough time exploring the web. This is a bland and shallow list.
posted by HumanComplex at 8:31 AM on April 6, 2010 [24 favorites]


Cake wrecks, I Can Has Cheezburger, and The Onion.

That's some real high-toned content there.
posted by contessa at 8:35 AM on April 6, 2010 [9 favorites]


I stopped reading once I hit "I Can Has Cheezburger"
posted by anti social order at 8:35 AM on April 6, 2010 [11 favorites]


Drudge Report? Seriously???
posted by matty at 8:36 AM on April 6, 2010 [8 favorites]


Mensa members want to make it clear they only like Drudge Report for the crossword puzzle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:37 AM on April 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


You lost me at American Mensa members
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 8:37 AM on April 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


Woah. I'm going to have to check out this "Onion" thing!

For real, people. We could come up with a better list than that in the next 15 minutes. How about something with some content, like ScienceDaily or Arts & Letters?
posted by selfmedicating at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ask.com? Drudge Report? BoingBoing!? Wait, MENSA members need Snopes? And the description "It is funny" for The Onion?

I'm going to have a hard time resisting throwing rocks at the next MENSA member I meet. Not that I've ever met a self-admitted MENSA member. Thankfully all of my friends are too smart to join MENSA.
posted by loquacious at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2010


Dogpile is listed under the search engines, but not wolfram-alpha.

I am way more amused by this than I should be.
posted by anti social order at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2010 [9 favorites]


My favorite is their review of The Onion: "It is funny."

Insightful!
posted by bookwo3107 at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was gonna go thru these and bookmark the ones I liked. Then I realized I could just bookmark the Mensa page and come back to it anytime. I should be in Mensa.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 8:38 AM on April 6, 2010 [23 favorites]


"Why are you throwing rocks at me! Stop!"

"It's an intelligence test. Figure it out."
posted by loquacious at 8:39 AM on April 6, 2010 [29 favorites]


Curse you, loquacious!
posted by bookwo3107 at 8:39 AM on April 6, 2010


Did someone mention Mensa? Karl Pilkington: Satisfied Fool 1 2 3
posted by Sys Rq at 8:39 AM on April 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


I've had never met a 'card carrying MENSA member' whose intelligence I respect.
posted by empath at 8:41 AM on April 6, 2010 [10 favorites]


Arts and Letters Daily used to be on my daily blog lineup but I stopped reading it years ago. I can't remember why. Perhaps because there were too many other, more shiny, things?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:42 AM on April 6, 2010


I automatically qualified for MENSA based on my (not too remarkable) LSAT score. I looked into it and realized you had to pay an annual membership fee - just for the privilege of saying you're in MENSA, I guess? I used my high intelligence to conclude MENSA is bullshit.
posted by naju at 8:43 AM on April 6, 2010 [26 favorites]


Did they make this list in 1997?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:43 AM on April 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


For real, people. We could come up with a better list than that in the next 15 minutes.

I'm guessing the last 50 pages linked to on Metafilter make a better list, so we've already done it.

I've had never met a 'card carrying MENSA member' whose intelligence I respect.

That's because if you were really smart, you'd realize that even if membership is valuable (I don't want to get into that debate), the card takes up space in your wallet.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:44 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get the impression that Mensa is not for smart people at all; it's for people with a nice-sized IQ score who are insecure. As I don't want to hang around with attractive people who need to be told they are attractive to feel good about themselves, I also don't want to hang around a bunch of smart(ish) people who need to be told they are smart. And their website list sucks.

I will now go and get my own anti-Mensa blog.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:45 AM on April 6, 2010 [8 favorites]


Q: How many geniuses does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: F=q[E+(v x B)]
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:45 AM on April 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


Arts and Letters Daily used to be on my daily blog lineup but I stopped reading it years ago. I can't remember why. Perhaps because there were too many other, more shiny, things?

I stopped reading ALD after its neocon ideological orientation started becoming harder and harder to ignore.

Can't say I'm surprised MeFi got the snub. There's been a lot of Mensa bashing around these parts in the past (it just makes for such an easy target!)...
posted by saulgoodman at 8:47 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Snopes, Cake Wrecks, Bad Art: Aren't these sites for feeling smarter than someone else? Is that really something Mensa folks need?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:48 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Being in MENSA is like driving a leased Mercedes.
posted by thorny at 8:48 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Daaamn, my MENSA renewal is here!"
posted by Iridic at 8:50 AM on April 6, 2010 [10 favorites]


What?? No Fark?? This list is BULL
posted by threetoed at 8:50 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm insecure as hell, and I'm not in Mensa. Crap!

It's because I'm not smart enough, isn't it? You're just trying not to hurt my feelings.
posted by adipocere at 8:51 AM on April 6, 2010


Voting by definition finds things that most people have heard of and like. And that's the opposite of eclectic and unique.

I like all the Mensa hate here, given that MetaFilter is basically the same thing: People with diverse interests gathering together to discuss intellectual topics and news of the day.
posted by DU at 8:51 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thayre cmart people? They ned to cerf the webs morr. thats a broring list. Maybih i cuna jion teh Mense, 2. I ams cmart.
posted by Skygazer at 8:52 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's my feelings Re: Mensa: if you pay to join a club that says how smart you are, you ain't too goddamn smart.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:53 AM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


cmart smarrt
posted by Skygazer at 8:54 AM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


The only point of joining MENSA seems to be the ability to casually drop into conversations that you're a member of MENSA.

What they haven't figured out yet is that anybody could do that already, if they wanted to. Who's going to check? SUCKAS.
posted by contessa at 8:55 AM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


I had an idea for a website: you know those sites that offer IQ tests for $5 or whatever? Make an official-looking site offering IQ tests for $5. Then to anyone who pays $5, display red 96 point text saying "YOU FAIL THE IQ TEST". Then keep the money.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:55 AM on April 6, 2010 [28 favorites]


Smarrt Shmart
posted by Skygazer at 8:55 AM on April 6, 2010


I heard on the radio that there is an upcoming national mensa convention to be held in Detroit...

Yeah, they're real smart.....

Convention chair: Ok, guys, where to this year?
committee member 1: Hawaii
committee member 2: Key West
committee member 3: Paris
committee member 4: Acapulco

Convention chair: Ok then, Detroit it is!
posted by HuronBob at 8:55 AM on April 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


I automatically qualified for MENSA based on my (not too remarkable) LSAT score.

It was the same way for me, based on my pretty-good-but-not-holy-shit ACT score. Shamefully, I'm dumber than you, and I decided to pony up the $40 (years ago) to be able to have my struttin' rights.

Soon, I received an ill-edited newsletter that looked like it was banged out on a laserprinter in someone's den. An extended debate was raging in the letters section about circumcision. I was thrilled to be a witness to this pyrotechnic display of something.

Eventually, I got up the stones to attend an actual gathering. It was at a Red Lion hotel bar out in the U District in Seattle. Walking into the room, I beheld . . . a bunch of husky, bearded dudes, thankfully not displaying nor discussing their uncut/cut dicks. I sat down quietly.

The first question directed my way, abruptly and before even asking my name: "Mac or PC?" (I'm really not kidding.)

After I had answered satisfactorily (PC), they rejoined their previous conversation, which was about how much Macs sucked. It eventually revealed itself that the entire group was pretty much just Boeing engineers and Microsoft goons. Oh, and there was one other guy who was pretty much just dedicated to drinking beer as fast as humanly possible and giving the other guys shit. You could tell they all hated him, but he didn't care, and they didn't have the guts to tell him to fuck off. We happened to go take a piss at the same time, and he was doing the classic two-hands-on-the-wall urinal lean. He turned to me and said, "Can you believe these fucking losers?"

I started to rethink my position on the relative coolness of being a MENSA member.
posted by Skot at 8:56 AM on April 6, 2010 [72 favorites]


shmart sharmt
posted by Skygazer at 8:56 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


sharmt sharramart
posted by Skygazer at 8:57 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


sharramert bright
posted by Skygazer at 8:57 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


These people are fuckin' morons.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:00 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


bright brit
posted by Skygazer at 9:01 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't find membership dues unusual enough to make fun of. I also don't find the "they're so smart that they're dumb" angle very interesting. Or the "nerds!" angle, either. I guess what I'm saying is that MENSA stereotypes don't amuse me very much. Probably why I've never even considered joining. I would not join any club that would have someone I couldn't easily stereotype for my own amusement for a member.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:01 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I believe in intelligence testing and so on, but agree that there's something off about MENSA. Who joins? I would like to see some hard demographics.
posted by grobstein at 9:02 AM on April 6, 2010


Yeah, I believe in intelligence testing and so on, but agree that there's something off about MENSA. Who joins?

I woods liks 2 jerns!!
posted by Skygazer at 9:03 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here ya go folks, the program for the detroit convention... a few chuckles in here.... startrek to steampunk
posted by HuronBob at 9:03 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


jerns joints
posted by Skygazer at 9:03 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Was cakefarts.com on the list?

Also, American MENSA - is that like Canadian or Mexican or Venezuelan or what? I am so confused! What do they mean by American?????
posted by Mister_A at 9:04 AM on April 6, 2010


I've been working with very smart people my whole life and never once has anyone admitted to me that they were a MENSA member.

It's a shame, because I really would want to hang out with a lot of intelligent people. Unfortunately, for reasons that seem obvious but are hard to put into words, MENSA attracts the the wrong type of intelligent people...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:04 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only point of joining MENSA seems to be the ability to casually drop into conversations that you're a member of MENSA.

I've actually never had anyone tell me they were a member of MENSA (nor am I a member myself). However, I've had many, many people tell me they could enter MENSA, but haven't or didn't. So I guess Mensa really exists for people to be superior to. How ironic.
posted by DU at 9:05 AM on April 6, 2010 [20 favorites]


I've never met a really smart person who had to talk about how unusually smart they were. If you have to explain why a joke is funny to people, it's probably not. If you have to explain to people that you're a genius....


This also applies to:

1) Individuals who constantly talk about how difficult it is to be so attractive, and how often they are told they are attractive;

2) Individuals who constantly self-identify as "leaders"
posted by availablelight at 9:06 AM on April 6, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm insecure as hell, and I'm not in Mensa. Crap!

That's because you're not insecure about being smart, you're insecure about all of your other obvious flaws and shortcomings!
posted by LooseFilter at 9:07 AM on April 6, 2010


From the link:

The Onion®

"It is funny."


Hmm. Also, seriously, MENSA dudes use Dogpile? Are these Mensites from 2002 or something?

I am so superior to these Mensiacs.
posted by Mister_A at 9:09 AM on April 6, 2010


I had an idea for a website: you know those sites that offer IQ tests for $5 or whatever? Make an official-looking site offering IQ tests for $5. Then to anyone who pays $5, display red 96 point text saying "YOU FAIL THE IQ TEST". Then keep the money.

This is how MetaFilter looks to me.
posted by brain_drain at 9:09 AM on April 6, 2010 [16 favorites]


Also--

MENSA ends up selecting for not just those who need to self-identify as literal card carrying members of some sort of IQ elite, but also for those who are ignorant enough to think that IQ tests work really well at much else than making coarse distinctions between "bright", "average", the developmentally disabled (their original purpose)...or just those good at gaming standardized tests.
posted by availablelight at 9:09 AM on April 6, 2010


Also, seriously, MENSA dudes use Dogpile? Are these Mensites from 2002 or something?

Wow. Dogpile still exists? Well, what do you know: it sure does. I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:10 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Resisting the urge to pile on Mensa, I do want to give one more shout-out to Arts and Letters Daily, which is on my daily list. It seems like about 5% of the posts I read here link to articles A&L linked to a day or two previously. (And, yes, they do have a bit of a neo-con bias, but I don't want to stay in the Alternet-Truthdig-CommonDreams swamp forever, and at least it beats Little Green Footballs.)
posted by kozad at 9:11 AM on April 6, 2010


Carl: Let's make litter out of these literati!

Lenny: That's too clever—you're one of THEM!
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:11 AM on April 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


I like all the Mensa hate here, given that MetaFilter is basically the same thing: People with diverse interests gathering together to discuss intellectual topics and news of the day.

Well...except Metafilter doesn't require a smartness test to join.* And doesn't bill itself as "the website for geniuses."


*-It divines smartness the old fashioned way, via mob.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:12 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Intelligence ≠ taste
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:13 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just realized that my comment looks a lot like some other comments earlier in thread. I wish you people could be more original instead of jut stealing my thoughts.
posted by Mister_A at 9:15 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've seen preteens on Yahoo Answers write better sentence fragments than "lots of good tips both computer and non-computer." Maybe next year they'll find a site with lots of good tips both grammar and punctuation.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:16 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Drudge Report "This is my favorite site for reading the news headlines of the hour that are the most interesting and the most important to Americans like me. It's updated hourly. The headlines are linked to news Web sites around the world. I visit the Drudge Report several times a day."

Still laughing really hard at this one
posted by threetoed at 9:21 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Drudge Report "This is my favorite site for reading the news headlines of the hour that are the most interesting and the most important to Americans like me. It's updated hourly. The headlines are linked to news Web sites around the world. I visit the Drudge Report several times a day."

I think this proves the list is actually very subtle satire.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:24 AM on April 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


What? No porn? No dates in over twelve years and still no porn?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:25 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm picturing a Tea Party protest sign:

STOP TAKING OUR MONYS PS I AM MENSA
posted by naju at 9:26 AM on April 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


From the program,
"Beer 101
[...]
Friends of Bill W"
Big tent.
posted by The White Hat at 9:27 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do you think they get together to discuss The Mismeasure of Man?
posted by elmono at 9:31 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Coming in with another vote for (in my case, the newly discovered) Arts and Letters.

Followed one of the links there to a really fascinating piece on Mosher and her research into Victorian women's sexuality.
posted by misha at 9:31 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm picturing a Tea Party protest sign:

STOP TAKING OUR MONYS PS I AM MENSA


Well, you know who else liked to boast about being a member of Mensa...
posted by saulgoodman at 9:32 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


MENSA members need Snopes?

They need it to prove to their friends that they're right. Which actually comes up a lot, for some reason...
posted by delmoi at 9:34 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well...except Metafilter doesn't require a smartness test to join.* And doesn't bill itself as "the website for geniuses."


*-It divines smartness the old fashioned way, via mob money.


ftfwhy
posted by grobstein at 9:35 AM on April 6, 2010


Wikipedia's list of high IQ societies, with their cutoff points. I'm guessing that for most of these, Mensa fulfills the function of something to be pitied.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:43 AM on April 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


They really don't make it easy on themselves do they? Do they have any other lists?

Favorite Animal

Liger (pretty much)
posted by ob at 9:45 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Snopes, Cake Wrecks, Bad Art: Aren't these sites for feeling smarter than someone else? Is that really something Mensa folks need?

Well, they act as an ego boost for their readers. Perhaps some Mensans need one. :)
posted by zarq at 9:47 AM on April 6, 2010


Not too long ago I bought a book of cryptic crosswords at a Barnes & Noble. Truth be told, I was surprised to find such a book there; as far as I could tell, it was the only book of cryptics available among the dozens of other conventional crossword books. However, the book was unfortunately titled "MENSA Cryptic Crosswords 2", with MENSA emblazoned in large letters on the cover. I always feel self-conscious when I take it anywhere with me — carrying it so that the cover isn't visible, being sure to leave it face-down on tables when I go to the restroom, and so forth. It's like, "Everyone can already tell that I'm nerdy enough to do crossword puzzles in public; why do you have to make it look like I'm a proud MENSA member as well?"

On the other hand, as a Canadian ex-pat I was delightfully surprised to find that the puzzles were Canadian as well — originally published in the National Post. I was tipped off by the clue "Anchorman's baptism Red Green ruined (5, 10)" = PETER MANSBRIDGE. So that mostly makes up for it.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:51 AM on April 6, 2010


Your average MENSA Cocktail Party?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:51 AM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


brit moron
posted by WalterMitty at 9:57 AM on April 6, 2010


You think you've got problems. I accidentally joined Menses.
posted by found missing at 10:04 AM on April 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


I could see holding your convention in Detroit if your central focus was economic decline, urban decay and random gunfire.
posted by gallois at 10:04 AM on April 6, 2010


Eventually, I got up the stones to attend an actual gathering. It was at a Red Lion hotel bar out in the U District in Seattle. Walking into the room, I beheld . . . a bunch of husky, bearded dudes, thankfully not displaying nor discussing their uncut/cut dicks.

Oh, I'm sure that most MENSA meetings come down to metaphorical dick comparing anyway. In fact, one can short cut most "intellectual discussion" by pulling out a ruler and suggesting that this can all be settled quite quickly.
posted by hippybear at 10:05 AM on April 6, 2010


I never understood the attraction of I can has a cheeseburger. It's not funny.
posted by stormpooper at 10:08 AM on April 6, 2010


Was there really a need to list their top 7 search engines?
posted by gyc at 10:15 AM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sheesh. Nothing makes me slam the command & w buttons faster than the appearance of the about.com logo.

I think Mensa is really about taking $59.00 a year from people who wish to appear smart, but are really on the cusp of not being intelligent enough to distinguish vanity when it's used to defraud them.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:20 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Smart is sexy.
posted by Danf at 10:20 AM on April 6, 2010


Yes, google maps is one of the best sites on the web, but thats like saying "map is the best book"
posted by nomad at 10:21 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I accidentally joined Menses.

How often do they meet?
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:27 AM on April 6, 2010 [11 favorites]


That was one of the singularly least interesting lists I have ever read. I'm actually stunned that they managed to put together such a bland list.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:29 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


An old colleague of mine said, "Do you know why MENSA accepts the top 2%? Because the top 1% are smart enough to know it's just a scheme to take their money."
posted by atypicalguy at 10:32 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ, did a roving band of Mensa members burn down your father's village?
What is going on here?

"I've had never met a 'card carrying MENSA member' whose intelligence I respect."
"Being in MENSA is like driving a leased Mercedes."
"it's for people with a nice-sized IQ score who are insecure"
"The only point of joining MENSA seems to be the ability to casually drop into conversations that you're a member of MENSA."
"I've been working with very smart people my whole life and never once has anyone admitted to me that they were a MENSA member."

I could look into almost any thread on almost any despised, freaky, strange or odd group of people on this site and find not only rational arguments in their favor but also quite a lot of "live and let live" posts. I'm talking about threads about extremist Christians, zoophiles, anarchists, global warming deniers, furries, you name it.

Why is it ok to hate on Mensa members??? There is an enormous amount of bile being spewed here, tarring all members of the group with a broad brush, something that rarely occurs with any other group - furthermore, many of these posts don't add anything but the poster's opinion that all Mensa members are bad and should feel bad. Seriously, I don't get it!

And at least learn to spell it correctly, it's Mensa, not all-caps-scream MENSA!!!111oneooneone!
posted by PontifexPrimus at 10:37 AM on April 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


And another thing! Darth Mensidious was the worst new jack Star Wars "Darth" person ever!
posted by Mister_A at 10:44 AM on April 6, 2010


Mensa taught me everything I will ever need to know about 70's folk and prog-rock. I stayed in it for a few years because of the Special Interest Groups (regular postal newsletters which felt like Usenet before the internet invaded our homes), and trips to amusement parks with other 'gifted' children (I was 12, and went to an all boys school - so the opportunity to meet actual girls was DEFINITELY worth the membership fee).

I left the fold at about the time I started growing proper facial hair, as the adult side of it just seemed dull, with the exception of Carol Vorderman (before she sold out to the financial voice over industry).
posted by BishopsLoveScifi at 10:47 AM on April 6, 2010


Jesus Christ, did a roving band of Mensa members burn down your father's village?

I'll just ask you this once to be respectful when talking about The Incident.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:48 AM on April 6, 2010 [26 favorites]


Yeah, I think that Mensa would be great for intelligent kids.
posted by No Robots at 10:50 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mensa was a neat thing, back in the day. My father was a member, and there were a lot of really interesting people who showed up at the meetings. Yeah, there were jerks, and some elitism, but it was sort of an early Internet, a way of meeting highly verbal people whose brains actually worked. One of the observations I came away with, as a teenager, was that intelligence doesn't change you. It just makes you more of what you naturally are.

Pre-Internet, this was a wonderful way to run into local people that really stood out. Getting a result in the upper 2% of intelligence tests meant something. You were kind of a big fish in a small pond. But post-Internet, it's sort of pointless. The entire English-speaking Net is very large pond, indeed.

All that said, I don't think there's much actual intelligence on display in this thread, just more elitism of the exact same kind many of you are so vociferously deriding. They're picking out the fifty most popular web sites, and that means that the least common denominators will bubble to the top. Oddball super-intellectual sites like 3quarksdaily just aren't going to appeal to a broad cross-section of ANY large community, no matter how smart they might otherwise be.

A lot of you, up in this thread, should be a little bit ashamed.

I will admit to scorn for the Drudge Report, however. Yuck.
posted by Malor at 10:50 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm talking about threads about extremist Christians, zoophiles, anarchists, global warming deniers, furries, you name it.

Juggalos love Dogpile. Discuss.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:50 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Something tells me the MENSA / Libertarian overlap is pretty severe.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:54 AM on April 6, 2010


I could look into almost any thread on almost any despised, freaky, strange or odd group of people on this site and find not only rational arguments in their favor but also quite a lot of "live and let live" posts. I'm talking about threads about extremist Christians, zoophiles, anarchists, global warming deniers, furries, you name it.

Why is it ok to hate on Mensa members??? There is an enormous amount of bile being spewed here, tarring all members of the group with a broad brush, something that rarely occurs with any other group - furthermore, many of these posts don't add anything but the poster's opinion that all Mensa members are bad and should feel bad. Seriously, I don't get it!


I'd like to think a Mensa member would be smart enough to recognize that the above comment makes the always hilarious error of ignoring itself.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:55 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


In a pre-wired world, the life of a Mensa member must have been a constant struggle. Imagine being the only person in your town in the 70's who had read the OT in the original ancient Greek, preferred to watch Bergman films without the hassle of subtitles, or could recite Pi to 48 digits! Consider the poor men and women who were forced to work alongside people who had to write down math problems to solve them! How lonely, to be the sole member of your book club with a PhD in Comparative Literature!
posted by mkultra at 10:57 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Something tells me the MENSA / Libertarian overlap is pretty severe.

YOU'RE SPELLING IT WRONG.
posted by Brak at 10:57 AM on April 6, 2010


Wikipedia's list of high IQ societies, with their cutoff points. I'm guessing that for most of these, Mensa fulfills the function of something to be pitied.


Wow, if you go up high enough, those get kind of weird.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:01 AM on April 6, 2010


This is akin to high school hating on the AV club. Stay classy (and mature), Metafilter.

And really, you're snarking because an organization has a membership fee?

This thread is not deleted because...?
posted by Brocktoon at 11:02 AM on April 6, 2010


I can't speak for everyone, but I find the idea of an organization that discriminates based on a most worthless and culturally biased metric a little bit repulsive.

Every time someone I know has mentioned to me that they were in Mensa, it was by way of proving to people they were intelligent when someone questioned them about something or other.

I've just never found people that are high iq and that think of that as something that makes you worthwhile in and of itself to be good company.
posted by empath at 11:04 AM on April 6, 2010


> moron

moran
posted by Skygazer at 11:05 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't join a club that wouldn't let in people under 6 feet tall, either. Iq is an accident of birth, get over yourself.
posted by empath at 11:06 AM on April 6, 2010


There are all kinds of sports organizations for people who possess certain physical traits. Why the alarm over organizations for those who share certain intellectual traits?
posted by No Robots at 11:07 AM on April 6, 2010


I'm getting that Metalicious feeling...
posted by Skygazer at 11:10 AM on April 6, 2010


MENSA IS WRONG AND IF YOU DEFEND IT I WILL ENTOMB YOU IN CHEESE.
posted by Mister_A at 11:16 AM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


"I've been working with very smart people my whole life and never once has anyone admitted to me that they were a MENSA member."

Anecdotal, I know, but I have met one or two people who let the fact slip in casual conversation, and they were, in fact, boorish, insecure social misfits. Not that those people don't need something to belong to, but don't mind if I don't sign up.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:17 AM on April 6, 2010


Being in a chess club might mean that you interact with a lot of smart people, but i don't think that most of them when bar membership from people who aren't good at the game. In fact, I think most chess clubs are happy to teach players.

I think most gyms are also happy to take in a 98 pound weakling, and they aren't going to ban you if you can't deadlift 200 lbs.

By definition, Mensa is going to bar 98% of the population, which is going to exclude almost every single person that I've learned something valuable from. While at the same time, not being particularly appealing to anyone I've known who qualifies for it.
posted by empath at 11:19 AM on April 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, seriously, eleventy comments in and no one has said "MensaFilter?"
posted by Mister_A at 11:19 AM on April 6, 2010


Yeah, empath, that's a fair cop about the rather arbitrary standard of exclusion.
posted by No Robots at 11:21 AM on April 6, 2010


Every time someone I know has mentioned to me that they were in Mensa, it was by way of proving to people they were intelligent when someone questioned them about something or other.

Exactly. It's not a way of proving that you actually have clarity of thought, or can make convincing arguments, or whatnot. It proves that you're able to score in the top 2% of a battery of tests which are designed to show how well you do on that kind of test. Yet MENSA members use their membership as some kind of final arbitration as to whether they should be listened to or not.

I've know MENSA members who were utterly incapable of any actual creative synthesis on the fly, yet who insisted that their own narrow opinion about Movie X or Book Y be somehow taken as gospel simply because of their membership in MENSA. I don't think that's what the organization exists for, actually. Well, not what it was founded for, anyway.
posted by hippybear at 11:22 AM on April 6, 2010


of course my experience of mensa members might very well be colored by the two or three insecure big mouths who loved to talk about being in Mensa that I've known and maybe there are a lot of quiet Mensa members out there who are nice people and just never bring it up.
posted by empath at 11:23 AM on April 6, 2010


I take offense to this.
I'm a "boorish, insecure social misfit" and I would NEVER join Mensa. Give us boors a little credit here.

Not to pick on your definition, Devils Rancher, just the closest one at hand.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:27 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


PontifexPrimus: “Why is it ok to hate on Mensa members??? There is an enormous amount of bile being spewed here, tarring all members of the group with a broad brush, something that rarely occurs with any other group - furthermore, many of these posts don't add anything but the poster's opinion that all Mensa members are bad and should feel bad. Seriously, I don't get it!”

It's an organization based on narcissism. What the hell did you expect?
posted by koeselitz at 11:34 AM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


Haven't we had enough of the point-and-laugh bullshit? You are not superior to Mensa members because you can spout some vitriol on Metafilter.
posted by Malor at 11:39 AM on April 6, 2010


"It all poured out - the whole story. Central Park West upbringing, Socialist summer camps, Brandeis. She was every dame you saw waiting in line at the Elgin or the Thalia, or penciling the words 'Yes, very true' into the margin of some book on Kant. Only somewhere along the line she had made a wrong turn."
posted by chavenet at 11:41 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Lemurrhea: "I take offense to this.
I'm a "boorish, insecure social misfit" and I would NEVER join Mensa. Give us boors a little credit here.
"

Agreed! Also, "boorish, insecure social misfit" is so going on my business cards.
posted by giraffe at 11:42 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why the Mensa hate? Let's see. I judge intelligence by a few things: has the person said something that makes me think, or look at things in the different way? Have they told me something about what is outside my experience and helped me to understand it? Do they have particular insight into the ways people behave? Perhaps they've read more than me: can they talk about those books and help me understand what they saw in them? Do they have ways of seeing things that are original and useful? Do they think about stuff in general?

Nowhere on that list is an IQ test. Nowhere is there a section for self-aggrandizement based on thinking that you're smarter than anyone else, or room for people who think they are hugely intelligent, and better than 98% of the population, when they are really just well educated. I spend my days around Computer Science PhDs, and in five years I have never heard a single mention of the word Mensa.

tl;dr: An high score on an IQ test is not an accomplishment, so don't act like it is, or makes you superior in any way.
posted by jokeefe at 11:46 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, American MENSA - is that like Canadian or Mexican or Venezuelan or what? I am so confused! What do they mean by American?????

Oh, that's simple. Right now there's 0.99988 Canadian Mensa Members to the American Mensa Member.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:47 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Test scores which qualify someone for Mensa

It looks like they've managed to take off the list all the tests which most people take, under the justification that they're no longer comparable to an IQ test.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:47 AM on April 6, 2010


BoingBoing: a few chuckles in here.... startrek to steampunk
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:49 AM on April 6, 2010


MetaFilter: a lot of you... should be a little bit ashamed

*and now I'm a little bit ashamed*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:58 AM on April 6, 2010


LATRINE - The new exclusive society for the lot of you who feel a little bit ashamed.
posted by carsonb at 12:01 PM on April 6, 2010


(USD55.16 annual fee)
posted by carsonb at 12:02 PM on April 6, 2010


Not to pick on your definition, Devils Rancher, just the closest one at hand.

I was referring specifically to the very limited set of [Mensa members I have actually met who have brought up their Mensa membership in casual conversation] which as I said above, is most likely two. I'll go away now, though. All alone. By myself, with no friends -- over here -- a little bit ashamed. *Waves* in that Patti Smith Wave kind of way. It's... nothing... I'm clumsy.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:14 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Malor: Haven't we had enough of the point-and-laugh bullshit? You are not superior to Mensa members because you can spout some vitriol on Metafilter.

Agreed. I like to think of myself as superior to Mensa members in spite of the vitriol I spout here.
posted by mkultra at 12:19 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel I'm superior to Mensa members by virtue of my inclusion in Who's Who.
posted by found missing at 12:23 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


l33tpolicywonk: Hey, I could be a Mensa! Maybe I am one and don't even know it!
posted by Mister_A at 12:23 PM on April 6, 2010


Has anyone tried going to "The Smart Life?" It was one of the few sites new to me that looked like it had potential. It is invite only:

"A place for smartfolk to get to know each other, & share our smart lore. Adult members of high IQ groups like Mensa & invited friends only."

posted by Brodiggitty at 12:26 PM on April 6, 2010


Nthing everyone above who cites the baseless self-aggrandizement and narcissism as grounds for snark. The group's exclusionary nature makes the whole endeavor seem like a haven for assholes. Let 'em have it!

My own contribution to the lulz (with thanks to huronbob for the link to the program above):

Ask the Sexologists
by Robert Berend, JD, Ph.D. , Lisa Berend, R.N.
The audience decides the direction of our presentation. We take questions---raise your hand or write it anonymously on a piece of paper. We're glad to discuss any aspects of sexuality that you're wondering about.



Heh. Nothing to add, the jokes write themselves.
posted by barrett caulk at 12:29 PM on April 6, 2010


Mensa is for people who know they're smart despite the fact they can't do anything smart.

It's a kind of sheltered workshop.
posted by jamjam at 12:32 PM on April 6, 2010


"Eventually, I got up the stones to attend an actual gathering. It was at a Red Lion hotel bar out in the U District in Seattle." ... "Oh, and there was one other guy who was pretty much just dedicated to drinking beer as fast as humanly possible and giving the other guys shit."

Oh, so you've met my ex-boyfriend! (Seriously, that sounds just like him, what did he look like?)

I used to go to the Seattle Mensa meetings. In my experience, Mensa is a good social outlet for over-intelligent under-achievers who otherwise don't encounter any smart people in their day-to-day lives. Not everyone with a high IQ comes from an upper-middle-class background, goes to a good school, and enters a professional career.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:44 PM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


How I Joined Mensa - Steve Martin:
Joining Mensa means that you are a genius, and enables you to meet other members who will undrestand what the hell you are talking about when you say, for example, "That lamppost is tawdry." That's the kind of person they're after. Joining Mensa instills in one a courtly benevolence toward nonmembers, who would pretend to know what you know, think what you think, and stultify what you perambulate.

I worried about the arbitrary 132 cut-off point, until I met someone with an I.Q. of 131 and, honestly, he was a bit slow on the uptake.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:45 PM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wonder if the MENSA folks ever get together with the gents from NAMBLA for a friendly game of softball. And if so, what does their on-field chatter sound like?
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:46 PM on April 6, 2010


I once got into a nerdy and heated discussion with someone about whether it was possible to have a negative IQ. By the standards of the Weschler or Stanford-Binet scales, such a person would be between six and seven standard deviations below average. This would be less than one in a billion persons. But - since there are enough persons in (for example) permanent vegetative states who can exhibit no responses to intelligence assessment, I would argue such a group would be too large to create a set below zero. They would form a wall to the normal distribution.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:47 PM on April 6, 2010


Nthing everyone above who cites the baseless self-aggrandizement and narcissism as grounds for snark.

Quite honestly, I simply don't have anything better to do.
posted by Brak at 12:49 PM on April 6, 2010


Naturally, The Onion: "It is funny." made the grade, being all pithy and insightful and shit.

Here are some of the blurbs that ended up on the cutting room floor...

HowStuffWorks: "It shows how stuff works."

Astronomy Picture of the Day: "Every single day, this "web"® site (known amongst the tech-savvy as a "Web-page"®) shows a picture. That picture is astronomy-themed. A different one comes out every day."

IMDb: "All four of these letters (and often many others) are on nearly every page of IMDb!"

Dogpile: "I found Dogpile to be a fantastic resource when I was polishing up my dissertation concerning aggregations of Canis lupus familiaris. Actually, I was just fucking with you. Come on, even Mensans haven't used Dogpile since 1998."
posted by captnkurt at 1:02 PM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow - the mention of Mensa has struck a nerve here.

I used to belong to Mensa. I didn't find it fun or interesting enough to continue with my membership. I have mentioned my membership in conversation, but never to trump anyone in debate or discredit them. I haven't seen other Mensa members do this either, but I haven't met them all of them or even most of them. So, in fairness, I'm not as familiar with the Mensa membership as many of the contributors to this thread apparently are...

I've participated in conversations on the forums of the Mensa web site and I've never seen blind (or semi-blind) bias against any group or non-members in general. I've never seen anything close to what I'm seeing here.

Here's the deal: Mensa members aren't sitting around putting you down or pumping themselves up. I'm sure there are some arrogant or insecure members of Mensa, but after reading this thread, it's clear that some MeFites have these issues too.
posted by 27 at 1:06 PM on April 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Bob Newhart episode where Emily joins Mensa and they go to a meeting and everybody is condescending to Bob is great--it's even better than the one where Jerry and Howard both got the hots for the same girl.
posted by bukvich at 1:15 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


In a pre-wired world, the life of a Mensa member must have been a constant struggle. Imagine being the only person in your town in the 70's who had read the OT in the original ancient Greek

Um, yeah...the OT was originally written in Hebrew, with small portions in Aramaic. It wasn't widely translated into Greek until the Septuagint, starting in the 3rd Century B.C.E.

I'm sorry you didn't get into Mensa.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:20 PM on April 6, 2010 [10 favorites]


27: “Here's the deal: Mensa members aren't sitting around putting you down or pumping themselves up.”

Er - what's the point of Mensa, then? The prerequisite for joining a bowling league is that you enjoy bowling, because a bowling league is about bowling. The prerequisite for joining a book club is being interested in books, because a book club is about reading books. The prerequisite for joining Mensa is being smarter than other people; so what am I supposed to think Mensa is about? Knitting sweaters with cute designs on them?
posted by koeselitz at 1:22 PM on April 6, 2010


My sister joined (UK) MENSA for a year. I thought about doing so too, until the first members' magazine arrived. Apart from a few entertaining puzzles, all the content was predicated on the idea that admission to MENSA relieved the writer of any future requirement to employ critical thinking.

We also attended a social event, where I was informed that pointing out a faulty syllogism constituted an attempt to 'drag other people down to (my) level' and that formal logic is 'a crutch for people who aren't able to think on their own'. If I were to join MENSA (which I was assured was an impossibility) then I would surely be expelled by other members if I dared to expound such a pernicious doctrine.

While perhaps not typical, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that ongoing membership appeals mainly to people who have intelligence but are unwilling to put in the further effort to apply it. Maybe it's different for members who join the various special interest groups and focus their abilities on a particular topic other than themselves.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:26 PM on April 6, 2010


And, here, I'll admit that I was a Mensa member for a few years in the early 90's. I think that if you were in the right city, it was worthwhile, pre-Internet. If you were a bright person who didn't work in a setting with a lot of other intellectual types and you were finished with college, Mensa was the most obvious option for meeting some nearby people for intelligent conversation. I didn't mess with any of the national or even regional events, but there was enough going on locally (I was in Houston) to have a lot of options for special interest groups to meet up. I attended a group that was reading through philosophical works together and I think another was into obscure (by Monopoly standards) board games. It was better than watching ER reruns at home.

Then I got online in '95 or so, and went to grad school in '96 and let my membership lapse. Between decent online forums and sites like meetup.com, I think there are better options now for what I wanted than joining Mensa. But there might not have been in '94.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:28 PM on April 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'll give them this--my local Mensa chapter's input was invaluable when I was polishing my dissertation on cat declawing.
posted by applemeat at 1:29 PM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


sooo much hate in this thread...jebus. has anyone stopped for a even a second to think what the most popular websites of americans with average iq would read like? i imagine there would be a lot more AOL and nascar and myspace and TVguide...would edmunds scientifics even be in the top 1000? doubt it.

also, can you really argue with #1 on the list?
posted by sexyrobot at 1:31 PM on April 6, 2010


sexyrobot: “sooo much hate in this thread...jebus.”

Look, this word "hate" - I think you and I mean something different by it. I don't like hatred, and I wouldn't want to see hatred thrown around too much.

What's happened here? Largely, some good-natured needling. I think Mensa is a silly organization, and I'm going to say it. I don't think everybody who's ever been a Mensa member is a boor, or a cad, or a silly self-indulgent prattler, but I do think the concept of Mensa is a bit narcissistic. Mostly, I'd like to hear a defense of Mensa's aims, although obviously nobody's required to give one.

Whatever. I don't hate Mensa, I just generally disregard it. But, again - if you base an entire organization on the fact that its members have higher IQs than most people, what were you expecting from those explicitly barred? Adulation? This is just the price of exclusivity.

And if you want to see actual internet hate, head over here and tell 'em L Ron Hubbard sent you.
posted by koeselitz at 1:40 PM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can argue with or about anything, sexyrobot.
posted by Mister_A at 1:42 PM on April 6, 2010


koeselitz: Er - what's the point of Mensa, then?

From the front page of the Mensa web site:

Mensa, the high IQ society, provides a forum for intellectual exchange among its members. There are members in more than 100 countries around the world.

Activities include the exchange of ideas through lectures, discussions, journals, special-interest groups, and local, regional, national and international gatherings; the investigations of members' opinions and attitudes; and assistance to researchers, inside and outside Mensa, in projects dealing with intelligence or Mensa.


There you have it. Nothing more, nothing less. Everyone can relax now. Nothing about shitting on non-members or telling each other how smart they are.

And, if you replace "Mensa" with "MetaFilter", the description almost perfectly fits the MeFi community. I've been a reader and then a participant on MetaFilter much longer than I was a member of Mensa. I can tell you firsthand that there are far more people on MetaFilter putting people down and trying to prove how smart they are than there are in Mensa... by a country mile.
posted by 27 at 1:43 PM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pater Aletheias: Um, yeah...the OT was originally written in Hebrew, with small portions in Aramaic. It wasn't widely translated into Greek until the Septuagint, starting in the 3rd Century B.C.E.

You fell into my trap! Real Mensans know that the OT was originally written in Klingon.
posted by mkultra at 1:44 PM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


STOP THE MENSANITY!




This message brought to you by BlinkTag®. When you need to make shit blink, think BlinkTag®!
posted by Mister_A at 1:47 PM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


sexyrobot, the "#1 on the list" was the first item alphabetically in the first category alphabetically. With different category names, About.com could have been "#1 on the list".

And I see very little hate here, just a big LOLMENSA directed at an organization that is elitist by design putting out a list of sites LESS smart than Time Magazine's Top 50. If this is the quality of "intellectual exchange among its members", then, yes, MetaFilter is indeed a superior group of people and we should be damned proud of it.

Which raises the question... what if MetaFilter did a poll of its membership of OUR favorite websites? I'm sure that would be an interesting list with a lot of Obvious Suspects, quite a few good Discoveries and a generally higher quality of Guilty Pleasures.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:54 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


A lot of these sites are just obvious, really. For all the mocking the inclusion of The Onion, it's still been linked to enough from here that we must think it's pretty good in some way. We're kind of in the position of jaded connoisseurs of websites here, it's not surprising that Mensa members would have more roughly mainstream and lame tastes compared to us. Same goes for I Can Has Cheezburger.

But Kevin and Kell? I notice it isn't even named correctly.
posted by JHarris at 1:59 PM on April 6, 2010


While perhaps not typical, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that ongoing membership appeals mainly to people who have intelligence but are unwilling to put in the further effort to apply it.

Actually, I think it's really easy to avoid that conclusion.

We've had this discussion about Mensa before. Several times, in fact. And though I am not exactly a cheerleader for my local Mensa chapter--I was a member for about a year, quit before paying dues again--I hardly think it deserves all the vitriol it gets here.

Yes, Mensa probably does appeal to individual insecurities. How many threads have we had here on AskMe from posters desperate to meet people in a strange city? Mensa is one group that meets that need. It can be an appealing option to those who live in rural areas where there isn't much to do locally. That's what drew me to it, honestly, when my husband, an engineer, relocated here 19 years ago. At the time, we had one bookstore, one movie theater and little else to stave off the boredom and loneliness. Newly married and away from my family for the first time, I had little in common with the only people we met that first year, most of them engineers, too.

Yes, Mensa is elitist, with its entry requirements, and that's as good a reason as any to refrain from joining the club. My experience with the local chapter ended up being less than satisfactory for a number of reasons.

But Jeez, all the anti-intellectual rhetoric in here is starting to sound like a Sarah Palin rally.
posted by misha at 2:03 PM on April 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


When I think of Mensa I am immediately reminded of Dorothy's new friend. Possibly says more about me than about Mensa.
posted by applemeat at 2:04 PM on April 6, 2010


misha: How many threads have we had here on AskMe from posters desperate to meet people in a strange city?

Actually, most of those tend to show up on MetaTalk. And the responses tend to gravitate more toward "Woo, Meetup!" than "... and your IQ is?".

misha: Newly married and away from my family for the first time, I had little in common with the only people we met that first year, most of them engineers, too.

I don't understand this. Are you saying that the other engineers were not up to your intellectual snuff? Or that they were boring people? Because I'm confused about the part where having an arbitrarily high IQ makes you any more interesting than them.
posted by mkultra at 2:17 PM on April 6, 2010


it's not surprising that Mensa members would have more roughly mainstream and lame tastes compared to us

They didn't publish their exact methodology or data (for shame!) but the blurb states that 280 sites were whittled down to 100 then 50, with votes being "cast and recast".

This suggests to me that the final list is more of a lowest common denominator than anything else.

My best guess from what's described would be that the top 100 from the original list were put up for a second vote to find out which 50 were the most commonly acceptable to the voting pool.

Without knowing exactly how many members participated in the voting, I'd nevertheless suggest that the methodology would allow a site to make the round-of-100 with a primary vote of possibly no more than a small handful of votes. From there, making the 50 would be largely a matter of whether or not the site in question is simply familiar to the members or not, so I doubt that their methodology produces meaningful results at all.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:18 PM on April 6, 2010


I met a fantastic group of Mensa folks last year at Burning Man, of all places. They had an entire theme camp, the Shack of Sit, populated by Mensa members from around the country. Their camp provided cold water and a shady spot to sit for any passersby who felt the need for some refreshment or relaxation. In the late afternoon the sun was so hot that you could just about feel your spleen being slowly roasted inside of you. Their camp must have had close to 1000 square feet of shade structures, so don't try to tell me that Mensa members aren't at least kinda smart.

Throughout the week I had some great conversations with some incredibly intelligent and interesting people and by the time I got home, based solely on my brief but delightful time spent at the Shack of Sit, I couldn't think of a good reason not to join Mensa.

Obviously this was a small subset of Mensa members as a whole, but maybe its worth noting before we continue painting them with the broad brush of arrogance, narcissism, and insecurity.
posted by theBigKahuna at 2:32 PM on April 6, 2010 [10 favorites]


lol... well yeah, IQ is a culturally based artifact. Hence, strange, culturally loaded websites are selected.
I like the Idea of Fensa.. they use fencing swords to protect the isle of Genious . :)

Yeah, no, I love Mensa and all that they do stand for/with... but SERIOUSLY? You linked to Bing, Google, and Yahoos? Who do you think you are serving MENSA? the Average society?

This was a bad idea... because obviously, none of these websites have anything to do with the mission/goals of Mensa; they are just things that interest Mensa members who happened to took the quiz.
Bears in mind that know doubt who your target audience's. People will unevitably be misrepresented or mismeasured, when you measure only sertain things, in sertain ways!


But, um, could you not have linked to this for help searching?
-Between this, and Mattell allowing proper nouns into scrabble... what hope do we have for the future?

I figured it out!! This is an EXTREMELY clever take down of the idea of the IQ... just like this SMALL SAMPLING of loaded questions (what websites do you like and Why) is a MISMEASURE of the Mensa members... so too is the IQ in the first place!! Thank you Mensa, you are indeed clever in your self-subversive clever tactics. (I'm not in the slightest saying Mensa members aren't smart... I am simply saying so to are many people smart, who have been measured inaccurately.)
posted by infinite intimation at 2:48 PM on April 6, 2010


C:/DOS C:/DOS/RUN RUN/DOS/RUN
posted by kirkaracha at 2:49 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't see much anti-intellectualism here. I see skepticism about Mensa as a source of intellectual interactions, based on a stereotype that Mensa members are stunted emotionally or socially.

If you Mensa members are going to be insulted, do please try to pay attention to the insults that are being directed toward you.

Also, that stereotype about Mensa members does seem a bit unfair. It does match my experience, but that is anecdotal, and is not a large sample size.
posted by dglynn at 3:02 PM on April 6, 2010


I took the test about twenty years ago, both because I had heard good things about Mensa from my first net.friend on usenet (who lived in Juneau and found the social element invaluable), but also because it appealed to my curiousity and my youthful mix of arrogance and insecurity (my superiority complex has inferiority issues, or possibly vice versa).

I did well enough (the Raven Progressive Matrices test, which is largely culture free) to get in. In the end, though, I decided not to join, partly because I was too poor a student at the time, partly because I was, even then, acutely aware of the social stigma that Mensa bears as evidenced by this thread, but mostly because of the terrifying potential future represented by the guy who administered the test, who had a fat cockatoo which would walk up his enormous beard and peck at various large, soupy bits that had become ensconsed within,
posted by Sparx at 3:03 PM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


The premise of an arbitrary intelligence cutoff point is indefensible, and people who subscribe to it in the form of an exclusive club are in my mind silly silly people. Still, very funny to see Mensa defended against the "vitriol". More please!
posted by found missing at 3:08 PM on April 6, 2010


And, if you replace "Mensa" with "MetaFilter", the description almost perfectly fits the MeFi community.

Metafilter requires nothing more than 5.00 (SAIT) to join. Once on Mefi, the quality of your posts and comments, and how you interact on the site are all that matters. Nobody asks you to take a (highly flawed) test and then bases your membership on the number you got when you finished it. I could go on, but you get the idea. Obviously I have nothing against like-minded people getting together for intellectual discussion or what have you; I have everything against this kind of weird entrance bar.
posted by jokeefe at 3:13 PM on April 6, 2010


I don't understand this. Are you saying that the other engineers were not up to your intellectual snuff? Or that they were boring people? Because I'm confused about the part where having an arbitrarily high IQ makes you any more interesting than them.

mkultra, I'm saying that I'm not an engineer, and so didn't have much in common with them. I don't know of any engineers that I would consider "not up to my intellectual snuff," as you put it.
posted by misha at 3:15 PM on April 6, 2010


jokeefe: If you don't have any problem with "like-minded people getting together for intellectual discussion or what have you", then just leave it there and move on. Because that's all that's going on with Mensa. The entrance criteria isn't weird, you just don't like it.
posted by 27 at 3:31 PM on April 6, 2010


yeah, sorry, not anti-intellectual, nor anti-Mensa here; growing up, I would read a "practice to become like Mensa" quiz book, and I found it to be great for understanding logic questions, and various world facts, and similar "learning about thinking" activities... my comments were limited to the context of this particular "best websites of Mensa" idea... which, like others described, are neither "best websites", nor "favorites of Mensa". (I think many reactions here are simply expressing surprise that a list of 'measurably' Intelligent people could have the WHOLE WORLDWIDE INTERNETS to choose from... and yet come up with a list claiming to be "Best of...", which is in fact so tepid.

Show me a real Mensa member who will defend this list (some of the links, and the comments on them [from the website] actually seem anti-intellectual if anything...
posted by infinite intimation at 3:51 PM on April 6, 2010


I'm surprised they went with KUSC for classical music, WQED in Pittsburgh is much nerdier, and all their shows are narrated with smarmy over-educated lilts.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:53 PM on April 6, 2010


jokeefe: If you don't have any problem with "like-minded people getting together for intellectual discussion or what have you", then just leave it there and move on. Because that's all that's going on with Mensa. The entrance criteria isn't weird, you just don't like it.

27, my issue is with the entrance requirement itself. Groups of truly intelligent and creative people don't need to huddle under a tent where they're trying to attract new members through such arbitrary filters. They find each other through the intelligent and creative things they are doing. No IQ test required.
posted by jokeefe at 3:57 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suck at IQ tests. I'm going to start a high-EQ society. We're all gonna get together in Maui every year and be fucking awesome and friendly to everybody and totally sweet to talk to - we'll stay up all night inventing new ways to party and make people feel good about themselves.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:58 PM on April 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


omg we'll call it friendsa.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:59 PM on April 6, 2010 [7 favorites]


better WQED link
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:10 PM on April 6, 2010


Hey BB, sign me up!
posted by jokeefe at 4:19 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


The link to "the smart life" is described this way; "Very Mensa-oriented and Mensa-friendly, consistently fresh content, substantive discussions, occasionally fun and whimsical and silly. Very good needle into the vein of “smart content” constantly running just under the surface of popular culture."

I am starting to see a persecution complex.
Maybe I should remove my gaze from their website.

From the list... I am seeing a strong trend that whoever participated in this web survey list VALUE highly "silly" and "downright silly" (BoingBoing) very highly (I'm with them here, in the need for light content, because it takes away the stress of the real issues).

But I also LOVE intellectual discussions... I just feel obliged to question and examine them critically when they are held behind closed doors, or in private tents, or don't include people who don't perform well on that kind of test (and you can blame yourself Mensa, for teaching me to think in this manner, critical, finding flaws, only so that they may be improved... Examining reality in the cold hard vacuum that is pure logic and reason).

I would love it if I was not allowed to wear my glasses to help me read when doing a similar test (this hypothetical being similar to the "tied hands" and disadvantages observed by people who might not have books in the home from a young age, or the many and varied other reasons why some people don't perform as well as others on such tests.

Sorry Baby_Balrog... Me and Fensa (the previously mentioned group of people using Fencing skills to protect our Eggos) may have to sue you. Unless you want to let us join as protector guards or something...

All that said, I am probably just jealous and feeling left out.
Has anyone ever tried to breed two Mensa members in Captivity?
Hence, Metafilter: It's Mensa for people who have five bucks, and two cents.
posted by infinite intimation at 4:36 PM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ohh, wait, this isn't a discussion about NASA and how to stop the government socialist-fascist takeover of the "Private Spaceflight Industry"??

I guess we should just back away slowly then. note to self for future reference, no matter how similar they are to say; NASA ≠ Mensa.
posted by infinite intimation at 4:49 PM on April 6, 2010


man fuck mensa and all it's members. you're so socially awkward and obsessed with your inflated sense of your own intelligence that you feel it necessary to become a card cary-ing smart person... i'm sure pulling out your stupid fucking iq card impresses the shit out of the other bloated ego douchebags during your intellectual circle jerks. actually, i'm glad people like you gather in one place, it helps the rest of the world avoid you.
posted by nathancaswell at 4:54 PM on April 6, 2010


Good comment, nathancaswell. You're seem like a good guy. Not socially awkward or angry at all.

Is there a place that you gather, so I can avoid you?
posted by 27 at 5:07 PM on April 6, 2010


See, they don't like MENSA the organization, which is why they are stereotyping all MENSA members and barfing anecdotal evidence everywhere. Don't you get it?! Not high functioning enough for you?! Sheesh!
posted by Brocktoon at 5:52 PM on April 6, 2010


I think what vaguely bothers me about Mensa (not that I've thought too much about this, honestly) is the immutable criteria for membership. I can't think of many other social groups that rejects an interested applicant simply because he or she fails to meet a certain arbitrary physical or mental quality. As mentioned upthread, bowling leagues are usually happy to have a novice bowler, and likewise for other sports teams or groups. Churches welcome non-believers (in the hopes that they can convert them), and I suppose if you really wanted to be a Knight of Columbus or a Mormon bishop or whatever, you simply need to profess the required articles of faith. The DNC or RNC or other political parties will gladly take your membership fee and welcome you to their meetings, regardless of your stated political leanings. NOW (National Organization for Women) admits men, and while I'm a little reluctant to even google the men's rights groups, I bet that they won't turn away the distaff mefite who wants to join.

Amazingly enough, there's even been a black member of the KKK (although he was apparently never in direct contact with any Klansmen) and a white member of the Nation of Islam.

OK, a moment's thought has led me to two counter-examples: Sons of Confederate Veterans (requiring members to be both male and descended from a Confederate soldier) and the Daughters of the American Revolution (likewise). And I grant that our rights of free assemby allow us to employ whatever restrictive criteria we choose.

But I don't know, there's just something about these groups (MENSA, SCV, DAR, etc) that has that elitist flavor which is contrary to our generally egalitarian society and morals.
posted by math at 6:37 PM on April 6, 2010


Two things:

the idea that being anti-Mensa equates to being anti intellectual is hilarious. Iq has nothing to do with being intellectual.

Secondly, the idea that anti Mensa people are just sour grapes because they couldn't get in is offensive. For the record, I've scored 99th percentile in every standardized test I've ever taken.

I've been 'the smartest guy in the room' for as long as I can remember, and I don't need a card to prove that, or to know that that plus a dollar will get you a cup of coffee in the real world.

What matters is how you apply your intelligence and how you treat other people, and in my experience, mensans don't do well at either.

Some of the best people I've worked with in IT have been people who I consider to be a little bit slow on the uptake, but they're thorough and pay attention, while some of the worst have been the smart guys who assume they know more than you and jump ahead and skip steps.

As far as friendships and relationships go, I'd put high iq low, low low on the list of priorities, well after stuff like decency and sense of humor.

I just don't think iq is a valuable measure of people's worth and I don't think well of people who do.
posted by empath at 6:56 PM on April 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


For people simultaneously complaining about both the arbitrary IQ cutoff and that IQ tests don't really test intelligence, well then, doesn't it stand to reason that anyone who really wanted to get in could just study/practice whatever it is IQ tests are really testing and then score high enough on the test to join?
posted by Jacqueline at 7:07 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to think that one of the reasons people react badly to Mensa members is because the only way you usually know someone is in Mensa is because they've told you. And the kind of person who feels the need to tell you that they are in Mensa (unless it is germane to the conversation you were having) probably is an insecure type with less than optimal social skills. But "the people who have told you that they are in Mensa" does not equal "Mensa members in general."
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:08 PM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


As Marx once said: I wouldn't belong to any bourgeois club that would have me as a member.
posted by rdone at 7:22 PM on April 6, 2010


the idea that anti Mensa people are just sour grapes because they couldn't get in is offensive. For the record, I've scored 99th percentile in every standardized test I've ever taken.

Heh - I've always been vaguely anti-Mensa precisely because I could've gotten in...when I did an application test just out of interest at around age 9. The fact that a kid could get in instantly made me think very little of the organisation.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:33 PM on April 6, 2010


cmart smarrt

smarrt shmart

It became progressively harder to keep from laughing as I saw these keep popping up through the thread. skygazer wins an internet.
posted by spitefulcrow at 7:33 PM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


empath: For the record, I've scored 99th percentile in every standardized test I've ever taken.

...I've been 'the smartest guy in the room' for as long as I can remember...


So, you're obviously bright and you have the arrogance, insecurity, and lack of social skills to blurt it out... Are you sure you're not in Mensa?

And if you're not, do I get to claim that all MeFites are arrogant, insecure, and lack social skills because of your comment?

;-)
posted by 27 at 8:49 PM on April 6, 2010


Well wha'd'ya know, them smart folk just can't take a joke. Well go easy on them, they were born that way. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
posted by sammyo at 9:04 PM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


koeselitz: "so what am I supposed to think Mensa is about? Knitting sweaters with cute designs on them?"

KnitSIG: An online SIG to connect Mensa knitters, crocheters, and other yarn/fiber lovers. This is a place to share pictures, patterns, tips, to ask questions or just chat.
posted by O Blitiri at 10:30 PM on April 6, 2010


For the record I don't hate Mensa members. However, Mensa has earned a bad rap over the last few decades for the valid reasons listed in this thread. While it's inappropriate to judge a group by it's individuals and anecdotal experience with them, every Mensa member I've personally met has been rather insufferable - and that even sometimes includes some of the family members of my previous generation.

Granted, generally the only time you discover an individual is a Mensa member is in the midst of some heated bar argument or debate and they whip out the "Well, I'm a member of Mensa!" as an argumentative counterpoint, so my datapoints are probably skewed by people who would be insufferable whether or not they managed to join Mensa.

I wouldn't doubt for a moment that I've met a few people who were active members who wouldn't dare stoop to such a cheap, dumb ploy, so it ends up being a sort of self perpetuating stereotype when the only Mensa members that you've knowingly met have been complete and utter tools.

Further granted, one individual tool I'm thinking of was poised to study and do awesome things with high energy physics, but if he hasn't learned more social skills by now he's probably still an insufferable tool.

That said I doubt many of us would have found eminent minds like Tesla, Einstein or Turing to be mostly pleasant and non-tool-like to be around, even though from most accounts Einstein was apparently fairly personable as an ultragenius, but that doesn't automatically mean his EQ was high or his social dance card was overflowing, either.
posted by loquacious at 12:20 AM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This post reminds me of Homer Simpson's little song:

I am SMart!
S.M.R.T.!
posted by kalessin at 5:00 AM on April 7, 2010


Confession time: I was a Mensa member.

Mensa was a big deal growing up (Malaysia was and still is fond of its "geniuses") and I've grown up always hearing the name. While I was very strongly anti-standardized testing (seriously, I was quite the activist for a while) and had qualms about IQ tests, I did decide to have one of my life goals be to take a Mensa test just to see what it was like.

A year or so after I arrived in Australia I applied for testing. They give you two: one has a mix of language, maths, visual, and story puzzles, and one was all visual. The first test hadn't been updated since the 60s. I found that the first test, with the mix of questions, was pretty easy - anyone with a basic university education should be able to do well. Hell I found the Maths section doable and I'm not much of a maths person! The story puzzles were really inane and I was wondering how they actually measured IQ at all - one question involved a guy who was down on his luck and was about to kill himself by jumping off a bridge, but at the last moment he changed his mind. Why? Did he find some money, feel better about himself, got scared, get talked out of it? How the hell would we know?! There's no right answer, it could be anything!

The results came on my birthday - I was accepted. I didn't know my score, just that I did well at one of the tests. I was surprised (I knew from school experience that I was probably somewhere in the above-average range but didn't think I was especially intelligent) and after a few weeks of thinking I thought it might be worth sending in $40 for a membership. Maybe I'll find people to befriend and work on projects together, and hey - maybe someone in there has a job for me.

The magazines were a disappointment! Here I was expecting ways to change the world or profiles of people doing inspiring things, or stuff that's thought-provoking...and instead most of the magazine is about how "oh we're so smart, why doesn't anyone recognise our awesomeness" (answer: because you're not awesome). It seemed to be a club for puzzle fans than anything else. I went to one meeting, where a games company sponsored it and got us playing some games - the kids (I don't know if they themselves were members or if just their parents were) were good fun, but no one was really interested in getting to know anybody better. I was in a separate board games group at the time and I found the contrast startling; my regular group had much more involved and interesting discussions, as well as more interesting games.

I let my membership lapse; I didn't even send in a member profile form. None of the events or meetups sounded interesting. There was a big age gap and I felt lost being a 20-something in a sea of 50-somethings. Right around the time my membership expired a bunch of younger Mensans (closer to my age) in Brisbane decided to have some meetups, but I couldn't make them. On the one hand, it's a pity, but I have no idea if they're actually interested in working together on interesting projects or would rather just listen to themselves talk.

tl:dr; I'm not terribly surprised that the list seems banal - it's pretty similar to a lot of the magazine content. Not terribly innovative or imaginative but pretending to be "groundbreaking" because it's Mensa. No one seems really interested in challenging themselves. It seems like an underdeveloped opportunity - a mix of minds that apparently like challenges and puzzles, you could create real change with that! But no, all they want to do is faff about how smart they supposedly are.

Besides, I never did get a job from it.
posted by divabat at 5:34 AM on April 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


People who think they can't have an intellectually stimulating conversation with someone not in their IQ range (or whatever measure they're using: education level, socioeconomic background, supper club) ought to open up a bit. There's a lot to learn from the whole world and they're only stunting their own growth by defining their peers so narrowly. I don't even know why I care, though, as they're only hurting themselves.
posted by breezeway at 6:10 AM on April 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


People who think they can't have an intellectually stimulating conversation with someone not in their IQ range

Not sure where this garbage comes from. Do you really think this is how MENSA members feel? FFS get over yourself.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:21 AM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


breezeway, some of the most brilliant, learned, wise people I have ever met in my life have never traveled outside of the Kent County, where I grew up. And I've met some of the most awful, arrogant, socially-isolated and nasty humans while studying in graduate school and traveling abroad. I completely agree with your sentiment.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:21 AM on April 7, 2010


Metafilter: It is funny.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:47 AM on April 7, 2010


I think this comment should be repeated:

I've actually never had anyone tell me they were a member of MENSA (nor am I a member myself). However, I've had many, many people tell me they could enter MENSA, but haven't or didn't. So I guess Mensa really exists for people to be superior to. How ironic.

It's very important for people to let everyone know that they do qualify for MENSA membership but are way too smart to join that insecure, elitist club.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:47 AM on April 7, 2010


KnitSIG: An online SIG to connect Mensa knitters, crocheters, and other yarn/fiber lovers. This is a place to share pictures, patterns, tips, to ask questions or just chat.

Is it as drama-filled and catty as other knitting groups?
posted by zarq at 7:21 AM on April 7, 2010


Mensa apologist: "All this whining about Mensa sounds like sorry grapes from people not able to join their club."

Someone not me: "Actually, I qualified pretty easily."

another Mensa apologist: "It's very important for people to let everyone know that they do qualify for MENSA membership but are way too smart to join that insecure, elitist club."

Someone me: "Fuh?"
posted by dirigibleman at 7:45 AM on April 7, 2010


What's that you say? Not everything in the thread applies specifically to you? Is there something we can do about that?
posted by grobstein at 9:19 AM on April 7, 2010


I laugh at your pathetic Mensa. From my mountain, you know.
posted by Mister_A at 11:06 AM on April 7, 2010


So, I sents in me arplicatation with cheq ands the EYE-Q test ands they say to me, I ams very shmart!! Very VERY SHMART!!

I makes the MENSA, I makes the MENSA!! YAYAY!!!!!



(I Hopes there is lotsa WOMENSA in the MENSA!! HA HA HA HA...)
posted by Skygazer at 11:29 AM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lotsa hating goin' on. I agree that IQ is slippery to measure or describe, that IQ != worth. But IQ is correlated to interestingness and intellect, and loosely to achievement. Low IQ is inversely correlated to people I don't really want to hang out with, though I may respect and value them for many fine attributes. I'd give Mensa a shot if there was a local group that was interesting. The list of sites is really pathetic, which makes me wonder if they're all that smart.

Meanwhile, they don't hold rallies with big signs saying "I yam a Genuis, U R NOT" or "I'm too samrt to care aboot Speelling." so mostly I never think about them.
posted by theora55 at 11:56 AM on April 9, 2010


theora55: IQ is correlated to interestingness

What?

theora55: Low IQ is inversely correlated to people I don't really want to hang out with, though I may respect and value them for many fine attributes.

Ironically, this statement does not mean what you think it does.
posted by mkultra at 12:01 PM on April 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ironically, this statement does not mean what you think it does.

Well said.
posted by zarq at 12:57 PM on April 9, 2010


Ironically, this statement does not mean what you think it does.

Oh, the agony of being allowed only one favorite per comment.
posted by found missing at 1:18 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Low IQ is also correlated with many factors. Like being anti-social.
High IQ is also correlated with many factors. Like being anti-social.


Yeah, both of those statements are bald faced foolish.

But like UbuRoivas mentioned above, there are many kids in the Mensa grouping too... I think that's the point that is making a lot of people feel like 'everyone is ganging up' on Mensa is not the right response... making generalizations like "anti-social" or "you know who else liked IQ a lot? Eugenicists. That's who"... which I obliquely alluded to, trying to head it off, and make it light, rather than an accusation... sorry. I fully think that we need to nurture that kind of traditional Intellectual Thinking (just like our society is also starting to accept that we will do well to encourage all of the other forms of INTELLIGENT, UNIQUE, CREATIVE and DISTINCT ways that different people think... Ken Robinson did a ted talk a while back about the various forms of 'memory' and 'learning' and 'creativity'. It was interesting, and highlighted the people who are excluded or pushed aside by our IQ based academics. I hope we will one day soon see we need to help ALL of these learning types, so yeah, I support a private "group" that aims to help these young people use their "gifts" just like I support things that bring out and encourage the skills of people with high EQ; seeing how this ended, it seems what is needed urgently is "cross-group" learning.)

Sorry to make this long; this is important to me, because of my own experiences, but also from meeting people who had highly similar experiences. It is important to me partly because I was diagnosed with an 'abnormal IQ' when I was pretty young, but this was very likely having nothing to do with "innate smarts" for me, or the ability to succeed- the problem was - teachers knew how I did on the various tests ... and I was fully unable to perform well and actually ever get grades, or pass, or succeed in the slightest, and for every time getting a bad grade, and having that spiral into more and more, eventually absorbing my entire elementary/highschool career in a sort of "wow, it's done... but I totally don't think these marks come close to being able to indicate what I have been able to learn and absorb in this time frame"... a feeling that "These numbers do not have a relation to comprehension, or persistent dedication shown, or concepts learned".

I had an abnormal IQ because I happened to learn to read early, and I was fortunate enough to be able to read often and widely. I was not "smart" or "shcmart"... none of that (Skygazers comments have been very funny winding through the thread)... I read everything I could get hold of, and so knew "about" a lot of things... but not the real world of performance indicators, and assignments, and the fast twitch test taking methods that became popular (my brain, I am thinking like many other peoples' brains, is like a train... it goes slowly... but works well with momentum; leaving me fully revved up at the end of the semester, but having missed something early on, and having that missed thing determine the ultimate total grade; yes, this would mean that I am wishing it wasn't treated like "oh, well everyone else in the class already finished that, so it isn't fair to "everyone else" to let you do anything differently at all). I am not saying "ME ME ME, I'm special, give me easier"... I am saying... I could have been MORE, and added more to society with a few things slightly different in how I was "graded"... I thrived in positivity, and dwindled and dawdled in negativity, now, o.k, you can say that I am proving that I am not able to succeed 'traditionally'... but seriously, why? I was a child. And I am sure that there are others who feel similarly.

One day we will have to ask as a society..."Do we want each individual person to reach highest potential... or do we want to 'select for a certain kind of person who excels at a certain kind of learning/testing system that we set up centuries ago, and have barely improved in the intervening centuries and decades. -and have everyone else feel like they are failures.

This IQ thing didn't make me get good grades. And I have a feeling it doesn't help everyone automatically succeed either. Didn't even help me at all; in fact it gave my 'teachers' something to point to when they would say, see, you are in fact extremely under-performing. No; I am not, Seriously! (the IQ tests may have seemed easy, almost natural. and their form seemed logical and almost 'fun' to me. The granular nature of it... where if I messed up in one area, it didn't make the ENTIRE thing a fail.)

But succeeding in a granular IQ test didn't help me navigate the social game that is "school" and "teachers" (some people were able to "speak to the teacher clearly" and explain why they were late with something; I, seemingly was unable)... This made it extremely distressing when teachers would hand out reports, and make comments alluding to 'wasted potential'. Yes, sorry, it was not for lack of caring, or trying, or for not investing heavily in caring deeply about "marks, grades etc,." it was inability to "keep up" or "remember" (or frankly, by the end of it all, and 13 or 14 years of knowing I was a 'non-succeed-er' "care" what the intended lesson plan was, since it was incomplete in the scope and perspective most times anyway.) I was unable to connect what was supposed to be done day to day. So, Yay, I could talk about big things in complex interactive ways... but seemingly never when it actually mattered. Or finished on time. Our system is set up to produce good "employees" for 20th century jobs; punctuality of completion being more important than depth of processing, understanding, and analysis.
These 'traditional' things are important don't lose that... but if we crush the spirit of students before they can reach higher potential... why should we even care if they are "efficient". If we are training people to just regurgitate multiple choice answers, and never consider the cross-discipline connections that occur... we are creating a society of people who are replaceable... original thought is then replaced with a much more simple and basic repetition of the "learnings" of the previous generation.

So while they were taking me out of class in elementary to have "extra-class", to 'funnel' 'creativity'- I missed math class. (this was awesome to me as a young person who already knew that I was horrible with operating numbers) Unfortunately missing these classes left me further deficient in terms of learning numero-literacy, so while I have since taught myself the "theory" of math, and had to re-do many math classes, and I can "fake it" when math is talked about theoretically; every. single. day. I still have trouble with basic operations and day to day uses of numbers.

It's unpleasant to think of how very many people have "mixed" brains, but get lumped into one or the other "learning style" and while we have now more push to "embrace" other learning styles, we may be missing the "half n' half" learners... those who have jumbled learning styles.
It will be really crappy if in our move to embrace a wider understanding of "schmarts"... we push out, and denigrate, or don't support "traditional" brains.
I would like to enhance what I said, since two people after me have indicated "hate" directed at both Mensa, and worse, the people who are members of Mensa. It is very important to keep an upbeat sense of humor, and to be able to keep a light, yet strong heart... yet not to condemn a group. While the "stated purpose" seems exclusionary, it is also a strong positive way for young people who have a lot of thoughts going on in their heads, to have outlets for it all, without interrupting school time. Just like it may be a really good idea to let young people "get up and dance" like as Ken Robinson suggests; so too do we need to let other people sit, perhaps quietly, perhaps not, and contemplate, or daydream, or ponder, or whatever word you want to take and use for "people living 'in the mind.'"

It is pretty easy to make jokes about the group (especially when they put out a list that seems pretty basic- about the 'best' of the World Wide Web.)
For adults sitting around as a group... it can seem sort of odd.
eh...
A lot of straw people faced mobs of human people tonight. Both sides set them up, and both sides dutifully burned them down.

Luckily we human people left standing amongst the carnage should basically be able to agree, Opponents and Supporters alike; butter side up, and butter side down, this list is 65% comedy either way you slice it, right down the middle.
tl;dr... it's not just Mensa that makes cutoffs or judgments or grades us by categories and metrics that seem unfair to us as individuals, divisions and appraisals that divide us into segments and groups and teams... It's modern life. And society in general which does this best. Mensa is just second banana in this realm.

found missing
; just favorite it, un-favorite it... favorite, un-favorite... rinse, repeat, this should eventually lead to the comment having a whole lot of "favorited" events in the grand scheme of things within 'the system'. It's not the same as giving it more than one favorite... but it kind of is. From a certain point of view.
posted by infinite intimation at 3:55 PM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


« Older Playing Chess with Kubrick....  |  Betraying Salinger.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments