Thursday, June 19, 2008

Like A Hadouken to the Soul

A new Weezer record came out this month, and as such, it is a time for nerds everywhere to take a step back and re-evaluate our nerdness. Not nerdiness, which is a measure of the adjective nerdy, but nerdness, or the state of being a nerd. I personally love The Red Album, but that is not what this blog is about.

At this time of introspection, I reflected on one of my biggest pet peeves. I am of course referring to people who believe that there are irrevocably two kinds of people in the world: people with "book smarts" and people with "street smarts", with absolutely no grey area blurring the two.

To me, the mere existence of these people refutes their claim, as those who live in such a black and white world generally lack "smarts" of both variety.

I, of course, am a "book smarts" guy to these people, and to this day I'm still not really sure what that means. I think it means that I do things like use calculus when lining up my pool shot, not unlike Donald Duck's friend as seen in this educational Disney video that my brainy ass remembers from elementary school:

This video illustrates how most street smart people (i.e. Donald) view book smart people (Donald's boring, not-animated friend). They are socially awkward, get things right the first time (thus missing out on life-shaping misadventures) and are a total buzzkill, bringing "charts and graphs" into billiards, which should apparently have nothing to do with math.

Street smarts, by default, I assume to include any kind of smarts that can't be learned from a book. I mostly interpret this to mean the ability to pull off some sort of scam or swindle. Some of the most stereotypically street smart people in pop culture are also notorious cheaters: Bart Simpson, Bugs Bunny, Bill Clinton, you get the idea.

Now in a world where you are either one or the other, brainy or street savvy, we are taught that we need never venture toward the middle ground, and that to try and possess both traits is futile. This leads me to believe that the concept of "street smarts" was invented by and is propagated by ignorant people to justify not reading books. Street smart people are always trying to discourage book smart people from doing street smart things, because then street smart people will, (1) be forced to learn (presumably from books), and/or, 2) become obsolete.

To refer back to The Simpsons, Lisa probably possesses more "street smarts" than Bart, but "braininess" (and conscience) prevent her from executing schemes that she is probably way more qualified to pull off than her brother. Bart's street smarts come from his "nothing to lose" attitude, and in his case the "nothing" in question is intelligence.

Now, I surely don't deny the existence of "book smarts" and "street smarts", however vague their meaning. I have known people at every end of the spectrum. The real tragedy, though, is when these people believe that if they are one, they cannot be the other.

Some people I know contain neither street smarts nor book smarts. This is even more tragic, because upon realizing at an early age that they aren't book smart, they assume themselves to be street smart, and often go their entire lives under this false assumption (most police officers fall into this category).

And finally, I have known some amazing people who possess both "street smarts" and "book smarts". They think with their mind and their heart. These people prove that there can and should be a grey area between these two kinds of people. Which leads me to my final point: Tina Fey, will you marry me?

1 comment:

musicpatrol said...

I mightily enjoyed this. Especially the video.
Many thanks.

Your old-ish friend Aubri.