September 22, 2012

"Years ago, I knew two kids. One was a tall and wispy twerp whose arrogance exceeded his stratospheric brilliance."

"The other was a squat punk whose beautiful mind spewed quips like switchblades."
By three orders of magnitude, these two were far smarter than the rest of us.

It was on the playground where they struggled. The twerp found that being haughty prompted a vigorous ass kicking. The punk learned that being mouthy got you pantsed in front of the girls. But, over time, the playground changed them. Each kid started to act normally. With that, the rest of us came to respect and even appreciate them. More importantly, their socialization prompted us to consider what they had to say.

Maybe I’m wrong, but perhaps Posner and Scalia (and their snarly stand-ins) should visit a playground.
The writer of that snark is himself a federal judge, I note — with a nudge to a colleague of mine who was chastising me for analyzing the psychology of judges. (How do I know their motives? I don't. I speculate!)

But I'm fascinated to see a judge opine that other judges are guys who failed to get enough bullying when they were kids! Who's exercising the momentous power to say what they law is and inflict their opinion on the rest of us? Abnormal people who could've used a good ass-kicking... a good pantsing in front of the girls.

30 comments:

KenK said...

That's why article lll judges should have to be reconfirmed by the Senate every seven years and have to retire by sixty five. They are just people. Lifetime appointments breed and nature this kind of arrogance.

AprilApple said...
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Mnemosyne's Notebook said...

"It was Abby Someone"
"Abby Someone. Abby Who?"
"Abby Normal, I'm almost sure that was the name."
"Are you saying that I put a judge's brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?"

David said...

Getting pantsed in front of the girls is going to send someone to the slammer these days. It has so many ways to violate the anti offensiveness rules. And now that we are well on the way to criminalizing most kinds of offensiveness, all pantsing should be banned. Just in case. Can't be too careful.

Mark O said...

I am familiar with a large number of judges that could use a public pantsing.

David said...

AprilApple said...
I was just thinking about the word "twerp" in the shower this morning.
True story.


Gotta stop showering with that twerp, April.

KenK said...

I wouldn't be so sure of that in Scalia's case David. That bulldog would knock some body's teeth out. Posner-like twerps might get pantsed but not Nino. Not without bloodshed.

AprilApple said...
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exiledonmainst said...

Well, considering that the WI Supreme Court turned into The Fight Club Part II one afternoon, a match-up between Posner and Scalia has its' appeal. I'd put my money on Scalia. I wouldn't mess with an angry Sicilian.

The Elder said...

"Who's exercising the momentous power to say what they law is and inflict their opinion on the rest of us? Abnormal people who could've used a good ass-kicking... a good pantsing in front of the girls?"

Yes. That about sums it up.

The Crack Emcee said...

But I'm fascinated to see a judge opine that other judges are guys who failed to get enough bullying when they were kids! Who's exercising the momentous power to say what they law is and inflict their opinion on the rest of us? Abnormal people who could've used a good ass-kicking... a good pantsing in front of the girls.

Really? You don't get this? It seems about as obvious to me as the sun coming up. Many, if not most, of the people exercising power over us - in government and out - never got a good ass kicking. And that's a major failing, which is one reason why someone can be a conventional "success" and still be a loser.

Mind you, I don't get that from Scalia - he seems to be spot-on in his view of the world - but I'd say, 9 times out of 10, those who are in a position to lead have no right to be there, and a major reason is because they've been sheltered from tasting real defeat.

Fen said...

By three orders of magnitude

Three? Why not five or seven?

Reminds me of the "Give 110%!" nonsense. Why not give 120? Or 150?

Barry Dauphin said...

Which political persuasion is most responsible for the anti-bullying push in schools?

Howard said...

The grade school remark from a fellow twat was perfect. These metro's in black robes should have to be a roust-a-bout on a big drilling rig. That's the scut position you have to suffer through before becoming a roughneck. They would probably worm out.

bagoh20 said...

Better late than never - let get this done. After we go though all the current justices, we can make the pantsing part of the senate confirmation hearings.

JL said...
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JL said...
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jdniner said...

Judges seem to have a way over inflated opinion of themselves. Like they are saints or better???? Yes??? Some are smart about the law, but most are pedestrian legal workers. You see judges complaining a lot and trying to force reasonable people to their unreasonable demands. Look at the recent judical outing of Aaron Worthing? I know a person who mediated a settlement for $5000, but the lawyers took same innocent person to court unethically for $150,000 in their fees. All inflated as much as possible for what was simply a contractor dispute that was mediated by the courts. On appeal the judge told this middle class person you are SOL, they are within their rights. Continue on with your bankruptcy. Now these lawyers are contesting the bankruptcy that is turning a middle class person and their kids into food stamp clients. Does the judge care? Not one bit. Such is the state of judges today. I have to laugh when they want to be taken seriously.

jdniner said...

The bad faith of crappy judges is hidden by lives so destroyed that trying for justice is too risky. Legislatures and judges don't police the judiciary very well. So judges shouldn't be peeved when someone pulls their pants down.

Tarzan said...

I read this and thought, "Oh, the secret origins of Penn and Teller."

Bzzt. Wrong.

Chip Ahoy said...

I too knew a guy who could read really fast, I privately raced him and never won and we both did as well on the exams that followed whatever crap we were reading. Most frustrating.

There is no pantsing in my story but one day I outlined letters as if they were blocks and did that so naturally and rapidly it blew his mind and he said so and I privately thought, Ha! I win. And then I go watch this and I drew a word with block letters attached going all along the outside to connect in one continuous line that he could not visualize until it was finished and so his mind was blown twice. And inside I'm going, Ha! Ha!

But outside I go, no wait watch this, and then drew a word as if from block letters and squished together but only the shadows showing and not the blocks and his mind was used to being blown by block letters being drawn rapidly and he was quite over the whole letter drawing thing by then and there went my victory, I guess, overplayed there a bit.

whoresoftheinternet said...

I know a few hundred bullies John Roberts should meet...

bagoh20 said...

Is this bullying of the smart kids a real thing or just a myth? As a kid, I remember there were tough kids and there were smart kids, and most were some combo of both. I don't remember a lot of bullying of the smart by the strong.

Like most species, the fighting was usually between individuals who were closely matched, because that's where the uncertainty was, and where a clear resolution is needed.

Those who made their reputations with their fists didn't usually have any reason to, nor would it get them respect to pick on a nerd. Just the opposite. For a strong kid to pick on a smart kid is an admission that he's not smart, and has to compensate. This is something you know just as well at 10 years old as 50 - it's very basic.

Some kids would get picked on, but rarely because they were smart. Unfortunately, rather because they were stupid. As cruel as it may have been, the kids most picked on were kid who actually had mental deficiencies like mild retardation, or maybe just incredibly bad hygiene or some other mocked frailty. I guess it's very basic pack behavior to attack the weakest members, I assume in a primitive desire to cull and strengthen the group, Being smart was not a defect though. The smart kids got respect, envy or just ignored by the tough guys.

This idea that smart kids are weak is just a scam orchestrated by weak kids.

The tendency of both smart/weak kids and strong/dumb kids to still find success fools us into thinking there is a correlation overall that might not be there.

I wouldn't listen to me though, because I'm just an ass kicker.

Beldar said...

One thing about judges that one learns from working closely with them: They do put on their pants (or skirts, some of them some times) one leg at a time, and sometimes if they're not careful they'll topple over doing so, and then they giggle like the rest of us do.

... [chin rub] ...

Well, actually that's speculation too, I guess, since I've never been in the presence of an undressed below-the-waist judge.

Beldar said...

To my knowledge.

Deirdre Mundy said...

BagH20 - Not a myth. And sometimes the teachers encouraged it, because the nerdy kids needed to 'toughen up' and 'learn to fit in.'

Basically, there are two schools of though on socializing nerdy, awkward kids. (We recently moved, so I've been thinking about this due to MY nerdy, awkward kids.)

Method 1 is to throw them in with normal kids and say 'Be social!" Either they learn to pass as normal, or they wind up wishing they were dead. But the ones who pass as normal can then 'pass' their whole lives.

Method 2 is to put them in an exclusively nerdy environment (exam school, Society for Creative Anachronism, Math camp, University of Chicago, etc....), and then they learn social behaviors because it is the easiest way to function as a group, but at the same time they get the joy of 'fitting in.'

Based on my observations of awkward people who learned social skills, method 2 is the better method.

Method 1 actually makes the awkward nerds LESS socially apt, since they become a 'race apart' and think 'Well, these cretins may be beating me up, but it's only because I'm superior. When I grow up and build my death drones, I'll show them all!!!!!"

Corollary: Obama was bullied too much as a child....

somefeller said...

This idea that smart kids are weak is just a scam orchestrated by weak kids.

Agreed, but this may be a matter of where one goes to school. I didn't see any evidence of smart kids being bullied by tough kids at my school. In fact, the honor roll and the football team overlapped quite a bit in my high school (including in the case of yours truly). The kids that were bullied tended to fit the description that bagoh20 provides. Some were smart and consoled themselves with the idea that their situation was the result of their intelligence, but that wasn't the case. I'm not saying that's a good thing. Quite the contrary, it's not a good thing, but does say something about how humans are pack animals too. That having been said, the situation may be different in schools that don't have much in the way of academic or intellectual expectations. One doesn't find kids being bullied for their collegiate ambitions in prep schools.

Also - conflict, even physical conflict, does not equal bullying. It also may not be something to be promoted, but a schoolyard shoving match isn't always an incident of bullying.

somefeller said...

Actually, now that I think about it, bagoh20's comment that This idea that smart kids are weak is just a scam orchestrated by weak kids is a very Nietzschean statement. I like it!

Zach said...

Both of the kids in the story were actually causing their own problems. They were treating other people badly and getting away with it because they were smarter. The bullies didn't care about smarts; they just responded to verbal aggression with physical aggression.

I don't know about females, but it can actually be an important point in male development to learn that you will be spending most of your life with people who don't love you for yourself, and who will demand a basic level of respect and courtesy.

karrde said...

@Fen,
[Smarter] by three orders of magnitude

Three? Why not five or seven?

Reminds me of the "Give 110%!" nonsense. Why not give 120? Or 150?


I wonder if this author could explain the difference between an order of magnitude and a standard deviation.

Because smarter by three standard deviations can give us a range of IQ's to work with.

But I doubt IQ's ever vary by more than 1 order of magnitude.

(Reference to Order of Magnitude at Wiki, with Standard Deviation, also at Wiki.)