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Friday, September 16, 2005

Stereotyping UChicago 

Apparently some think that Chicago is the university with the highest percentage of academic nutjobs.

I think that's a load of crap. I haven't seen any professors there that have been mean, cruel, or domineering towards me as a student, at least. If you're willing to work very hard, than they are great. They may not praise your output, if it's not good, but I wouldn't expect them to. You can't get better if you don't have people inform you of your mistakes.

I think the faculty at Chicago is superb. Anyone that says otherwise, give me some evidence.

EDIT: In the comments to that post, here's a great piece of anecdote:
Sure, some of this is stereotype but I also think that academics have a peculiar form of interaction that non-academics often misinterpret as anti-social or at least dysfunctionally social. As academics we are more prone to debate and to speak our mind in front of those with whom we have disagreements than the general population is. My wife, a non-academic, was at first dismayed when I’d have friends over for dinner, and then we’d spend half the night disagreeing with each other over minute details of some esoteric argument. For those of us involved in the conversation, this was fun and very social, but for someone who’s not used to this kind of forceful exchange of thought and debate, it can be seen as graceless.

I also once recall having a discussion with a professor in his office, watching him get increasingly excited and boogley-eyed as we reached a point of disagreement. I wondered if others outside of academia might be offended by this kind of passionate debate of ideas.

Or perhaps I am lacking in social graces.
I personally can't stand it when people don't like to debate things. I love it. I think it's good fun. Disagreeing with someone has nothing to do with disliking them personally. When people think that, it really gets me.

I think this post really hits it. If you're good at academic subjects, which often involve considering very minute and esoteric details, than you probably like to talk about them. And thus debate.

Sigh, conversation really is dead. If you can't have a good debate with people and not be branded as rude and socially innept, than personally I don't know how to have a fulfilling conversation. I like to talk about stuff with people like politics, policy, religion, etc. Wow, I really do break all the taboos.

I must be socially innept then. Well, at least to those people that don't like what I like. And that's fine. But don't call me socially innept because I don't like what you like.

Ahhh, and now I see the root of the narcicism. If most of the average people you talk to don't like to talk with you about your passion, than you'll probably have a tendency to become annoyed with those type of people after a while. And maybe start to look down on them. I'm not saying that such a state is totally excusable, but I think it may be understandable.

What can I say, some people like things like history, ideas, etc. And some people like baseball (well, I like both, maybe that's why I'm not a narcicist. Yet). Now, unleash your cannons on me. I want a good debate=)

UPDATE: My waxing sentimental on my own geekiness aside, Chicago does have a new feather to put in its hat, one which is most likely due to its eccentric, braniac faculty: UChicago is one of the seven wonders of Chicago.

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