PJ Media

Are "Stupid Nerds" the Underclass?

Ilya Somin over at the Volokh Conspiracy has an interesting post on a href=”http://www.volokh.com/archives/archive_2008_05_18-2008_05_24.shtml#1211092916″ the tragedy of the stupid nerd:/abr /br /blockquoteBack in high school, I developed the theory that the people at the very bottom of the school social hierarchy are those who act like nerds even though they don’t have much academic or intellectual ability. They, not the intelligent nerds supposedly oppressed by jocks, are the true underclass of the high school world. Whereas smart nerds derive at least some prestige and acceptance from their intellectual achievements, the relatively dumb ones suffer all the costs of being perceived as nerds without any of the benefits. It’s interesting thata href=”http://bamber.blogspot.com/2008/05/50-book-challenge-25-brief-wondrous.html” Amber/a has independently arrived at the same conclusion./blockquotebr /br /I wonder if kids who shoot up schools tend to be “stupid nerds” as opposed to “intelligent nerds?” Does prestige for one’s intelligence or “genius” protect one from acting out violently? Perhaps–certainly some school shooters felt that they were not living up to their potential–but maybe they knew deep down that they had little potential for doing great things and this pushed them over the edge when combined with bullying. The difference in the psychological state of “stupid nerds” vs. “intelligent nerds” would make for an interesting doctoral dissertation for some ambitious graduate student.