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Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Sunday, 25 June 2006
Groups and nerds.
Topic: Misc.
Peter Birks wrote an interesting piece last weekend about Reinforcement. Writing from the point of view of someone who used to be an alcoholic, he explains:

"When drinking you avoid social circles including non-drinking people. Indeed, to you, the drinker, it is these people who seem weird. Instead you either seek out other drinkers or, more seriously, you avoid everyone. If you are outside in a major conurbation one sunny afternoon and you see half a dozen "dossers" sitting on a couple of park benches, drinking Diamond White, just consider the fact that they might see us as the weird ones. They reinforce their own view of the world."

and goes on to explain the phenomenon in more general terms:

"Which would you prefer, a feeling of "being normal" amongst others of a similar ilk, or a feeling of horrific alienation? The former, obviously. However, the downside of this comes when you see a group of, say, computer geek male adolescent student types in a pub (or any other group of which you aren't a member) and you look at them.

Women on 'intelligent' radio shows, for reasons which somehow escape me, often mock these little self-contained groups of the socially asymetric, without (or so it appears to me) asking themselves the rather simple question of why things get that way."

It dawned on me a few days later that Peter and others who find this topic interesting should check out this excellent essay by Paul Graham:

Why Nerds are Unpopular.

It's long but very rewarding. I wish I'd read it 20 years ago.

Sunday, 25 June 2006 - 6:56 PM BST

Name: "anonymous"

Are you a nerd or a geek, DY?

Tuesday, 27 June 2006 - 2:07 AM BST

Name: "James Feeny"

Terrific link David. Personally I can relate to much of that. I remember thinking exactly the same things when I was at school. I questioned certain things and observed certain things. Reading that link was like someone reading my mind. Freaky.

I like the way that the writer linked high schools to prisons. Something which I always said to people during my school years, for exactly the same reasons stated. I do feel, and have always felt that a new system neede to be put in place. Discovering one will not be easy.

The best article I have read in a long long time. 

Tuesday, 27 June 2006 - 6:38 PM BST

Name: "David Young"

Well I certainly don't work 24/7/365 at being liked, that's for sure. I have a certain contrarian streak. It is essential if you're a professional gambler, as it's impossible to win by going with the crowd!

On the other hand, I was well known at university. Every other day someone new would come up to me and say 'Hi, how are you doing, Dave' and engage me in conversation and I would have to cross my fingers and hope they didn't realise that I had no idea who they were. I could never figure out how this kept happening to me. It went on for the whole three years I was there. Bizarre. 


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