January 30, 2012 29 Comments
Charles Murray’s idea of a class ‘bubble’ seemed better in theory than in the execution. For what it’s worth, I got a 5/20 (but that includes the cheapo Half-Sigma point for riding the SWPL-beloved NY-DC bus) on that test, adapted from a (slightly better) test in Murray’s book, both indicating that I’m pretty far into, but not in the top tier of, the ‘bubbled’/sheltered class that is culturally-isolated from mainstream America.
I think the problem is one of design. You have a test designed to answer ‘how mainstream are you’ and you’re giving it to a bunch of yuppies, mostly. Shouldn’t it go the other way? Shouldn’t we design the test for how isolated a person is? Positive answers will be outliers (not mainstream), and higher scores will indicate more isolation (not less).
But more importantly, isn’t Murray’s notion of ‘culturally isolated’ a bit…muddled? Let’s face it. We all know what we’re really talking about here. We’re talking about Smart People.
The how Smart are you test
Answer all questions to the best of your ability. Some answers are worth points. Any answers or answer combos not mentioned (including ‘huh?’) are worth 0 points. Count up your points.
- Ivy league? Went to one (or Stanford): 2 points. Didn’t, but work with >=3 people who went to one: 1 point.
- # of Malcolm Gladwell books read?: 2 or more: 2 points. 1: 1 point.
- Best TV show in history? The Wire: 2 points. The Sopranos: 1 point.
- Complete the sentence: “The science is ____.” Settled: 2 points. In: 1 point.
- (a) People drive too much (b) I live in a big city where a car would be superfluous: Both: 2 points. (a) only: 1 point.
- What’s there to do in K-Town? Karaoke and Korean food: 2 points. Korean food: 1 point.
- Name a sport that’s on the decline. Baseball: 2 points. Other, besides basketball or soccer: 1 point.
- Zagat? Have it: 2 points. Know what it is: 1 point.
- I helped recommend my college friend for a job he/she got/got a job from a college friend’s recommendation. Both: 2 points. One: 1 point.
- Worse grades in college, Bush or Kerry? Bush: 2 points. I see what you’re doing there, but the premise of that question is flawed: 1 point.
- What’s the matter with: Kansas: 2 points. That’s a sentence fragment: 1 point.
- Good reason for private elementary school for your kids? I believe class size/personalized attention is very important, like [insert boring anecdote about your own kid]: 2 points. I researched a lot of average testing statistics that followed cohorts and there seems to be an X% effect with an R^2 of [bla bla]: 1 point.
- Bush’s Brain: Yes I saw that documentary, what about it?: 2 points. Um, is dumb/damaged? (duh): 1 point.
- (a) Approve of Obamacare (b) haven’t read it/pretty much don’t know the details at all: Both: 2 points. (a) only: 1 point.
- Sarah Palin would be a terrible President because she’s: Dumb and crazy: 2 points. Crazy: 1 point.
- Name two Nobel Prize winners. Barack Obama and Paul Krugman: 2 points. Barack Obama and (someone else): 1 point.
- After she graduates from grad school you’d be most pleased for your daughter to get a job at a: Nonprofit: 2 points. Hedge fund: 1 point.
- (a) Believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming (b) know nothing about climate modeling and have never studied let alone engaged in anything of the sort: Both: 2 points. (a) only: 1 point.
- Podcast: This American Life: 2 points. Other NPR-related: 1 point.
- Fill in the blank: ____ Diplomacy. Smart: 2 points. Cowboy (as in “Bush’s Cowboy diplomacy”): 1 point.
- Constitution and Obamacare: I don’t see how Obamacare can be unconstitutional: 2 points. I recognize the tension but I pretend not to and instead insist on arguing that Obamacare fits inside the Commerce Clause: 1 point.
- Alexander Payne movie: Sideways: 2 points. Citizen Ruth: 1 point.
- (a) Cities are great because of all the cultural opportunities, like the symphony/museums/etc. (b) Don’t really go to the symphony/museums/etc. Both: 2 points. (a) only: 1 point.
- A kind of tax we need more of: Pigouvian: 2 points. Value-added (or financial-transaction): 1 point.
- Who’s dumber, a PhD or an MBA? MBA: 2 points. PhD: 1 point.
25 questions. Max score = 50. To establish a baseline for you, if I answer these questions as generously (=max points) as possible, I get an 8. This scientifically means I am 16% Smart. How Smart are you?
Ok looking at these it sort of turned into a hybrid SWPL/Smart/Murray-bubble test. But so be it. Anyway post your scores in comments so I can collect some DATA. It would be Smart to have DATA.