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Monday, November 12, 2012

The Dumbest Club in the World?

Mensa?

I'm watching an episode of Columbo which concerns a club that is an obvious take-off of Mensa, and I found myself thinking, "Why in the world would I want to join a club consisting of people who scored very highly on some test, except to boast that I scored highly on that test?" Chess clubs, economics clubs, math clubs, soccer clubs, fishing clubs, group-sex clubs: all of these I understand. But "We-all-scored-highly-on-some-test clubs"? Well, other than ego fulfillment, I don't get it. But I suppose that could be enough.

UPDATE: Consider: Would Einstein ever have been interested in joining Mensa? Gödel? Eco? Chomsky? Crick? Joyce? Picasso? Stravinsky?

No, real geniuses just roll ahead and do the thing they are geniuses at. Only failed geniuses would bother to take the time to join an organization devoted solely to proving they are geniuses.

11 comments:

  1. I told you that I was dumb.

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    1. Whoa! Hold on, Joe.

      I should clarify, I never actually did follow through. However, there was a time in my life when I thought that I should do something like this, so I began the process. I got cold feet before the real test. You're correct, the only reason that I wanted to do it was so that I could boast that I'm Mensa.

      Also, I don't know that Mensa is necessarily genius-level. If I remember correctly, the cutoff is around the 98 percentile or thereabouts. I'm certainly not a genius, but I score right around this or higher on standardized IQ tests. I'll admit, I've always been an awesome test-taker.

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  2. I remember that one! The umbrella.
    The best Columbos are from the first 3 seasons, and shorter: 73 minutes in length.

    This is a feel-superior club. It's not the only one. Think most political clubs. I think Amnesty International turned into one long ago.

    You a Stravinsky fan Gene? His complete Columbia recordings are available for a song in a box from Sony Classical. And the newer Decca 7 cd set of ballets is superb.

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    1. What was up in "Last Salute to the Commodore"?! Falk looked like he was plastered the whole episode.

      Stravinsky: I'm in the "heard enough to know he was a genius" category. Wouldn't mind getting to know him better.

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  3. For Stravinsky I am your man! I was classical director of 2 radio stations and Stravinsky is one of my favourites. The 7 CD Decca set is a good bargain and covers a lot of his best music over a long span, but omits some important things.

    A slightly idiosyncratic list of key works:

    Rite of Spring
    Symphony in C
    Jeu de Cartes
    Dumbarton Oaks Concerto
    Les Noces
    Apollo
    Oedipus Rex

    Classical prices are deranged these days. You should *never* pay a lot. There are lots of good digital issues of all of these. My personal favorites are the Symphony in C, Dumbarton Oaks and Jeu -- the purest of his neo-classical period.

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    1. Rite of Spring is still one of my favorites. I also like his serial works. I probably would never have even heard of Stravinsky if not for Zappa.

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    2. I would just like to add to my comment further by saying that I doubt that Gene would be into Stravinsky's serialism, or any serialism for that matter. With Stravinsky the best starting points for the uninitiated seem to be Petrushka and Rite of Spring. They're far more accessible, I think. I still throw on Rite of Spring every now and then, and listen to it from beginning to end. That's the only way to listen to it IMO.

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    3. Fetz: I forgot to add, you'd like Frank Martin. A wonderful composer too little known. Avert your ears Gene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IISJXKl1Ih4

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    4. I got a fever, and the only prescription is more harpsichord.

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  4. Canticum Sacrum and Agon are the only serial works I really like. The Neo-Classical stuff is what I like best. I omitted warhorses Petroushka and Firebird quite deliberately! Firebird remains his most performed piece.

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  5. Would a Mensa member buy this? All 38 Decca recordings of the Rite of Spring in one box! http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4783729

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