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    Keats and Yeats are on your side

    I very rarely take exception to something Eric says, but I think part of this post is misleading…or maybe just reductive:

    In the context of boys into men, an especially stubborn category consists of something that’s risky to write about, but what I’ll call the “Born That Way High IQ Gay Men” for lack of a better term. Whether anyone likes it or not, society (and I include gay culture, which is very bigoted towards this type of person) really has no comfortable niche for young men who share the following two characteristics:

    • obviously gay (and thus incapable of the “closet” option)

    • extremely high IQ

    I think it’s a tragedy, and that’s because I hate waste. And I hate seeing potential Einsteins frittering away their lives because of early emotional reactions to stuff that really ought not matter. There’s an old Japanese saying that the crooked nail gets hammered down. With these people, all attempts at hammering them down are doomed to fail, because there simply is no place for them.

    Lots of people get hung up on stuff that really ought not to matter and end up feeling isolated because of it. I’m not sure what “society” could do better to prevent that. Some isolated mavericks may be geniuses manqués, but I suspect that a lot of them just aren’t willing to learn how to get along with people better, which involves risking rejection, giving of yourself, and making compromises. It’s best to be taught such things by adult mentors and role models in childhood, I agree, but it’s possible to pick them up in adulthood if you’re willing to learn from experience. A free, mobile society doesn’t preclude people’s being cruel in enforcing conformity, but it does allow you to move away from them and try different communities until you find a niche in which you can flourish. Those who decide to stay put where they’re unloved so they can keep indulging in drama-queen hysterics about how put-upon they are are hard to sympathize with.

    One Response to “Keats and Yeats are on your side”

    1. Eric Scheie says:

      Society can do nothing about it, nor can anyone else. That’s why I call it a tragedy.

      “Try[ing] different communities until you find a niche in which you can flourish” worked great for those I knew until AIDS kicked in. No way to turn back the clock.

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