ITT we talk about our experiences with the MENSA community. Mind you I am not some resentful snob who is angry that I can't join their club, I've never taken an IQ test and it's mostly 40 somethings anyway. Regardless, these people seem all too ready to whip out their MENSA card and show it to you at the slightest provocation and then explain how their IQ score ought to have been higher, but they had a headache or something.

You can't even count on them for an intelligent conversation either. I have met global warming deniers, ex-fundies, conspiracy theorists, and other quacks who are all thrilled to show me their MENSA card. It's not like anything productive is being accomplished at these meetings either. If your in the 98th percentile then why not use your intellect to make the world a better place instead of solving 100/100 sudoku puzzles?

I had a beer with one of these chumps the other day, and I'd like it if we could all rant together.

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Krusty, my criticism is not "anti-intellectual". By all means have a club. Good on you. I just question the need to flash the membership in public to people who really don't care. It has that reek of egotistic exhibitionism about it that really sours me.
Firstly, who does this? Exactly how many Mensans have you met who 'flash' their membership card at you?

And tell me, Felch, would you feel the same way if someone happened to mention in the course of conversation that they attended the Australian Institute of Sport, or that they sang in one of Australia's top choirs, or danced with the Australian Ballet? Would you think, "What a wanker!" or would you admire their talent and think that this was an interesting aspect of the person you've just met?

While I reject absolutely the suggestion that members of Mensa routinely brag about their membership, I wonder why you would think it is something that should be hidden as if having a high IQ and belonging to a club that caters for that is something shameful? Yes, Felch, that is anti-intellectual.
Mayokitty said: One remark, one critisizm, and you assume that we're all here to spread our hatred and loathing for everyone of higher intelligence

Let's just review what has been said about Mensans in this thread.

Mensans are losers.
They whip out their membership cards at the slightest provocation.
They're socially retarded.
They stink because they don't tend to bathe.
They are ignorant, retarded, worthless losers.
They are pretty fucking dumb.
They are wankers.
They are elitist.

What other minority group would you feel comfortable making such personal epithets against? As a Mensan, am I also a socially retarded, fucking dumb wanker with body odor? It's delightful to know that my fellow AN members think of me this way just because I happen to belong to a particular social club. Does this apply to my Mensan friends as well? (And yes, I have met many Mensans from other countries, none of whom have been anything like the offensive caricature described in this thread.)

If the above comments are not venomous, what exactly would you call them?

Even if some Mensans are like this, how rational is it to brand all of them as has been done with great glee here?

And Mayokitty, you assume (based, I expect on no experience of Mensans at all) that they join Mensa to boost their already high self-esteem. The opposite is almost always true. People with abnormally high IQs tend to have low self confidence. I, myself, joined Mensa at a time when my self-esteem was so low I was suicidal. I did not think I would qualify. I only sat the test because my mother insisted. At Mensa I found a level of social acceptance I had never had. It helped me rebuild my self-confidence and recover from a very black time in my life. It gave me new friends and social outings and the chance to talk with other people who had had the same experiences as me.

I live in the country now and haven't been to a Mensa meeting in years (because they're not held near me) but I still have many friends from that period of my life.

Perhaps before vilifying a group of people it might be a good idea to know something about them first. It also might be a good idea to remember that many of your fellow AN members may also be Mensans - though they would be loathe to admit it given the hateful attitudes expressed in this thread.
I can't help but feel suspicious of people who would want to join. I look at it this way - I have known plenty of hyperintelligent PhDs. NONE of them ever introduced themselves as doctors, and all were loath to use any of the initials after their names, other than in the most formal of circumstances, such as paper publication or conference speaking engagements. Then I look at the menagerie of clowns that make up the creationist and 911 truther set. ALL of them stress "doctor" and spatter post-nominals EVERYWHERE at EVERY opportunity. Actual credibility and desire to advertise it tend to have an inverse relationship.

So, somebody please enlighten me, exactly how is Mensa different ? They certainly like letting people know they are members.
I've been on this board for 12 months and have never mentioned that I am a Mensan. Nor do I mention it when I meet people. Who is this 'they' Felch? Have you personally met all the members of Mensa? Have you met a large enough proportion to be able to say that a majority of Mensans do this? Of all people, I thought you would approach this argument rationally. You can be as suspicious as you like, but I can only tell you that I almost certainly have far more experience of Mensans than you do, and it is no more than a social club with a subsidiary branch that assists children with high IQs. It is not the bogey man. Why do you find it so threatening? Why do you even find it worthy of your attention?
Krusty: Who is this 'they'

Mike Carlton springs to mind. There are others, none I can recall instantly. I can say this though - I have never heard a Mensa member state that they were members (and it happens often enough for it to not seem like an unusual occurrance) when it was in any way pertinent to what was being discussed. It's usually about as relevant as creationists introducing themselves as "doctors". "Uh, m'kay ? So ? Am I supposed to kiss your sneakers or something ?"

Why do you find it so threatening?

I don't. Why are you so sensitive and defensive ? It's like I'm drowning kittens. You have known me long enough to know that I have not derided Mensa, just questioned it's perceived entitlement to be a sacred cow. I have questioned the perception and the reality. Acerbic cynicism is OK, but not in your back yard ?

I've been on this board for 12 months and have never mentioned that I am a Mensan.

No, you haven't. So ? If you are humble member of Mensa, and I'm sure there's lots of you, why are you offended when I am not talking about you ?

Why do you even find it worthy of your attention?

It wasn't. Until now. I made some comments. It was about my experience with their testing methods and an observation about the very big, but rather empty, Mensa hall of fame. But now that you rise up about it so defensively, I wonder what the big deal is. You are responding like a witchdoctor to a Great Heresy. Should I fetch some rubber sheets and some jello and we can wrestle it out ?

There are other reasons too - I went through the sausage machine of the Mensa-like selective education system for "gifted" children. The cut for that was quite a bit higher than the 98th percentile. We get stuck when asked to say anything positive about it, because there isn't anything. Taking a bunch of kids that feel isolated, collecting them all in the one place and tattooing "isolated" on their foreheads and then tossing them back into the wolf pit isn't the greatest social experiment we have ever come up with.

You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake, you are the same organic decaying matter as everything else” -- Tyler Durden on Mensa
Erratum. That should read -

tattooing "isolated and special" on their foreheads
Taking a bunch of kids that feel isolated, collecting them all in the one place and tattooing "isolated" on their foreheads and then tossing them back into the wolf pit isn't the greatest social experiment we have ever come up with.

Yikes. I hated the wolf pit enough without having "isolated and special" tattooed on my forehead. Maybe I should be glad that I just had to deal with being bored a lot.
MENSA is for losers does seem a sweeping generalization. I don't know that I've ever met anyone who is a card carrying member of Mensa, other than cybermeeting Kristy, who has always seemed one of the more level-headed people on AN, and dare I say, helpful. I don't ever recall her gloating over some exalted status, and this is the first time I've seen her mention being a Mensa member, but that is approropriate to this discussion.

As for meeting obnoxious Mensans.. anyone can say they are anything. People fabricate identities, online and off.

Kristy wrote: I am ashamed that the people on this site who would be horrified if the same criticisms were made of any other minority group

Unfortunately, I have seen some people on AN direct crap at some minority groups, but that's a topic for another discussion.
Thank you Méabh.
He was obviously above average iq, though not humblingly so like Rain Man or anything.

Ah, but Kim Peek has is a savant and has developmental disabilities.
Ok Ok. Saying that each and every MENSA member is a loser is an unfair generalization and I apologize. Also, I have nothing against intelligence. I enjoy the company of intelligent people much more than I enjoy the company of average or stupid people. The only thing that gets to me about MENSA is it's high proportion of elitists and pretentious pricks in my experience. I am also skeptical of the simple IQ test being the only qualification to join. Making fun of Mensa is not making fun of a minority group. Joining Mensa is a choice, there are plenty of brilliant people what make the decision NOT to join Mensa. To compare it to prejudice against gays or blacks is unfair because one does not choose to be gay or black.

It's kind of like if a guy has a 12 inch penis he can join a club and carry a card around stating that he has a twelve inch penis.

Do I hate this guy for his 12 inch penis? No.

Do I dislike the fact that he carries a card with him stating this fact and will periodically "whip it out" at socially inopportune moments? Yes.


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