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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Nerds deserve more praise

    Last fall, we watched as the Occupy movement protested major corporations making a disproportionate amount of money in comparison to everyday people. In the meantime, athletes and entertainers alike were making just as much money as CEOs and getting little attention from protesters. Some extremely popular entertainers even had the gall to back the movement.

    The blatant apathy toward the entertainment industry’s disproportionate wealth could be blamed on the desire for a distraction from the harsh realities of life, yet it seems unjust for protesters to villainize the leaders of large multimillion-dollar companies while still tuning in to the most recent episode of “Jersey Shore” after the march on Wall Street.

    Our desire for entertainment has such a strong hold on America that few people bat an eye at the fact that Tim Tebow, Snooki and Kim Kardashian earn more than the president of the United States. Since when has making a fourth-quarter completion, or making a fool of oneself on television, merited a bigger paycheck than preventing a nuclear war?

    This treatment of privileged entertainers has also trickled down to the collegiate system. On campus the athletes receive special privileges like priority registration, two academic advisers and tutoring. Granted, because few are blessed with the ability to perform as a Division I athlete, many athletes deserve the aid that they get. However, these special privileges then cause some parents to put pressure on their children to perform well in sports for the coveted scholarship or increased likelihood of acceptance.

    Very few parents look at their newborn son and declare that he will be the next Arthur Schopenhauer, and even fewer kids grow up wanting to be a nerd. We have created a negative aura around intellectuals in youth communities, instead favoring promising athletes. The chances of the superstar little leaguer becoming a multimillion-dollar-earning professional athlete is much smaller than that same kid becoming a successful scientist.

    While the prospect of a child having a rare talent seems more appealing than a child holding a steady job and being a contributing member of society, we cannot ignore that those contributing members move the world forward. While the balance between exercise and academics is important to our obese society, if our children were judged more on their intellectual curiosity than their ability to kick a ball perhaps, there would be fewer problems in our country.

    It may be thrilling to watch Nick Johnson shoot a game-winning 3-pointer and it may make you cry when you hear Adele sing about her guy troubles, but are the jobs of athletes and singers really more important than those of scientists or politicians? When we are able to use the word “nerd” with pride, when more people know Stephen Hawking than Steven Tyler, when children want to actually be smart when they are older, that’s when we know we are on the right track for this country. We’re not there yet.

    — Dan Desrochers is a chemistry freshman. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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