dreamed 2009/10/15 by Wayan.
I read Terman's Kids by Joel Shurkin, on Louis Terman's lifelong study of over a thousand gifted kids. Shurkin got access to data held private for decades, and I have a strong personal interest in his findings--I was a child prodigy. So what happened to others who scored off the top of the scale, how'd they end up?
For academic degrees, income, scientific prizes and patents, Terman (and Shurkin) have quantitative data. But for what I care about, creativity, health and happiness, he has only a few sample "Termite" biographies--the writer for "I Love Lucy", the inventor of the K ration, the photographic reporter couple, the writing/editing team of L. Sprague de Camp and Anthony Boucher. Not all his fault: the rules allowing Shurkin access to Terman's files forbade him to list or discuss the books, music and art that Termites created, unless they'd already come out of the closet.
Shurkin flames Terman's racism, sexism, and genetic determinism--but his own biases lead him to skimp on details when he thinks a subtopic (like genius) is silly old Terman; we aren't allowed to judge for ourselves. But what little there is on the very brightest Termites undermines Terman's claim that prodigies are well-adjusted; as Grady Towers argued in The Outsiders, most of the bios of the Termites over IQ 170 are disappointing to tragic. More women had careers than was typical for that generation, but still, most of them never have the opportunity to exercise their full talents. Half the geniuses dreaming their lives away...
Turquoise vault after-hours in school:
the concrete lip of an indoor pool
where an aquabatic dance team
damp-runs a sleek chorale.
Coach singles out the smallest girl,
she'll solo in their show. Ottery,
(daring red bikini) bares her flanks:
adult. She knows exactly where
attention, crush, standing out, curiosity.
D'you think I read too much from scant
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