15 October 2007

The Humanities Geek Test

Okay, I heisted this from The Archer Pelican and knew I had to post it when I read questions number 3 and 4. So we all know that my score is at least a 2.*

I also had to post it because my smart and beautiful niece is currently a student at Radford. One ignores these little cosmic things at one's peril.

Long years ago, when I was in college (at the Maryversity of Uniland), the Rice Purity Test was all the rage, and made even more popular by its emphasis on things done for/to/with members of the opposite sex. College students are basically lawyers at heart, so we all immediately glommed onto the idea that instead of promoting "purity," the test encouraged bi-curious experimentation. My D&D and Markland pals could be divvied up into a few groups:

1. Those who thought that any score above 50 was nothing all that remarkable;
2. Those who thought that any score below 80 was remarkable and vowed to keep theirs above that line;
3. Those who, upon taking the test the first time, devoted their off hours to lowering their scores;
4. Those who, upon learning the scores of some of our friends, vowed never to exchange any body fluid of any kind with them ever;
5. Those who thought the test was poorly constructed (see bi-curious leanings, supra)** and therefore disregarded the results;
6. Those who thought the test was puerile and disgarded it entirely.

Guess which one I was.

Oddly enough, I had dinner with a friend the other night where we discussed/fondly recalled our mispent college years which brought the RPT to mind. More synchronicity...

Maybe I'll print out the RPT before our next dinner so that we have some handy talking points. On the other hand, if I can convince him to put in a couple of hours discussing being and nothingness, I can improve my Humanities Geek Test score.

The difference between the RPT and the HGT is that for the Rice you start at 100 and subtract a point for every "yes." With the HGT, you start at 0 and add a point for every "yes." I would point out that #92 is not a yes/no question unless you chose to count French as a yes and American as a no. That's what I did.***

The Humanities Geek Test (by Laura Cubbison)

After T-bone posted the scientific nerd test, I started thinking about a test for eggheads (humanities geeks). Some of the questions on his test work for eggheads too, so I kept them in. I wrote most of the questions myself, and T-bone contributed a few more. Once I finished it, I figured up my score as 55.

I actually wrote this before the coffee house sketch on MST3K, but I did add two questions inspired by the sketch.



For each of the following questions which you answer 'yes,' add one point to your score. Your total at the end is your percentage of eggheadedness.

1)Have you ever gone to a coffee house?
2)Have you ever talked about being and nothingness?
3)Have you ever been to a Pinter play?
4)Do you know who Pinter is?
5)Have you ever done #2 continuously for more than four hours?
6)At a coffee house?
7)Do you wear glasses?
8)Are your glasses shaped like John Lennon's?
9)Is your vision worse than 20/40?
10)Worse than 20/80?
11)Are you legally blind?
12)Have you ever taught freshmen?
13)Have you ever answered a question in lecture after a moment of silence?
14)Have you ever corrected a professor?
15)Have you ever refused to answer a hypothetical question?
16)Have you ever had to sit in a circle in a classroom?
17)Do you save your lecture notes in file folders?
18)Do you never sell back your textbooks?
19)Do you own a black turtleneck shirt?
20)Have you ever used a microfilm reader?
21)Have you ever used a microfiche reader?
22)Have you ever used gopher to retrieve James Joyce's _Ulysses_ for a research
23)Is your weight less than your IQ?
24)Have you ever done #2 on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the same weekend?
25)Have you ever done #2 past 4 a.m.?
26)Have you ever done #2 with someone of the opposite sex?
27)Have you ever done #2 for money?
28)Do you have own a copy of Thomas Pynchon's _Gravity's Rainbow_?
29)Have you read _Gravity's Rainbow_?
30)Did you understand _Gravity's Rainbow_?
31)Without Cliff's Notes?
32)Do you have a copy of the Riverside Shakespeare?
33)Do you have straight hair of all one length?
34)Does it fall in your face?
35)Do you admit to being a white male oppressor?
36)Do you express your rage against white male oppressors?
37)Can you define deconstructionism?
38)Do you know the Allegory of the Cave?
39)Do you know the words that follow "To be or not to be"?
40)Do you have them on a t-shirt?
41)Have you ever quoted Nietzsche?
42)Do you know who wrote _Waiting for Godot_?
43)Have you seen _Waiting for Godot_ in the theater?
44)Do you own more than $500 in books?
45)More than $1000?
46)More than $2500?
47)Do you stack your books in the corner of the room?
48)Have you ever seen a Merchant/Ivory film?
49)After you read the book?
50)Did you cry?
51)Did you fail the math portion of the GRE?
52)Have you ever done homework on a Friday night?
53)Have you ever pulled an all-nighter?
54)Have you ever written a short story?
55)Have you ever written poetry?
56)Done #55 in the last three months?
57)Done #55 in the last three weeks?
58)Have you ever memorized a poem?
59)Are your pants rolled up because they're too long?
60)Do you wear sandals?
61)Have you read _The Canterbury Tales_?
62)In middle English?
63)Have you ever attended a Shakespeare in the Park production?
64)Have you ever seen a Shakespeare play in a theater?
65)Have you ever entered a writing contest?
66)Did you win?
67)Can you identify Jacques Derrida?
68)Have you ever read anything by Derrida?
69)By Michel Foucault?
70)Have you ever used a colon in the title of a research paper?
71)Have you ever applied literary criticism to a television show?
72)Have you ever used inter-library loan?
73)Have you ever had to justify your field of study to your parents?
74)Have you ever used the word "hermeneutics" in a conversation?
75)Do you view participation in extracurricular activities as a violation of
your non-conformity?
76)Do you dress exactly like your non-conformist friends?
77)Do you know more than 1 modern language?
78)More than 2?
79)Do you know an ancient language no longer spoken?
80)Have you ever made a literary joke?
81)Did no one get it?
82)Have you ever attended a conference?
83)Did you read a paper?
84)Did you attend all the presentations?
85)Did you ask a question?
86)Have you ever used the word "verisimilitude"?
87)Can you count in Roman numerals?
88)Have you ever had a book review published?
89)In a newspaper?
90)Have you ever MSTed a textbook?
91)Have you ever attended a RenFest?
92)Do you pronounce "Sorbonne" like an American or a Frenchman?
93)Have you ever bought bottled water?
94)Have you ever drunk Perrier?
95)Is Guinness Stout the only beer you drink?
96)Did you major in philosophy or literature?
97)Have you ever read Beowulf?
98)In Old English?
99) Have you ever bought Let's Go Europe?
100)Do you apologize for the existence of Western Civilization?

* It is, in fact, a 44. Which I determined the easy way by setting up an Excel page with the questions and using 1 and 0 for my answers. One quick =sum later, I had my score. Sigh.

**Nowhere in the test does it mention using "supra" instead of "above" in casual writing. But that one's probably on the "Utter Preteniousness Test."

***David will probably disagree with me on what my answer to that one should be.


Marsosudiro said...

Thanks for joining the movement!

Oh, and thanks for reminding about the purity test.

When I was an undergrad, the dad of one of my housemates chatted with us about the test when he was visiting. "I don't think of myself as a prude," he said, "but some of the things in those questions!" He was a university professor. All I could think of was, "Oh, Lord -- if only my parents were the sort who would understand the test and think it was funny, instead of feeling like they needed to tell their parish priest."

Not that all professors should be considered as hip as my friend's dad. Another friend had to explain to a professsor (who was about to become her father-in-law) what a "dildo" was when it came up in conversation about the music group Steely Dan.

Leta said...

Oh my goodness! Another thing I can be grateful never happened to me.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. What about those who regarded the test as puerile and therefore reveled in it?

Although I've seen a few different versions of this, by the time I'd been at the Maryversity for a couple of years my score had gone about as low as I needed it to go. Given the other items on the list (with one or two exceptions theoretically open to negotiation) my reaction to them tends to be "er ... no thanks" with a couple of "HELL no" ones tossed in there as well. My score has not markedly changed in the last 20 years. We'll see about the next 20 :D


David Gorsline said...

I'm afraid you lose one point for doing it in Excel.

"Did you fail the math portion of the GRE?" indeed! You can't fail any portion of the GRE.

Anonymous said...

Oh my. The Purity Test.

You may have forgotten a group of people -- older students who administer the purity test to newer students with the goal of (a) learning who might be 'not so fussy' or (b) hitting on someone directly. Or maybe it was only Reed sophmore males who did that.

I scored a 56 on the egghead test. I had a deeply geeky but well educated youth.

And I decline to answer my purity test score.

Anonymous said...

30 on the egghead test.

Yes, I remember the purity test. I'm trying to think which category I would fall into... I saw it more as a self-discovery / self-help tool.

These days there are 500-question purity tests with way too many drug questions. They've ruined it entirely.


Maureen said...

I do wonder about a few of those questions (e.g., 54, 55 and 58). Does a yes answer count if you read Beowulf or memorized a poem as a homework assignment?

And the microfilm/fiche question is probably going to become ever more obsolete as more and more libraries get the funds to go digital.

I only scored a 22 or 23, and I certainly felt like a humanities geek in college. 120-odd hours' worth of foreign language credits, a folk dancer and choir groupie - that's some kinda geek.

As for the purity test; first of all, would someone please proofread the version on the link you posted?! (Sorry, that's my inner editor crying out.) The version circulating when I was in college was similar but much shorter; only 15 or 20 questions, IIRC.

Anonymous said...

> Does a yes answer count if you read Beowulf or memorized a poem as a homework assignment?

Also does Beowabbit count? What if I have my own copy and have read it more than once?