Saturday, January 30, 2010

Smart kids on TV

I'm watching an episode of Star King right now (it's like, I don't know, Korean Star Search type thing, but in more of a variety show format?).

Anyhow, they gathered a group of little kids from Korea, China and Japan who are like abacus champs or some other, and have them calculating like calculators on the show. Besides being ridiculously skilled at the abacus they can calculate fast without the abacus (having a string of numbers flashed at them and calculate the totals, and such) and are also champs in those number memorization contest type things they hold.

I'm not denying these are some smart as kids, and watching the Korean rep kid blink and nod his head like an android and the Chinese girl mime at an invisible abacus as the numbers flash by the second as they calculate sums up in the four digits is kind of creepy yes, but I gotta feel sorry for the kids. I mean, I'm not denying that they might actually want to do this and be the best at what they do, but at the same time it's got that "make this kid be a parlor trick" feel to it.

Reminds me of what I read about smart kids being susceptible to that whole imposter complex. Can you imagine these kids being prepped to churn out numbers like this all the time? And being known as "that" kid? Like I can imagine bullies being all, "well what's 5,345,555 plus 223,445,234? *punches kid in the stomach* Too slow!"

They go on the tournament circuit, do well for themselves, but then what kind of person do they grow up to be or how do they feel about only being known as that kid good with numbers? Eh, I mean they probably grow up and become like Nobel Prize winning mathematicians or something, but maybe not all of them. I can imagine some of them realizing they can memorize the hell out of a string of numbers and adding it together but realizing they have no idea how to socialize (or maybe they wanted to and never had the chance to). And what about if they're just not good at math in that way? The prodigy/genius treatment has got to suck when you realize you don't live up to somebody else's expectation of what that exactly means, or on the other hand having to deal with others expectations when you have your own.

Or, who the hell cares I suppose. I don't know. I just felt bad watching the Japanese kid who had a look like Ivan Drago on his face the whole time.

On the other hand who cares I suppose


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