There’s Still No Such Thing As Intelligence: A Prologue and Curriculum Vitae


The man of ressentiment is neither upright nor naive nor honest and straightforward with himself. His soul squints; his spirit loves hiding places, secret paths and back doors, everything covert entices him as his world, his security, his refreshment; he understands how to keep silent, how not to forget, how to wait, how to be provisionally self-deprecating and humble. A race of such men of ressentiment is bound to become eventually cleverer than any noble race; it will also honor cleverness to a far greater degree: namely, as a condition of existence of the first importance; while with noble men cleverness can easily acquire a subtle flavor of luxury and subtlety—for here it is far less essential than the perfect functioning of the regulating unconscious instincts or even than a certain imprudence, perhaps a bold recklessness whether in the face of danger or of the enemy, or that enthusiastic impulsiveness in anger, love, reverence, gratitude, and revenge by which noble souls have at all times recognized one another.

-Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals

Dear readers,

Why did I quit this blog? Well, because I was hurting. I was hurt by a neighbor who stalked, abused, and bullied me for the better part of a year. I had no recourse; in fact, for a very long time, I did not know what precisely was going on. To this day, I have no real legal recourse, despite having filed numerous police reports and having sought any and all legal advice I could obtain for free. Being stalked and attacked was deeply traumatic, and has had serious repercussions for myself and my wife.

In order for me to move on with my life, it’s essential that I tell the whole story. In order to tell that story, I need to first list the various fun-but-not-fundamental accomplishments that made this neighbor, one Sergio Huerta, so angry that he felt forced to dedicate himself to ruining my life:

I began school at the age of four. My birthday is in November.

At nine years old, I was doing beginning algebra, and tested at an adult level in reading and writing.

I skipped sixth grade, which I deeply regret. My blog post about that is here.

At ten, I scored a 1300 (out of 1600) on the SAT. I also worked at the California Department of Education.

At twelve, I was studying the cognitive and affective differences in the ways middle school students reacted to various kinds of exams.

At thirteen, I was the best chess player in my small town. I graduated high school with a USCF rating near 1500.

At sixteen, I began my freshman year at Stanford University.

At nineteen, I was working on various writing and speechwriting assignments in collaboration with other staff at the White House, on behalf of Al Gore. I also studied creative writing, film, Restoration literature, Modernism, and art history at Oxford.

I worked as a budget analyst for the Employment Development Department in California, monitoring and helping to allocate approximately 30 million dollars of public money annually. While at EDD, I happened to investigate and discover the Oracle scandal about a month before it was public knowledge in California. I’m still proud of this.

After taking two years off to travel (in Europe and Southeast Asia) and to write, I began studying for my doctorate, at the age of 23. I received my doctorate eight years later, at the age of 31, from the University of California, Irvine. My dissertation was centered around James Joyce’s novel Finnegans Wake.

I became a blogger. I was published or mentioned by The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, InsideHigherEd, and PopMatters, as well as by various other sites you’ve never heard of.

I was involved in numerous blog wars, none of which anybody won. War is a terrible thing.

Two translations I published online have since appeared in print — one was an English translation of a German poem by Gunter Grass, and the other was a translation of a French poem by Stephane Mallarme. I do not know how to make umlauts or dashes on a PC keyboard.

In the meantime, I supported myself in a variety of ways: teaching, tutoring, and poker. My reviews on were generally negative. I would describe the reviews of my pseudonymous poker play as “bewildered.”

I also taught summer school at Phillips Academy, in Andover, for eight years. I was very happy there.

I got married in 2009, was divorced in 2012, and re-married in 2014. I have been happily married ever since.

I began teaching English at Hopkins School in 2013.

I have never taken an official IQ test; informally, I usually test somewhere around 136.

I’ve already blogged about all of this in my “skipping grades” post, as well as in my “there is no such thing as intelligence” post. The quote below is from David Thompson’s post “There’s No Such Thing As Intelligence?“:

It’s possible, for instance, to find people who are (or will be) employed precisely because of their above average intelligence performing elaborate contortions to deny the existence of the intelligence they possess. Joseph Kugelmass, an English graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, displays his egalitarian credentials in an article titled There Is No Such Thing As Intelligence.

I wrote that post in 2007, and Thompson responded in (approximately) the year 1865.

In 2013, in the textbook Psychology, Richard Malott and Donald Whaley wrote the following:

There’s no such thing as intelligence. We say a person is intelligent, but we mean the person acts intelligently. There is one correct way to use the word “intelligent” — as an adverb describing how people act. We shouldn’t say people have a high intelligence inside them causing them to act in an intelligent manner. (294)

They did not cite me, which is OK.

I should point out that it is not merely these various things that made my neighbor so angry. It made him angry that I didn’t care about them — or, in his parlance, that I “pretended” not to care about them — and that I hadn’t “lived up to them.” This is a very common theme in conversations with people like my neighbor, and there are, unfortunately, a lot of people like him.

More soon. I’m back, dear readers, but for now…

Kugelmass out.