Saturday, April 23, 2005

Noam Chomsky is my uncle

I just love being hit on by really stupid people. I went to a late night dance last night, and this guy in a stiff, white button-up shirt was telling me all about his adventures as his webmaster J.O.B. and how he was late to the dance because of work. After that thrilling story, he explained to me that his name was Jeff and not Geoff. I replied, "Who but Noam Chomsky would care about how you spell your name?" He was really surprised. Kind of giggling, he asked, "Wow! How do you know Noam Chomsky?"

Let's ignore the fact for a moment that Noam Chomsky has published a number of best-selling books on topics ranging from propaganda in the media to the hegemony of the U.S. I'll admit, I know who he is because of Chomsky-Normal form, a language construct I learned as a wee EE major in some 200-level course in 1996. Because I'm a 5'6'' blonde girl who knows how to dress fashionably and dance, it's completely inconceivable to Jeff-Not-Geoff that I would know Noam Chomsky because I couldn't possibly have read any books or have no knowledge of fundamental linguistics.

So I said, "He's my uncle."

He said, "Really?" He paused with a confused look. "Wait, isn't he kind of old to be your uncle?"

I said, "Well, he had a couple of illegitimate kids. One of them is my mom's sister."

And that was that. On the one hand, it was fun being able to convince him of such an idiotic lie. On the other, it was frustrating that to look at me, I am nothing more than a brainless girl with a big rack.

I have a solution to all of this. In my recent participation with advocacy groups for girls in science, I've found that all of them want to be ballistics experts. Why? Thanks to a little television show called C.S.I. What the CS field really needs is a television show with hot , fashionable, yet sassy chicks programming computers instead of swabbing for DNA. Then there will be more women in CS than ever before and poor jerks like Jeff-Not-Geoff will know better than to assume that women don't know who Noam Chomsky is.

1 comment:

Female Science Professor said...

This is hilarious. I read it yesterday and am still laughing. It reminded me of a favorite activity of my youth -- making genius guys at parties believe very stupid things just because they assumed I couldn't be smart. Great fun. Your episode reminded me of the time I convinced a guy that my grandfather invented the blender, and I made up all sorts of stuff about the physics of blending. He nodded a lot, pretending that he understood all this physics stuff, being a guy and all.