Because A Smart Girl is a Sexy Girl

True story: A few years ago, while living in Taiwan, I was sitting in a bar discussing travel with some friends of mine. They were detailing the ridiculously rutted and bumpy road that connects Cambodia and Vietnam.And instead of cooing consolation over their six hour bus ride from hell, my thought process was “Wait. What? Isn’t Vietnam an island? Isn’t, like, every country in Southeast Asia an island?”

This was the extent of my knowledge of Geography, whilst actually living in Southeast Asia.

Good lord.

Since this rather humiliating experience I’ve started making a more active effort to avoid brain rot. Now, I’m not saying we should give up on The Real Housewives of New Jersey or speak only in four syllable words, but a smart girl is a sexy girl, no?

Some of my favorite ways to stave off the stupid?

Salon, Slate and The Morning News – Well written feature pieces, current events, and headlines from around the world. In a much more friendly, consumable format than CNN.

Free Rice – Take quizzes on a variety of subjects. Each right answer earns a few grains of rice for the UN World Food Program. I’m a sucker for the vocabulary quizzes, but should really be dabbling in the pre-algebra area. Uggg.

The Daily Show – Eye candy and brain candy all rolled into one! My boyfriend Jon Stewart makes politics delicious and nutritious.

This American Life – I’m not sure exactly how listening to The Best Radio Show in The Land makes me smarter. Maybe it just makes me a more compassionate, involved human being. Or maybe I just love me some Ira Glass.

Reading Non-Fiction – Because truth is often so much more fascinating than fiction. If I really want to geek out, I read anthropological case studies (what?!)

What do you do to feed your head? And are you willing to share some of your most epic brain farts?

19 Comments

Erin

Mine is prehistoric Epic with a capital E. In college, in an honors class, I was writing an essay answer during a final, and actually referred to humans as homo erectus. It hit me like a truck literally moments after I turned in my test, but by then it was too late.

I like Vanity Fair—the writing is great, and the subjects are either informative or just plain fun. And of course, NPR’s Morning Edition on the way to work.

Reply
Beth

I will admit that most of my recent knowledge comes from Blogs and the New Yorker.

My favorite way to expand my horizons is by reading biographies. Biographies of anybody, but mostly artists and world explorers. They’ve had such interesting lives, you know?

I do listen to NPR when I’m in the car (which is extremely rarely), but I just have a lot of trouble getting involved in world politics. I’d rather know who’s hot on the art scene, thanks.

Reply
ML

I’m a huge fan of Salon, also. I like to read a lot of non-fiction books, particularly on psychology. I love reading Psychology Today, and I also really like the New Yorker. Basically I just try to keep reading a lot as a means of staving off moron moments, haha. It’s not too hard since I’m still in school and doing a massive amount of reading as an English major…but I def have my moments anyway.

Pronouncing words incorrectly is a sad effect of reading a hella lot. Embarrassing high school faux-pas? Pronouncing facade like FAH-CAYDE. oops. More recently, I’ve cursed my car for not going into gear…when the keys were not in the ignition. Not my finest moment.

Reply
Anne (in Reno)

I have been giving myself a little art history class in my spare time (now that I am not actually in school, still a weird concept). I am doing it mostly via biographies, although I will say it is hard to find a decent Da Vinci biography. My fave so far is by a late-Renaissance/early Mannerist artist named Cellini – it is his AUTObiography and according to him, he may or may not have started/ended some wars, saved some lives and won a lot of bar fights. Not the art history I expected, let me just say. Also Irving Stone did some decent “historical fiction” type biographies, they are predominantly based on letters so they are pretty darn legit. His Michelangelo biography is one of my favorite books of all time.

Also I like slate and msnbc for internet news, then I don’t need to watch sensationalist tv news all the time for information. No NPR though, I like to listen to music when I’m in the car.

Reply
Penny

I have the same thing with geography – absolutely TERRIBLE. But I’m now trying new things all the time to improve my brain. To be honest, I love learning new things so I’m always finding new palces to learn.

Reply
Nicola

Ah, I love Jon Stewart. I’ve been meaning to catch up on The Daily Show.

I read mostly fiction but lately I’ve started reading a fiction and a non-fiction book in tandem, so that when I finish one I have to finish the other, or when one gets dull I can switch. Seems to work so far! I’m reading The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner, next up are Randy Pausch and Obama’s books.

Then there’s my boyfriend, who keeps me up-to-date on the world’s latest biological discoveries, which is mostly way over my head but overall very interesting!

Reply
The Naked Redhead

I am always in some sort of class. Improv, acting, marketing, tap, literature…whatever. I keep telling myself that I will NEVER go to school again, since I’m about done with my Masters, but I keep looking over class lists at the local university and saying to myself, “Hmmm, that looks interesting!” I especially love free or very inexpensive classes, all of which are provided right in my little city. Good stuff!

Reply
Anonymous

My friend ,about two years ago, thought that the WHOLE WORLD only consisted of Canada and the United States. She thought everywhere besides Canada was in the US.
yes, im serious, and we’re 16.

I like Free Rice too! Also i find that i use google a lot to reasearch anything i find interesting.

Reply
positively present

Love this post and I also love Free Rice! 🙂 It’s a great site. I do my best to try to learn from as much as I can, but I’ve resolved to accept the fact that I’m not going to know everything. I have to focus on the things that are most important to me. Thank God for Google! 😉

Reply
Afef

Thanks for the Free Rice link! 🙂 I’m definately going to get hooked on it! I lovee to feed my brain through Wikipedia (i sometimes spend hours on it jumping from link to link!) When i was a kid i had this encarta CD which i had learned the stuff on it almost by heart (i had no internet back then!) 😛 … Local History Books are also a nice brain treat 😉

Reply
niceguyted

Yes: Without a doubt, a smart girl is a sexy girl. There's nothing more un-sexy to this particular Y chromosome possessor than an airhead. <– But that's affirming the consequent or some such illogical gobbledy-gook, isn't it? To stay on the positive side: there's nothing that makes a girl hotter (in my opinion) than an extensive vocabulary.

And fishnets. I like fishnet stockings, too.

Reply
You Are My Fave

Sometimes I just have to stop myself from saying things out loud or nobody would believe I’m a college graduate. Doesn’t listening to anything on NPR make you seem super smart?

Reply
Helene

I lived my life in a city with a harbour. My whole life. And this harbour was a significant wordly-harbour.

When I was fourteen while we were learning about the Halifax Explosion, I asked my teacher in front of my whole class, “Yeah but HOW do the ships get INTO the harbour?”

Reply
Cat

mmm I love me some TAL!

There’s an inter.view show here in Canada called The Hour that features celebrities and politicians but also authors and random “important people” that no ones ever heard of. I feel like this show helps me stay in-the-loop. (www.cbc.ca/thehour)

and then there are documentaries. mmm can’t get enough of them!

Reply
Anonymous

I love learning. Even while I was doing my master's, the course content was just not enough to satiate. That is when and how I first stumbled upon OpenCourseWare. I started with a course from the
MIT labs,
and have since kept busy with several others in a full spectrum of topics. Check them out!

Reply
Morag Lee

A few years ago I used to be really up-to-date with what was happening; even having information that was beyond the mainstream news sites. But since I've moved away from media (aka moved out my parents and cannot afford a TV)I've become less so informed. Most of my news comes form Twitter, blogs or my Facebook news feed.

I am trying to actively change this by at least clicking onto BBC News once a week (I must go look if the UK newspapers have Facebook)and by getting back into reading (I have a un-read pile about the size of me, which is 5ft5). xx

Reply

Leave a comment