Friday, September 01, 2006

Tech Fans: Behind the Curtain

(Finally the article that I have been deliberating on since starting this blog. The article that will pull me off of other Tech blog rolls, get me banned from GT message boards, and fill my inbox with poorly punctuated, yet highly mathematic, vitriol. Obviously not all of this true, unless it is.)

While Orson might have prepped our Irish friends for their trip to Atlanta, what he didn’t adequately prepare them for was actually dealing with Tech fans. Considering the amount of time that we will spend together this Saturday, I believe it important for the Domers to understand what it is that makes the average Tech fan tick. How exactly we go about our lives and what is the impetus for how the why and how of our behavior.

I give unto you Tech Fans: Behind the Curtain

I drive . . . I drive . . . I drive a Dodge Stratus! No quote has better summed up the thought process of the average engineer quite like the gem above. The truth is that Tech is a hard school (not as hard as some make it out to be and I’ll touch on that later), but in truth it pretty much prepares most of us for boring non-fulfilling middle manager positions that many lack the social or tactical ability to escape. Go and watch that clip again, and not only because it’s hysterical, the slow build up to anger is quintessential middle-aged engineer. Lucky for the visiting fan there is one universal truth at work here; there is no funnier rage than bitter impotent rage. If you want to see something really special make some comment about how you think your school is better than ours. I would keep a minimum safe distance of about 10 feet. Not really because of potential violence, but the spittle associated with that level of histrionic sputtering and chest thumping can reach some impressive distances.
(Picture:) People are afraid of me!

My boy doesn’t have what you call the social skills. Interacting with the Tech fan socially can be an interesting and educational experience. While we are exceedingly intelligent within chosen vocations, there are certain levels of “social retardation” that are seemingly related to these traits. For instance the portion of the brain that says “don’t wear a short sleeve button down shirt with a tie” is woefully underdeveloped. Unfortunately we seem unable to turn our powerful deductive reasoning skills inward as to why our social lives do not turn out the way we wish for them to be. Deciding instead to surround ourselves with self-fulfilling prophecies and blatant falsehoods. The greatest of these being that while at Tech you had no time for a social life. We like to make it appear that we were regularly placed within a burlap sack and beaten with reeds for our insolence. The truth is that we spent most Saturday nights in our dorms chatting with the ever charming and understanding IvanaHumpalott who more likely than not was a 500-pound Russian refugee named Ivan.

A great philosopher once said, “Rationalizations are more important than sex.” When challenged that nothing is more important than sex he wisely responded, “ever been a week without a rationalization?” As we don’t get laid anyway, trust me when I say that we fill that void with rationalizations. In fact much like the doting mother protecting their child, Tech fans are at their greatest skills in weaving half-truths when lying to themselves. Clearly the other kids are making fun of your completely sweet silk Wolverine tie, because you’re smarter than they and that threatens them. (Uh, not that I know anything about that.)

The Sin of Being Incorrect: Engineers are taught from the earliest stages of their education that there is no greater sin in this world than being wrong. And with good reason as you might have heard of a few rounding mistakes in engineering: The Hindenburg, Challenger, Columbia, Chernobyl, etc. Unfortunately, we’ve allowed this attitude to carry over into the softer sciences like psychology, politics, and football. We then mingle this delightful fear of falsity with the aforementioned handicap in the area of the social graces and create a concoction in which arrogance plied by willful ignorance is mistaken for confidence. Thus be prepared to see otherwise rational people unwilling to give up the silliest stances on subjects all because of the abject fear of being incorrect.

(Picture: Should have carried the one.)

Be Prepared!

So when you combine all of this together you get an interesting hodge-podge of existence. A being possessing a broad range of ability, but sometimes woefully short of application. A creature with an over inflated sense of entitlement, but without the vocabulary to explain why. For instance while Tech Fans might try to convince you that we don’t like Domers, because of historical rivalry, running up the score, fish throwing, etc. The truth is that whenever Notre Dame fans are around we’re no longer the most undeservedly arrogant person in the room.

And if you’re not first, you’re last. So welcome to campus, bitches.


Blogger Jeff said...

Christ, Dan, that was perfect.

I never thought of the connection between Tech folks' hardheadedness and "engineering ethics" (which I learned basically means, as you said, NEVER FUCK UP EVER OR PEOPLE WILL DIE).

9:45 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

You have to mingle in the academic competitiveness there as well, but it's why so many Tech folks won't reverse stance in my opinion. If I admitted that I was wrong, then I might not get an A in Prof. Aak;xlktha class.

I find it to be exceedingly infuriating.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

HOW did I miss this earlier. This is spectacular.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Spulture said...

I think this is an interesting post, but it almost sounds like it was written by a UGA fan or something. I'm about your age, so I assume I've been working the same time period, but my experience with Tech alum isn't quite the same. I think you've taken the stereotype that goes with a few peopl and generalized an entire school.

Tech IS a very difficult school. I knew a lot of people who failed out. If your pretty bright, I guess it isn't that tough...I mean, I hardly worked at all and got a degree. But the feeling I got after five years at Tech was that I was just ordinary. This after feeling brighter than everyone else in the room my whole life. It kind of shot my confidence.

Then I ended up in the "real world" and I expected all engineers to be like Tech kids and quickly realized that most of them are fucking morons. Ever met a South Carolina engineer?

Maybe my experience was different because I've never worked in the Atlanta area...I went from Idaho to SC to Texas, and there have only been a few Tech alum in the area. In each case, just having GT on my resume got me in the door for an interview. At my last job, there were 3 Tech alum (other than me) and they held the 3 highest positions in the plant (out of 1000) employees, and I was at the head of my group in under 2 years--and I was like 25 at the time. In my job now I've been advanced to positions that I didn't have the skills/knowledge to do, but people see Tech on the resume and just assume I can pick it up.

I agree totally about the social skills thing...engineers from any place lack that. Being able to write and speak have helped me advance beyond the typical guys who just want to sit in a cube and it's got me into the business end of things rather than being a boring engineer driving a Dodge...instead I'm a bored business type driving a Lexus, where it doesn't matter if I'm incorrect...hell, I just made a long post about Tom Cruise being awesome in my blog. I embrace incorrect.

I don't know that I have a point could be totally dead on about a lot of things, it just doesn't really fit me or my friends...then again we were all slackers who would have majored in English if we weren't money hungry.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that finds humor in Spulture's long boring reply about how he drives a Lexus and how much that Tech degree means and how smart he and his Tech cronies are? And how that somehow Dan's post about Tech fans being 1.boring; 2.rationalizing everything; 3.not admitting mistakes; 4.having an 'overinflated sense of entitlement' and being 'undeservedly arrogant'...doesn't quite apply to him? Haha!
Great post Dan, and as Spulture just proved it, you hit the nail in the head!

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha, Nice post Spulture. You literally just fed into everything posted in the blog about the stereotypical tech grad. Wow, somehow you deviated from your point and went straight to how great your degree is. I could ask a tech fan for a glass of milk and he would hand me a article about how great his degree is. Unbelievable.

A quote from you.Just read it again. I bet the Carolina Engineer has at least touched female breasts before.

"Then I ended up in the "real world" and I expected all engineers to be like Tech kids and quickly realized that most of them are fucking morons. Ever met a South Carolina engineer?"


10:28 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

I've been wondering how PWD didn't find this yet - looks like he has and our cover is blown :(

p.s - NEVER FUCK UP EVER OR PEOPLE WILL DIE should be the Tech slogan. That is so pounded into your head in school I'm deathly afraid of being wrong about anything, ever.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is one huge problem with your post. You seem to assume that all "Tech Fans" or "Tech Students" are engineers or relate to engineering in some way. This is false.

I'm a Tech fan, and a student. And although what you say may in fact be true, it doesn't seem to be true in my circles, since I'm not surrounded by engineers.

This post bothers me in the fact that it makes Tech out to only be an engineering school that produces only engineers. Sure that is what we are known for, but the school is much more broad than it gets credit for. It's as bad as leaning towards the assumption that all UGA grads have Agriculture degrees.

I think you should change the title of the post to "Tech Engineers: Behind the Curtain."

There is always some truth in stereotypes, but this post makes no effort to be fair to a large portion of the Tech Nation that could careless about engineering. Even if we do sing the fight song. It's as bad as posting an article which spends paragraphs saying all UGA fans are rednecks. It's simply not true.

Of course only a member of the Tech Nation would come out and help portray this stereotype and do it on purpose with much thought. I have to hand it to UGA fans, they would never do that. They stick together right or wrong.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

I guess I should add to my post that I the non-engineer students whine as much about feeling marginalized as the whole fanbase whines in general.

The post was a joke, a joke based around stereotypes, but a joke never the less. I'm not going to bother changing the title or spending time making it more accurate. I'm not working for Headline News here.

I will point out that the notion that UGA fans stick together right or wrong is pretty much ridiculous and in no way grounded in fact. All one needs to do is find some archived UGA messageboards after last year's Vandy game.

There is a strong divide in that community among the actual graduates and all of the sidewalk fans.

12:18 PM  

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