Some years ago I went to a teaching clinic for some sliding scale counseling. I was going through a rough bit, emotionally and financially, so they were the only real choice. In addition to counseling, they required that I do an IQ test. It didn’t make much sense, except that being a teaching institution, I figured it was more for the students than for me, and it was part of the price for cheap therapy.
One of the questions on the test was “who wrote Faust?” I remember thinking, this has nothing to do with intelligence. There was a section on manipulating little shapes and deciding which orientation went next, some math, some language, but the cultural literacy part seemed so skewed. There are people far more brilliant than I who don’t know who wrote Faust. The dude administering the test didn’t know (I spelled Goethe for him to write down) but that didn’t make him a less effective counselor. He helped me a lot; he was plenty smart enough for the task at hand.
Ever since then, I think of IQ tests as bullshit, especially the bourgeois section that didn’t test for anything so much as a classical, liberal arts education. I felt good about my score, and needed a little ego boost at the time, but it’s not a measure of how smart I am or am not.