Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Become a pseudointellectual in five easy steps

Want to impress your friends with your intellectuality? Want to make them think you're educated and smart while putting in a minimal amount of effort? Then follow my easy five-step guide, and you, too, will be a pseudointellectual!

1. Read the New York Times Best Seller lists every week.

There really is no need to actually read any books to make others believe you are well-read. Chances are, they don't read either. So simply glance over the lists and just mention that The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman is still doing well and you're set.

2. Mention an Anthony Lane movie review in the New Yorker.

Lane is just about the biggest schmuck out there. But his critic cred is damn high, and he writes for the epitome of liberal elitism. Bonus points if you say that he can't escape the shadow of Pauline Kael.

3. Utter the phrase "the neoconservative assault on American foreign policy."

No one will know what the hell you're talking about. That's the goal. They will simply assume that YOU know what you're talking about and will not ask any questions. Trust me.

4. Occasionally listen to a Terry Gross interview on NPR's Fresh Air.

NPR is the one-stop source for pseudointellectuals. And Terry Gross is an NPR icon. It's the perfect combination. But if you're in a hurry, you need only paraphrase their website: "Did you hear Terry Gross's interview with bioethics expert Christopher Thomas Scott, who explores in his new book Stem Cell Now the possibilities of what some consider the greatest discovery since nuclear fusion: the isolation of embryonic stem cells for research?"

5. Take a gander at the MoMA website from time to time.

For example, right now you could engage a friend in the following conversation:

You: I'm going to New York this weekend to check out the John Szarkowski exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.

Friend: Who?

You: John Szarkowski. He is one of the most influential photography curators and critics of the twentieth century.

Friend: Oh. Really?

You: Yeah, he also took some stunning photos. Early on, most of his pictures were shot in his native Midwest. Later in his career, most of his photos were taken on his farm in upstate New York.

Friend: Wow. That's interesting.

I guarantee that this will be the end of the conversation. Your friend will be totally fooled.


So there you have it. But I must warn you. Do not try these tips around true intellectuals. You will quickly be discovered for the fraud that you are.


At 1:23 AM, Blogger Pete said...

Hoooooooooooooooly shit!

Welcome back, cat.

I'm pleasantly surprised. This is truly an occasion. The blogosphere has reclaimed one of its leading authors.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger jeffro said...

please become a pseudoregular poster again!

good post, yo!

At 8:19 PM, Blogger CCHarmony said...

Yeah! Glad you're back. Hope you're doing ok.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Pete said...

Now that I've recovered from the shock of your return, let me comment on your post:

I'm guessing you have run into a lot of these pseudointellectuals who have pissed you off lately?

Did you call them on their shit and tell them you have read The World Is Flat?


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