How to appear smarter than you are

How to appear smarter than you are

CultureJuly 29, 2013

Not everyone is blessed with a mind powerful enough to fit in with the geniuses of the world, so faking it moves its way out of the bedroom and into the social circles of the intelligent. For some, faking intelligence is a necessity, for others a pastime, and for the rare few, an art. Follow the tips below and become the Warhol of shamming the intelligent.

“Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.” 
You know who said that? Oscar Wilde. If you don’t have some quotes sitting in your back pocket, then you better get some. We’re not talking Carl Rove or Paris Hilton here. To sound intelligent, you need intelligent quotes. Use quotes of literary, scientific or historical significance (correctly), and you’re one step closer to faking your way to a Nobel Prize. Please don’t use, “Is this chicken, what I have here, or is this fish? I know it’s tuna, but it says ‘Chicken of the Sea.’” Try something more along the lines of Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination,” or the wise words of noted sociologist Charles Cooley, “I am not what I think I am and I am not what you think I am; I am what I think you think I am.”

A Jack of All Trades…
The more topics you can talk about and form an opinion on, the less likely you are to get caught faking your brain’s abilities. Score the ability to hold some semblance of a conversation on science, sports, culture, cars, history, math, politics, entertainment, religion, geography, technology and any other topic that may come up by at least following some news so you’ll never be left speechless. Try and stay away from flaunting your knowledge of porn stars, drugs and reality TV. “Smart” people hate reality TV. At least in public.

…Master of – One
Want to feel even smarter and render your subordinates speechless? Master one specific subject to the point that you may out-talk anyone not in the field. The more random and unique the field, the less likely you are to bump into someone who can match your prodigious proficiency. Do be careful of the subject you pick. Rambling on about the intricacies and merits of “World of Warcraft” or nail polish, unless in the right crowd, isn’t going to fool anyone.

Did He/She Just…?
Part of faking anything is being sure the people whom you are duping expect your pseudo intellect before you open your mouth. If your audience expects you to be intelligent, you’re much more likely to get away with your ruse. To this end, show some goddamned class. Whether it’s right or wrong, class and intelligence are often linked, which is an advantage you can’t afford to dismiss. Don’t swear or use slang, spit or chew gum, burp or fart (noisily), or be too fucking cheeky. Finish your words, enunciate and, if you must, watch “Downton Abbey” and follow the Crawley family’s lead, except for that Lady Mary; she’s a bad egg.

Say What You Mean…
How are you doing today? Good did you say? You’ve just been caught. You’re doing well. Please try and remember. Google it if you don’t understand. Google the word grammar while you’re at it, and try to get a decent grasp on the concept. The only thing that could cover up your horrific grammar is a sterling British accent, so get on practicing that if grammar is just too hard. Here’s hoping you can learn that from the Crawleys too.

…And Mean What You Say
No matter what you say, if you can say it with an unyielding confidence then you will have a chance to swindle the swindlers. Don’t let them smell doubt or fear, because they’ll eat you alive. Be sure every sentence leaving your mouth is well thought out, calculated, precise and efficient. Every word should have a purpose. Cat got your tongue? There’s nothing wrong with silence. Leave um for the ’brellas, the likes on Facebook and the ya knows for Snooki.

Idiot Proof Your Idioms
Every time someone says, “I could care less” instead of, “I couldn’t care less” somewhere a little part of humanity dies. Please listen to yourself. It just doesn’t make sense. Same goes for all intents and purposes, and the incessant use of the word literally when you mean figuratively. Others phrases you likely mess up: hunger pangs not hunger pains, it’s a moot point not a mute point, and case in point not case and point. For all intents and purposes, nip these mistakes in the bud (not butt) before you go into public wreaking havoc on the intelligent folk of the world.

Have An Opinion-On Everything
No matter the topic, be ready to inject your two cents. Don’t have an opinion on the subject? Ask questions until you do. At least with an opinion worth shit you can feign interest and possibly convince your audience that you’ve considered the merits of the argument. Pick a side, and attempt to defend it. Sitting on the fence of an argument is a good way to rip open your genitals. Yes, that actually happens.

Veni Vidi Vici
Infusing some exotic foreign language words or quotes into your next conversation can score major brownie points on the intelligence scale. French for words of love, German for words of drinking, Spanish for fun and a dead language for wisdom. For example:
“Last night my boyfriend said he wanted a threesome. But there’s no way he meant it. He was probably just drunk.”
“In vino veritas.”
“What does that mean?”
“‘There is truth in wine.’”
“What’s that, French?”
“Ahhh, no. Latin. And I’m pretty sure he does want a threesome.”
“Oh. Where’d you learn that?”
“The Latin was self-taught, and your boyfriend wanting a threesome I learned last night when he asked me to be a part of it.”

Lexis
If you have yet to uncover the remarkable capacity a thesaurus can have on your discourse, explore its copious benefits now. The more befuddling your verbose speech becomes, the more sophisticated your remarks seem. Beware, however, because if you inundate your speech patterns with garrulous vernacular, you imperil your true implications to be squandered useless among the masses. Perhaps stick to one or two multifarious words per sitting.
  —Phil Turner