How to be an Intellectual

So you’ve done it, you’ve persuaded the powers at be that you have what it takes. The only problem is your personal statement was  fictitious, the last book you managed to finish was in the Harry Potter series, and this summer your literary exploits extended as far as the captions of Classical Art Memes. But fear not, here are three texts to make you look oh-so-intellectual. As for appearing intellectual, let these top tips help you reach your ultimate intellectual goals.

The Odyssey by Homer

If you’ve come all the way to University on the Megabus, you’re already halfway to understanding The Odyssey. This epic poem sits at over 12,000 lines so nobody will question you for making up one or two up. Written in ‘dactylic hexameter’, what else do you need to know?

The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels

The bread and butter of the faux-intellectual, just tuck this gem under your arm and carry it wherever you go. Even better, buy a few copies and scatter them nonchalantly about the flat. You haven’t read it, but who has? Chances are if you’re discussing money or class you can shoehorn Marx in there somewhere. Dropping “bourgeoisie” or “proletarian” into an offhand comment is guaranteed to spice things up. Best of luck, comrade.

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

Producing an obscure text is the essential pulling power of the faux-intellectual. This ‘innovative’ gem is written in vernacular Italian, rather than Latin, making it so accessible, y’know? The text’s author is where we get the term “Machiavellian” from, a fact bound to impress.

Top Tips for Appearing Intellectual:

1.) The Knowing Chuckle: when reading, try out the knowing chuckle. If someone asks exactly what you found so amusing you can save yourself with the knowing shake of the head, because you just haven’t the words.

2.) First Name Terms: the top faker will know that to appear intellectual it’s key to maintain a first name basis with everyone. Why not try out this technique with critics? Rather than saying “Marx says…” use “Karl says…” or “Karl and I agree that…” because whilst you’ve never actually met any of the literary greats, of course you would have been the best of friends.

3.) Use Your Books: Furry layers of post-it notes line the pages of your texts as you plonk them intimidating on the table. This sound is the fanfare to the arrival of the intellectual.

4.) The Nod: non-verbal communication is essential to the faux-intellectual, if only because it allows you to contribute to a discussion without actually contributing anything at all, you’re not bored, you’re absorbed!

Will Hoole


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