Being an intellectual in college is fun. Not only will your teachers give you better grades if they think you really care, but people of the opposite sex might actually sleep with you if you seem like you know about books and stuff. Of course, actually caring about things is way too hard, so here are some quick tips—shortcuts if you will. Use them, and you’re on the road to a successful college career.
1. Go the biggest library in your area. Walk around very slowly. Then, when anybody asks you about a book you haven't read, you can say: “I've looked at it.”
2. If someone brings up an author and you've actually read one of his books, make sure to use the word “only.”
Oh, Raymond Chandler? Yeah, I've only read The Big Sleep.
3. Liking things is terrible. It makes you look like an idiot. Not liking things is the only way to be smart. This really puts you in a bind when someone asks you what you like. When this happens, use words like “only” and “really” and “oh.”This implies that you've read everything by every other author.
What movies do you like?
-I only really like films from the Hungarian New Wave.-What books do you like?
-Oh, I’m picky. I only really like Kafka.
4. When saying something that everybody knows, just pretend that it's your opinion.
I really do think that Shakespeare was the most important playwright of all time.
5. When saying something that is probably total bullshit, pretend that it's something everybody knows.
I know I'm not the first to point this out, but Ibsen was probably influenced by the Hungarian New Wave.
6. If people are talking about an artist and you don't have something useful to add to the
conversation, just point out the medium that the artist worked in. This never fails.
-I think Shakespeare was also commenting on what the theater IS.
-I think Joyce is also really interested in the nature of what the novel really IS.
7. If you want to embarrass somebody, just tell them that their favorite author is “too self-referential.” Nobody knows what this really means, just that it’s insulting.
8. Never underestimate the power of silly voices. You can always get a laugh by taking any random label and adding the word “post” in front of it with a silly voice.
(Capital letters indicate silly voice)
-It's totally a POST-novel.
-That's so POST-feminist.
9. If you’re in class and you don't have anything to say, just raise your hand and paraphrase what the teacher just said. Say it in a questioning tone to make it believable.
10. Agreeing with people is bad—almost as bad as liking things. Disagreement will always make you look smarter. If you can't find a reason to disagree with someone, just tell them that a famous author would disagree with them were he/she still around.
Well I think T.S. Eliot would disagree with you there.
(Note: A silly voice may also be implemented in this scenario. If you make this decision, use it on the “I THINK”)
11. Women your age don't want to feel like you respect their intellectual capabilities. So it's good if you feel like you constantly have to belittle them. A good strategy for this is to say that you liked the things that they like when you were much younger.
The Velvet Underground? No way, they were my favorite band when I was twelve.
(Note: A silly voice will do you no good in this situation. This a tactic best played straight.)
12. You can always tell someone they're wrong by insisting that what they've said isn't vague and abstract enough.
-I think the fool in Shakespeare is there to destabilize the language.
-Well… I think the fool is there to do a lot of other things too.-I think Godard is concerned with the politics of the self.
-Well… he's concerned with a lot of other things too.-I think Pinter wants to show the absurdity of basic human existence.
-Well… he wants to show a lot of other things too.
13. Pick five or six books at random. Begin assuming that anyone worth anything has read these books. Work this assumption into your conversations. In fact, if you get good at this, you can pretend like you’re making observations without actually saying anything.
-It reminds me of Moby Dick, you know what I mean?
-That’s totally like Sade’s Justine, no?
14. Pick a random cheap beer. Convince yourself that this is the only beer that is both good AND cheap. Chastise anyone who ever drinks any other cheap beer.
15. Pick a random girl. Decide that she is the love of your life. Begin referring to her in conversation as Beatrice. When you finally are introduced to her at a party, follow the directions above and you will have no problem getting totally laid.
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