Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Pseudo-Intellectual



I talk crap sometimes.

What do you mean “I know”?

I may talk crap, but there is one thing I can definitely say with my hand on my heart – I am not a pseudo-intellectual. Why? Because when I am wrong and when I am stupid, I openly admit it. Furthermore, I don’t try to impress people with ideas that are not my own and I try my best not to use words that have been hastily looked up in a dictionary to impress people.

What is a pseudo-intellectual then?

I’ve mentioned them in this blog before. In my view, a pseudo-intellectual is somebody who tries to act and speak as if they are cultured, intelligent and understand everything about everything, usually using words and phrases that are not used in everyday speech. And of course, they are not intellectual at all. Worse, they actually look down on people like me.

The finest examples of pseudo-intellectuals are found in the art world but they exist everywhere.

Next time you are in a contemporary art gallery try and spot them; it’s easy.

Firstly they are dressed in a weird way and walk around with a crafted intelligent expression that, to the untrained eye, makes them look weird and eccentric but, in their eyes, they are intelligence personified.

The good news is that you can expose them quite easily.

When you see such a person staring intently at a totally irrelevant piece of art just stand next to them and ask the simple question:

“What does it say to you?”

In their mind they will immediately start up the bullshit generator, searching out phrases that they have remembered to express their supposedly intellectual opinions. You will hear something like:

“It speaks to me on a kinetic level; the energy of the piece distorts the magnificence of everything else, almost in a primeval, carnivorous vortex of cybernetic passion. It arouses me.”

Resist the temptation to say “What on earth are you talking about?”

You could expose them easily enough by asking “Do you even know what kinetic means? And what is a carnivorous vortex when it’s at home?”

Or you could have some fun.

Pretend to be thick yet fascinated by their bullshit – and they simply get worse. For example, they will start to quote philosophers.

“Wow! You know your stuff, my friend! You’re so clever!”

“Yes, wasn’t it Hippocrates who said What is a friend? A friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies! It’s so apt, don’t you think?”

The more you praise them the worse they get.

Others look to culture and embrace opera, ballet and other such dreadful pursuits. I once went to an opera to see what all the fuss was about – it was bloody awful.

It went something like this:

Opera Singer 1: I’m going to kill her.

Opera Singer 2: No, don’t kill her.

Opera Singer 1: I’m going to kill her.

Opera Singer 2: No, don’t kill her.

Opera Singer 1: I’m going to kill her.

Opera Singer 2: No, don’t kill her.

Opera Singer 1: Yes I must and I will.

Opera Singer 2: No you won’t.

Opera Singer 1: Yes I will.

Opera Singer 2: No you won’t.

I felt like screaming “For the sake of my sanity – just make your bloody mind up!!”

I have no doubt that if I had, a pseudo-intellectual would have rounded on me and started quoting philosophy to prove I am a cultureless dolt.

I’ve had arguments with these people on a couple of occasions. They assume that I am totally stupid simply because the pursuits I choose to embrace are not, in their view, intellectually stimulating. They, of course, are wrong.

Now I hate to blow my own trumpet, but I regard myself as a pretty intelligent bloke. I have a degree and I work in IT so there must be some intellect in that skull of mine. My problem is that I am slightly geeky, a little nerdy, somewhat weird and very opinionated. And that winds pseudo-intellectuals up very easily.

Take for example the subject of music.

Pseudo–intellectuals regard rock music as the spawn of Satan himself. They assume that because I am a fan of rock guitar that I have no taste and therefore should not be allowed to comment on music.

I have had debates with genuinely clever people about our musical differences and in those cases we have a fun chat, agreeing on some things and disagreeing on others. However, the pseudo–intellectual whose clich├ęd view of rock is that only devil worshippers love it have absolutely no clue.

They do not acknowledge the genius of guitarists like Joe Satriani, the song writing skills of Rush and Dream Theater, the intelligence of bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.

To them, intellectuals only like classical music and opera – and anything else is followed by brainless idiots. In their eyes, I like rock ergo I am thick.

When it comes to art, the same thing applies – I don’t understand why somebody would pay a million pounds for a canvas that has random bits of vomit splashed around on it and they assume that I am thick because of that.

Movies and books are another area where the pseudo-intellectual thrives. They choose only to read books that are reviewed in the Sunday Times, saying that anything else is beneath them. The fact that most of these books are dreadful anyway is irrelevant.

It’s the same with films. Somebody, a pseudo-intellectual, once recommended that I watch the film “Eyes Wide Shut”. “You’ll love it,” he said. “It is the epitome of post-modern erotica and Kubrick’s finest work to date. It penetrates your psyche on a subtle intellectual level that transcends the abnormal odyssey of the perverted masses.”

I should have known. His review of it should have made alarm bells ring in my head. I should have said “What on Earth are you talking about you babbling bullshitter?”

I was foolish. I watched it.

And I can tell you now that my review of the film is simple. Here it is – brace yourself.

IT IS SHIT!

So beware the pseudo-intellectual folks. Beware the person who uses a hundred words when one will do. Beware the person who criticises your musical taste because you don’t listen to Bach. Beware the buffoon who tries to quote Aristotle to you. Beware the person who chuckles when standing in front of a pile of cat’s puke on a canvas and says “You simply don’t get it because you simply can’t grasp the concept of retro-physical potential in an academic vacuum that procreates despondency while at the same time expanding personal karma in a futuristic yet nihilistic orgy of barbaric crescendo.”

And most of all – beware anybody who tells you that this piece of crap below, that I produced for a previous post, is in fact art.

20 comments:

Bebedores do Gondufo said...

Good.
Portugal

Mind Of Mine said...

I absolutely love this post.

It speaks to me on a kinetic level; the energy of the piece distorts the magnificence of everything else, almost in a primeval, carnivorous vortex of cybernetic passion. It arouses me

I have run into these people my whole life. It infuriates me because if you do not enjoy the things they do then you are some way inferior.

But then I just remember that they spend so much time being preoccupied with trying to be better than people that I believe that they really don't have time to just enjoy things.

Kath Lockett said...

I'm with you (although we may differ slightly in our musical tastes).

I consider myself reasonably intelligent, but that doesn't stop me watching every series of 'Survivor', wearing Crocs around the house and eating roughly a car loads' worth of chocolate each week even though I know I shouldn't.

River said...

Not only am I not a pseudo-intellectual, I'm not evn a real intellectual. Heck, I'm not even very smart. Definitely not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. But I get by quite well anyway.

A Blog In The Rough said...

oh thank gawd someone else who hated that damn movie!
But I do like your umm kitty. :)

River said...

P.S. I tried to watch "Eyes Wide Shut", but didn't get past the first 15 minutes. I didn't understand it and gave up trying.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Obrigado, Bebedores do Gondufo.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Mind of Mine,

I whole-heartedly agree with you comment.

They spend so much time trying to convince others like them that they are intellectual and simmply willl not admit to liking normal stuff.

I simply choose to mock them now - and it is surprisingly easy to make them look like the ignorant fools they are.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'day Kath,

I have no problem with people liking classical music or any other kind - it's there choice.

I'm the same - beer, football, cricket and Harry Hill's TV Burp (you may not know what that is but it is really funny - pseudo-intellectuals would hate it).

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Who cares? Why try to be something you are not?

When I watch a so-called intellectually stimulating piece of rubbish I will openly admit that I simply do not get it.

Others do too. Nobody has to be intellectual - so why bother pretending to be something you are not just to impress people? You'll have more fun just being yourself. I know I do.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lady from Delaware (or should I just call you Lynette?),

Yes - "Eyes Wide Shut" rates as one of the most pretentious loads of crap I have ever seen (and would have made it into the "Negativity Meme" had I remembered it).

What were Cruise and Kidman thinking?

Yes - the "kitty" was produced to show that any talentless buffoon (which is exactly what I am) can produce a piece of work that could be considered art. And it is absolutely rubbish - but better than some of the nonsense you see at art galleries.

:0)

Cheers

PM

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi again River,

I stupidly listened to the pseudo intellectual and managed to watch all of it.

it is the most unproductive two hours of my time spent in the year 2000 - and possibly ever (apart from Eraserhead by David Lynch - another pseudo-intellectual pile of cat poo).

:0)

Cheers

PM

A Blog In The Rough said...

Hi again!
Just wanted to letcha know that I dubbed thee with an award, go check out my blog.

PS. you may call me lady from DE, or Lyn, or Lynette, or Ms. Blog In The Rough, if you're nasty (sorry, but you walked in on that one)

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lady from Delaware, Lynette, Lyn,

I'm Libran and indecisive therefore I will mix and match

:-)

I am deeply honoured, my lady, and I shall cross the giant pond in cyberspace to receive my award.

:0)

Cheers

PM

bingkee said...

Yea I agree....I hate those types of people. Those people who criticized my blog wrongly just because they "missed reading some lines" and/or they are the morons who are always want to put me down because they are not using their freaking foreheads because they can't use their tiny pea-sized brains. They pretend to be know-it-all so they slam me.

I know some people who are "pseudo-intellectuals" and I want to say to them if you're really that smart, then you don't need to flaunt it because it will just show up unexpectedly at the right time.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bingkee,

Your blog is great - don't let any pseudo-intellectual tell you otherwise.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Mind Of Mine said...

Although Bingkee comment still has some anger therein he makes a good point. When people are a tad pompous and show off how intelligent they are it prevents people appreciating that intelligence.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Mind of Mine,

A lot of people can be pompous, even pseudo-intellectuals. The difference is that pompous pseudo-intellectuals just look stupid.

I tend to avoid pompous people as a rule because it is one of those personality traits that annoys me most.

:0)

Cheers

PM

Rakesh said...

I googled for David Lynch is a pseudo-intellectual and I landed here. Last night, I had a conversation with one of my best friends and I said David Lynch annoys me, I have watched only one of his films - Mulholland Drive and it made me so angry with myself that I needed to get a couple of beers to relax. I know that I have branded him as shit way too early after just one movie But that is really how i feel about that phoney.

Anyway, huge argument which led him to say that I was a cynical bastard or something. He's a good friend so I know he means well.

I loved your post. Thanks for this one.

Keep writing!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Rakesh,

I am unlucky enough to have seen a couple of his films and,trust me, they were all awful. I am with you completely.

:-)