Cracked Columnists

The 5 Saddest Things People Do to Look Smart

Adopt And Publicize "Nerdy" Interests

At least some of these things, like academic credentials, might be somewhat related to intelligence. Completely unrelated? Hobbies.

Maybe it's movies or pop culture that's taught us that the smartest people are always really interested in math, science, or philosophy, but that's confusing interests with professions. Sure, a lot of brilliant people go into the fields of mathematics or science, but their favorite hobby might be something lowbrow, like go-kart racing or beer brewing or Ultimate Frisbee.

Via Getty Images
Or belly dancing, why not.

They might study quantum physics or Kant's theories of perception for a living, but they might be equally excited to talk about going camping for the weekend, or something funny their cat did.

Via Getty Images
"We made them take this picture. Then they clawed my eyes out."

If there's someone who's anxiously pushing the conversation toward "intellectual" subjects all the time and seems disgusted at talking about the trivialities of common life, they're less likely to be a brilliant thinker who is beyond childish thoughts and more likely to be someone insecure about their image.

Even more off base are people who notice that smart people tend to be nerdy, and nerdy people tend to like sci-fi and fantasy, and thus play up their love of Star Trek or Joss Whedon or whatever, hoping some of the nerd vibe will rub off on them and add a vague sense of smartness to their image, as if that works.

Via Las Vegas Sun
Seriously, look at these middle-aged losers hanging out at a Star Trek convention. They didn't even dress up.

I'm not saying most fans of these things are doing that. If they're talking about what a great show it is, that's one thing. If they're saying, "I'm such a huge nerd because..." and list those shows along with how much they like math or something, that might be a warning sign.

Complain About Dumb People

"But isn't that what you're doing in this very column?" you might ask. "IRONY." Actually, there's a difference. I'm complaining about people that try too hard to look smart. They might be dumb or they might actually be pretty smart, that's not the problem.

The problem is that it's way too important to them to prove they're smart, or what they consider to be "smart." And one way they do it is to really go overboard making fun of the "stupid." There are threads and blogs all over the internet complaining about what a society of morons we live in and ripping into buffoons who ask such laughably retarded questions as, "Is the flu going around?" What a dumb question! She's lucky she didn't get SLAPPED RIGHT IN THE FACE!

Via Getty Images
"And THAT'S for asking if we have any NyQuil, you dumb broad!"

Which kind of brings to mind glass houses when another entry shows this blogger might not be that bright herself.

People also get the "too stupid to live" treatment for doing such things as having a funny accent, or mispronouncing a word that's hard to pronounce, or calling customer service to ask the kind of question customer service is there to answer. "Can you BELIEVE she wanted to know what our HOURS were?"

Via Getty Images
"9 TO 5 EASTERN STANDARD TIME, CLOSED SUNDAYS! I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY, BITCH!"

Or sometimes instead of an anecdote, they just rip into society in general for being vacuous and enjoying such inane tripe as Justin Bieber or Twilight or whatever it's cool to look down on lately, or overexaggerate how influential Donald Trump or Sarah Palin are so they can feel like they are one of the few elites who haven't fallen into the same trap as the rest of dumb America.

But like I said before, there's not such a clean division between "the smart" and "the dumb," since intelligence is so multidimensional. There's a more obvious division between people who can look at their own flaws and people who can only look at others'. Ironically, the latter group, whether smart or dumb to begin with, are never going to get any smarter.

I'm sure this doesn't come as as a surprise to anyone except those wanna-be intellectuals, but people who aren't that smart, yet are honest and easy to get along with, are infinitely more likeable and respected than people who may be smart, but keep annoying the hell out of everyone trying to show it. People do not think less of you for not knowing everything. So maybe sometimes it's a good idea to put away your notecards and see if someone else can tell you something new that you don't know.


For example, did you happen to know that whales are not in fact fish, but mamm- Oh. You did? Dammit.

Check out more from Christina in 6 Ways World of Warcraft is Worse Than Real Life and The 8 Least-Threatening Comic Book Villains.

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Christina H

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