Monday, December 11, 2006

Acting Smarter Than You Really Are - The Academic Edition

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame has come up with a list of how to act smarter than your really are. He offers some good general advice, like not talking much, agreeing with what other people say, learning some big words and using them in sentences, etc. While this might be good enough for the typical person to convince their friends and family that they are smart, an academic needs an entire different list of ploys to convince his or her colleagues that they are smarter than they really are.

Here are some options.
  1. Teach an honors class. - Even if you weren't in honors yourself in college, just teaching a class of really bright kids makes you seem smarter than them.
  2. Keep lots of obscure theoretical books on your shelf. Used copies are best, because it they look like they been read diligently even if you've never bothered to open it up.
  3. Learn all the different ways to call something "pedantic" and use these terms when discussing works by popular scholars.
  4. Be cynical. For some reason, most academics equate cynical with worldly and smart. So look for the negative and hidden agenda in everything some other department, the college's administration, or the government suggests.
  5. Wear glasses. Tell people that you used to have 20/20 eyesight until graduate school. They will think you've read your way to being near-sighted.
  6. Hang some obscure Bizzaro comic on your office door. People won't get it and they'll be too embarrassed to ask you what it means.
  7. Get your news from some alternative news source (not NPR or CNN or the New York Times) this way you will always have an opinion on things, but people won't recognize that you stole it from someone else.
  8. Adopt an absent-minded professor persona. If you forget little things like meeting times, where you parked your car, how to use the internet, etc. it suggests its because you have bigger and more important theories on your mind.
Adopt these behaviors and before you know it your colleagues and students will think you have an impressive IQ.

1 comment:

Nogias said...

HA! Brilliant! Oh how I know so many professors that seem to have adopted your policy on this already without knowing it..