If you’re like me, you want everyone to think you’re smart. You don’t want to take the time and trouble to really learn things, though; that’s way too much work.
Smart people are always tossing around profound quotes from other smart people who are dead. Recognizing these quotes shows you are “culturally literate” and that means smart.
“Wait a minute,” you say “that sounds like work.”
Easy there, hombre. I got this.
The fact is, the vast majority of quotable quotes come from just two sources: Shakespeare or the Bible. Key words to look for are “thou”, “forsooth” and adding “eth” to normal words.
Let’s see how this would work in a real life situation:
You’re at a party ranting about how you almost had to bite your tongue in half at the last family gathering, to keep from exploding when your witch of a mother-in-law criticized how you’re raising the kids…again.
Your conversational partner replies, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
Thinking quickly, you pick up on the clue – he said “turneth” instead of “turn”.
You establish your smart-person bona fides by squinting your eyes and pursing your lips to look thoughtful. Then, nod your head slowly and say “Ah, Shakespeare”.
It doesn’t matter which you choose, Shakespeare or the Bible, because even people who memorize this stuff can’t keep them straight. The only time this won’t work is in the unlikely event you are confronted by a Biblical scholar or an English professor. Then it’s time to roll out your backup plan:
“That’s not from Shakespeare!” your listener states with a gleeful, “gotcha” expression.
You shake your head ruefully, smile wryly and say, “I meant the Bible, of course. I was up way too late last night reading Euripides in the original Greek, and you KNOW how THAT messes with your brain!”
Not wanting to admit he doesn’t read ancient Greek, Mr. Know-It-All will laugh sympathetically and readily agree. He has been neatly out-pretensioned.
Besides the two major sources of quotes, you need to be on the lookout for those who consider song lyrics to be high-art. If the quote doesn’t have any of the key words, if it rhymes, or if it is bad poetry that does NOT rhyme, you may be dealing with a song-quoter. In the past you would be safe with an “Ah, Dylan” response. Now that only works with quoters aged 60-75 who have long, gray hair and Birkenstocks (male or female).
Nowadays many people (who should know better) try to appear culturally literate and relevant by quoting rappers. Key words to look for are “f**k”, “n**ga” and “b**ch ho”.
All you need to know is that most rappers have some variation of 3 nicknames:
Big: Big-O, The Notorious B.I.G., Big Sexy
Lil: Lil’ Kim, Lil Wayne, Lil’ Scrappy
Ice: Ice-T, Ice Cube, Vanilla Ice, Iced Tazo Chai Soy Frappuccino Grande
If the quote includes profanity, assume it’s rap. Show how hip you are by nodding thoughtfully and say, “Yeah, Lil’ Biggie Ice Pac laid down some heavy, f**king shiz in the hizzle.” Then cross your arms over your chest defiantly and finish up with “…Word.”
Follow these simple tricks and soon everyone will think you’re much smarter than you really are. In other words, they’ll make much ado about nothing.