How to Fake Cultural Literacy in a Snoop Dogg World

To be, or f**kin’ not to be, ho.

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.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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68 Responses to How to Fake Cultural Literacy in a Snoop Dogg World

  1. I find nodding my head slowly while saying “I see” has carried me a long way. You should also refer to long books that nobody can make themselves finish: “Dante’s Inferno”, “War and Peace” and “The Iliad”. Very funny post!


    • pegoleg says:

      I actually slogged through one of the Dantes in college (I think it was Purgatorio) and I can’t remember a thing about it. But now when I’m stuck in line at Mickey D’s I can laughingly compare it to Dante’s third circle of hell, smugly secure in the knowledge that I paid my dues for the privilege. So I guess it was worth the pain of reading it.


      • Naturally you would be the kind of person I’d try to “pass” in front of and I’d end up looking like a total doofus.


        • pegoleg says:

          No, no! I’m not calling you out; I’m admitting that even if people have read that stuff, they can’t make heads nor tails out of it either!

          Although, my hubby actually DID read War & Peace. When we were first married he had to commute to work 1hr+ each way on the train, so he made that his project – finished it, too. In his defense, he WAS an English major, and they do junk like that.


  2. Ahh, you are so wise. You know what they say – “She who quoteth the greatest quotes shall mixeth in the greatest circles”.


    • pegoleg says:

      That’s another great idea, Venessa. Make junk up and add “eth” to every other word so people THINK you’re quoting somebody smart.


      • Junk?! That was some of my best work!

        A while ago my partner and I made up a load of supposedly inspirational quotes as an antidote the real inspirational quotes that were around everywhere and driving us nuts. We came up with some brilliant meaningless crap, like “He who looks back in fear cannot move forward with an open heart”. It was such fun!


  3. I bet you could hire yourself out for parties as a professional conversationalist. You’re so fly and so erudite all at once. But tell me, does booze help or hurt you in these situations?


  4. Shakespeare…
    now THERE was an O.G…


  5. mistyslaws says:

    Ha! Oh pegoshizzle, you are da bomb diggity. I fo sho LOL’d, like fo realz, yo.

    And I ain’t frontin’, but that pic of Snoop be the shiz, yo. Word.


  6. Seasweetie says:

    I think I need to hear Iced Tazo Chai Soy Frappuccino Grande rappin’ (or perhaps frappin’) in ancient Greek.

    This reminds me of “Airplane!” and Barbara Billingsley speaking jive.


  7. How timely, I just saw Iced Salted Caramel Mocha Frappaccino Venti on Leno the other night! You are so wise PoL! Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I was busy taking notes through the entire post. I find that being a civilly disobedient transcendentalist at heart I usually am quoting Thoreau and Emerson ~ I definitely need to get back to the Good Book!


  8. bigsheepcommunications says:

    LOVE the Snoop Dog portrait (and the caption)!


  9. Damn it! “Iced Tazo Chai Soy Frappuccino Grande” was gonna be my rapper name. It’s already taken? =(


  10. Al says:

    I laugheth grievously, therefore am naught able to typeth more and shall now falleth off yon stool…..


  11. Tar-Buns says:

    Thou has taken me to the inner sanctum of cultural lingo.
    Me digs the groove, motha-f***r!
    You rock, super fly! 🙂


  12. notquiteold says:

    I hate being out-pretensioned.
    Be careful when googling for good quotes though. There’s a lot of made up stuff out there.
    “The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to determine whether they are genuine.” – Abraham Lincoln.


  13. Hold up–that Snoop photo and caption is the shizzeth.
    I never worry if people think I’m smart or well-read. Once I start throwing around things like ‘ain’t’, ‘ayuh’ and ‘Jeezum crow’, there’s no doubt where I stand in terms of intelligence.


  14. This was hilarious!! I will take your advice and use it whenever I can. Today shall be the last day when anyone can get away with qouting something that I’ve never heard before!


  15. “Much ado about doo doo” Kool Moe Dee….word, son!


  16. pattisj says:

    I’m pretty sure Tazo Chai is on the name list for the new grandbaby.


  17. Elyse says:

    Wait a minute Peg. You’re saying that Shakespeare and the Bible are two different books? Damn.


  18. Sandy Sue says:

    Sigh. Peg, you’re so much hipper than I can ever dream of being! What’s rap?


  19. Go Jules Go says:

    That is some exceptional head-swappeth-ing, Peggles. You always do me proud.

    I find that when either of the above two scenarios presents itself, I can get away with explaining how blonde and/or white I am. Then I distract them with a compliment.

    Did I mention how much I like that photo?


    • pegoleg says:

      “distract them with a compliment” – that is an EXCELLENT scheme. Who doesn’t want to hear nice things about their favorite person – themselves? Did I tell you how smart you look in those glasses?


  20. Deborah the Closet Monster says:

    This one has got to go straight to my Shakespeare-loving sister! Mwa.


  21. Margie says:

    You’ve been faking cultural literacy?! Gasp – what else are you faking!!


  22. Barb says:

    I think with time and practice I could master your technique. Right now, I just start speaking another language if I don’t understand what someone is saying. They slow down, and speak really slow and distinct, even if I’m babbling a made-up language. (Hint: Don’t try this with pig-latin.)


    • pegoleg says:

      That’s a great idea! But it’s really hard to babble convincingly in a made up language – I know, I’ve tried. I just keep making the same, lame sounds over and over so it’s obvious that I’m faking.


  23. Pingback: Tingo Tuesday: Tell Me Your Iktsuarpok Moment « Teachers & Twits

  24. This post doth make me laugh too much, methinks. Great picture!


  25. Dana says:

    Awesome, Peg! Almost makes me want to go back to university, just so I can finally one-up all of my more culturally literate classmates. Almost.


    • pegoleg says:

      You’re a brave woman if you feel up to that, Dana. I had a hangover a couple of months ago for the first time in years and it brought home to me how unsuited I would be for the rigors of university life nowadays.


  26. lexiemom says:

    You forgot to mention that people of Asian decent have the advantage on this. Besides the fact that they are naturally smarter than people of other ethnicities, they can say, “Confucius say…(fill in with short pithy saying here)” and NOBODY knows if Confucius did actually say that or not (and they can say it in choppy English, no less!) Those comments always sound so wise!


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