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How to Become an Intellectual

The Dying Art of Mixtapes

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 02.22.2014 | Arts
Nick Kolakowski

When it comes to budding relationships, a mix-tape falls into the same category as a handwritten note. I've taken the time to craft this, it says, because I care about you.

Choose Your Favorite Philosopher

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 04.30.2013 | Home
Nick Kolakowski

Aristotle: This ancient Greek philosopher argued for the primacy of rational thought over animal instincts, and moderation over hedonism. Ideal for: Drivers who slow at yellow lights.

The Intellectual's Super Bowl: Knowing the Basics of Chess

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 04.08.2013 | Home
Nick Kolakowski

Chess exists as the purest form of intellectual competition this side of a university debate. Head to any major urban park on a sunny afternoon and find the chess hustlers on the benches, decimating all challengers willing to slap down a five-dollar bill.

Rehearse, Rewrite, Rehearse, Rewrite...

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 02.08.2013 | Home
Nick Kolakowski

An intellectual always wants to craft a clear and truthful work, one that presents their ideas in the best possible light, even if it means endless revamps and tweaks.

Getting Into the Holiday Spirit: Cultivate Rivalries With Other Intellectuals

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 01.28.2013 | Home
Nick Kolakowski

A bitter rivalry is good for the mind, as it drives opponents to sharpen their arguments to a fine rhetorical point, while serving as great entertainment for outside observers.

Keeping Your Manets and Masaccios Straight

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 01.21.2013 | Arts
Nick Kolakowski

There is little shame in viewing an unfamiliar work of art and saying, "I have no idea who painted that," rather than make an uneducated guess.

Buy Books by the Foot

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 12.21.2012 | Home
Nick Kolakowski

If you're an intellectual, you need a substantial book collection, preferably at a cost that will leave you with a few extra dollars for food. Here's how to build one.

Peruse These Hunting Grounds for Your Fellow Intellectuals

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 11.19.2012 | Home
Nick Kolakowski

If you're looking for another intellectual with whom to swap theories, feelings and the occasional cold virus, the following places could serve you well in your hunt.

What the Vidal/Mailer Feud Taught Us: When In Doubt, Laugh

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 08.05.2012 | Home
Nick Kolakowski

He was neither the first nor last intellectual jailed for heretical writings, and in some respects he proved lucky: Governments and other powers have a longstanding habit of killing thinkers whose ideas threaten the status quo.

Quoting Shakespeare Sparingly

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 09.22.2012 | Home
Nick Kolakowski

Quoting William Shakespeare is a little like breathing: every living person does it. "He's dead as a doornail," your roommate will say as she flips through the newspaper obits, never realizing she's just quoted part of a couplet from Henry VI.

Lose a Debate Graciously

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 09.10.2012 | Comedy
Nick Kolakowski

Sure, you lost the debate. Life is bleak. The soundtrack wails with mournful violins. I have one word for you: rematch.

Beware of Spell Check

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 09.02.2012 | Education
Nick Kolakowski

Spell check is vital for many people who, for one reason or another, have trouble with certain words. It wants to help you out: the problems only start when you use it as an excuse to avoid the necessary reread.

Avoid Quoting From Bestsellers

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 08.11.2012 | Home
Nick Kolakowski

Those nonfiction books that purport to explain life, the universe, and everything will occasionally rocket to the top of the bestseller lists and stick there for months, like a wine stain that won't scrub from the carpet.

Follow Museums Like Others Follow Sports Teams

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 07.30.2012 | Arts
Nick Kolakowski

Like sports teams, many of the major museums live and die by their seasonal lineup. A series of good shows attracts paying visitors, and generates the buzz that draws headlines, sponsorships, and donors.

Cast LOL and Emoticons From Your Lexicon

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 07.23.2012 | Comedy
Nick Kolakowski

There is a very special place in hell reserved for whoever created the emoticon. Nor can we blame the scourge solely on text messaging and e-mail: as far back as the 19th century.

The Art of Passionately Hating at Least One Classic Author

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 07.15.2012 | Comedy
Nick Kolakowski

Not that you need to unleash your inner Conan the Barbarian to make a point about literature. But given how intellectuals inevitably harbor well-tended lists of likes and dislikes, not confessing a deep hatred of, say, John Milton's poetry will compel other learned types to view you with suspicion.

Embrace Your Alma Mater, No Matter Where You Went

Nick Kolakowski | Posted 07.03.2012 | College
Nick Kolakowski

A party attended by intellectuals sometimes descends into the verbal equivalent of a thermonuclear war, one in which the combatants seem determined to transform their rivals into stammering, apologetic poseurs before the hors d'oeuvres are even served.