As a student at Goshen College you may often encounter people that appear to bevery “cultured.” This abundance of culture comes from the many, unique life experiencesthat many students have been a part of. Goshen attracts many students that are incrediblyintelligent, people who are extremely gifted in the arts, and yet others who are multilingual.As someone who is none of these things, I feel it my responsibility to teach others, who alsolack these skills, how to be cultured.
The first step in pretending to be cultured, involves a shift in the mental processes; whatonce was considered to be “cool,” are not things that give you culture points. Sorry athletes,you’re just not cultured, unless you play an obscure sport like cricket or fútbol; calling itsoccer is negative culture points.
Once this mental shift has been completed, one must learn how to speak with culture.Saying things like, “Last night was so relaxing, I listened to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concertowhile reading Homer’s The Iliad,” conveys that you are a person of culture. Of course, ifyou ever encounter someone who has actually read The Iliad you should avoid lengthydiscourse on the subject. Another way to impress people with your “culture” is to use Latinphrases; “carpe diem” and “e pluribus unum” are fairly cliché so try to use more obscurephrases such as, “Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.” The genius in using Latinphrases lies in the fact that it is a “dead language;” only dead people can understand them.
The third step in becoming a cultured person is to learn the “ins and outs” of art. Whenattending art shows (to be cultured, one must do this), peer introspectively at oneparticularly odd piece of work (tilt your head slightly and stroke your chin for full effect);if asked your opinion on the work, simply reply, “Brilliant, brilliant; It reminds me of a …(insert name of famous artist).” If at all possible, find a way to use words such as space,shape, value, color and lines; once learned, these words are a sure ticket into the upperreaches of cultured society.
The final step into the privileged world of the cultured is the easiest of all; simply lookcultured. Often time’s people of culture wear things from other countries; these itemsof clothing reflect their openness to experiencing new things. On other occasions, whensaid “cultured persons” go to the opera, they dress up in tuxedos or evening gowns (not tobe confused with dresses); this dressy décor bears witness to their enlightened selves. Also,wearing a tuxedo, screams, “yeah, I have a monocle, what of it?!” (Monocles = culture)
In conclusion, learning to pretend to have culture is a pretty sweet thing, because…. A)It enables you to connect with a diverse group of people. B) It makes you seem moreawesome than you really are. C) Culture gets the ladies; after all, what women wouldn’twant a man who can pretend to sound intelligent while discussing motifs of feminism in20th century literature.
By Jonathan Hershberger