Statistics Canada Announces Annual List of the Top Five Pseudo-Intellectual Expressions in Canada -- Machiavellian tops again
For the third consecutive year, 'Machiavellian' has maintained
its position atop Statistics Canada's annual compendium of the five
most overused terms in the country by people trying to sound more
intelligent than they actually are.
The term is a reference to Italian political philosopher Nicolo
Machiavelli, best known as the author the Prince, first published
in 1532. The book is a brief but influential work regarded as a
ruthless blueprint on how to obtain and maintain political power.
A very Machiavellian portrait
"These days, literally anything a politician does is "Machiavellian,"
said StatsCan spokesperson Louise Mellon. "Once, I heard a
television reporter say that (Heritage Minister) Sheila Copps gave
a very "Machiavellian performance" at a ribbon cutting
photo op. somewhere out in the boondocks, and then the Minister
served some very "Machiavellian hot dogs" to the assembled
crowd on hand."
"And then this other time, a hockey announcer tried to sound
clever by saying that last week's match between Toronto and Ottawa
was a "tremendously Machiavellian game in its intrigue.""
"I mean, come on," added Mellon.
Moving up to two spots to second place this year is 'Plato's Allegory
of the Cave,' a particular favourite of first and second year university
"If you are anywhere near the whole light/dark paradigm, you
can bet the house on someone dropping the 'Allegory of the Cave'
bomb," said Laurentian University political science professor
"If I hear "but truth is nothing but the shadows of the
images" from some pimpled face 20-year-old who thinks they
have all the answers one more time, there's gonna be a whole lot
of 'F' action going on.....," proclaimed the professor.
Top Five Pseudo-Intellectual References in Canada, 2001
(Last year's ranking in parentheses)
||Plato's Allegory of the
||Cognitive Dissonance (2)
||Marxist Dialectic (5)
Dropping one spot into third place is the classic 'cognitive dissonance,'
a term coined in 1957 by American Social Psychologist Leon Festinger
that describes the tension felt by humans when they are presented
with evidence that contradicts their worldview or when they must
act in defiance of their established worldview.
"Although I don't hear it as much as I used to, I have to
tell you, a neighbour of mine really cracked me up when he tried
to describe his "cognitive dissonance" when he was told
by the staff at the Beer Store that they were out of Sleeman's Honey
Brown and he wound up buying Cream Ale instead," commented
Calgary psychologist Belinda Britten.
"He must have remembered it from his first year psych class
and he wanted to impress me. I really had to bite my tongue,"
admitted Dr. Britten.
In fourth spot, 'Existenialism' makes its first appearance in the
top five since 1994. A term commonly associated with French philosopher
Jean-Paul Sartre, existentialism is a difficult concept to summarize
in one sentence, according to real intellectuals.
"To reduce it to its simplest terms, an existentialist believes
that existence precedes essence," according to Professor Ludwig
Martino of the non-accredited University College of Bowmanville.
According to the professor, it could be argued that 'existentialism'
is so overused by the ignorant because of the very ambiguity of
the term. Due to the fact that nobody really knows what it means,
one can use the term confident that they will not be challenged
by their peers.
"Therefore, you have numerous barroom conversations where
one overhears drunken business students discussing how they have
been feeling very existential since they were dumped by their girlfriends.
Their friends then introduce the term into their lexicon, and the
cycle continues," said Professor Martino.
Maxism and pseudo-intellectualism enjoy a long history together,
and this year, 'Marxist Dialectic' remains firmly entrenched at
number five-a steady, consistent performer in this survey. Said
StatsCan's Mellon, "nobody really knows what the hell that
Last year's number four, 'Two Solitudes,' moves off this year's
top five list, although Mellon speculated that it could move back
into the Top Five should there be a provincial election or referendum
on sovereignty in Quebec in the next year.
Posted on July 13th, 2001