I picked up a copy of the magazine called Mental Floss while flying from Houston to Seattle last week. I had not heard of this publication before. The tag line caught my eye, "Where knowledge junkies get their fix."
That said, I found the magazine a bit infantile, fake, and pretentious. Their feature article was about how to drop the most interesting historical tidbits at cocktail parties. Yuck.
I don’t know, if you want to be considered an intellectual, shouldn’t your intellect go a bit deeper than three fascinating facts about X?
I did find the following sidebar interesting:
Drop the Right Name
Machiavellian: Named for Niccolo, the word means "characterized by cunning and treachery."
Draconian: Meaning "extremely or unnecessarily harsh." From the 7th century B.C.E. Athenian politician Draco, whose codification of Athens’ legal system was considered too severe.
Luddite: Meaning "one who stubbornly opposes technological advancement." From Ned Ludd, a British workman who supposedly destroyed mechanical weaving equipment around 1779.
Bowdlerize: Meaning "to censor or prudishly edit." From Thomas Bowdler, who in keeping with his contemporaries excessive prudishness, published a heavily edited version of Shakespeare in 1818.
What kind of cocktail parties do Mental Floss target readers attend? I can’t ever recall having conversations at a party like the ones they suggest. I guess that means I am not an intellectual. 🙂