Susan McLean: In The Know

I am the very model of a public intellectual.
I’m pompous, supercilious, vain, smug, and ineffectual.
Although my mordant, esoteric sallies may dissect you all,
I’m ready, in an instant, to enlighten and correct you all.

I am the world authority on William Makepeace Thackeray,
on contrapuntal music and the way to mix a daiquiri.
I know names’ etymologies, from Adelaide to Zachary,
and how to tell a scientific breakthrough from mere quackery.

I never can be faulted for an excess of timidity.
My repartee is noted for its brilliance and acidity.
I always form opinions with conviction and rapidity
without the need to gather facts or question their validity.

I’m in demand for interviews because of my loquacity
and skewering of sacred cows with relish and audacity.
Say anything, but say it with assurance and tenacity,
and soon you’ll be renowned for expertise and perspicacity.

A proper pundit always has a knack for phraseology,
for polyglot quotations and allusions to mythology.
He’s deft at innuendo. By the time he entered college, he
had mastered witty comebacks, obfuscation, and tautology.

Your private intellectual is quite a different know-it-all.
He lacks the drive and contacts with the media to show it all.
He thinks he is above the fray; he’s actually below it all,
and if he had the chance to shine, he probably would blow it all.