i've got to say, i've never had a problem catching people pretending to be intelligent or well-informed. one may =think= one can fake such a thing, with prepared topics of convo, mannerisms, and vocabulary, but, as dogberry and mrs. malaprop might tell you, saying big words when 1) one doesn't know how to pronounce them and 2) one hardly knows what they mean, makes one look =more= stupid, not =more= intelligent. a little bit of free advice alot of people have been giving to pres. bush.
i bet he would seem smarter if he stuck to the words he actually knew. almost everything he's said that's made him look stupid has a much simpler way of being said. someone should whip his ass for trying to be uppity. either that, or mrs. bush should be his speech coach. =she= seems to know how to talk.
still, even if one knows =how= to pronounce the 50-cent-words, and knows how to use them precisely, one can =still= come across badly if one peppers one speech with them. people will sneeze.
the problem, i think, is that so many confuse intelligence and education. one meets perfectly intelligent, undereducated people every day. perhaps with time and effort, these people will gain the education they lack. on the other hand, i've met plenty of people educated beyond their intelligence. as in, they've been given various skills and knowledge, but they have no idea as to how it's to be used. if these people don't realize that that's the state they're in, they end up being intellectual name-droppers (=cough= Foucault, =cough= =cough= Lacan =cough= =cough= =cough= transgressing hermeneutics). and they confuse people of normal intelligence who think extra education connotes something akin to genius.
it does not.
beware of the mental hucksters! don't let them sell you a bill of goods! open that poke before you buy that pig!