You’ve got a high school education and have knocked out at least twelve units at the local junior college, making you by far the best-educated person in your family. This academic advantage, coupled with your own as-yet-unrecognized genius has made you privy to revelatory information unavailable to the workaday Joe. But vital knowledge isn’t like a well-defined six-pack on a washboard stomach–you can’t advertise your intelligence by simply walking around shirtless. Along with repeatedly trumpeting your genius to all who will listen, an excellent way to showcase it is by using words which make you sound smart. Unfortunately, sheeple is not among these.
Sheeple, which traces its origins back to the 1950s, refers to a person the speaker feels is too conformist or beholden to the establishment. The word itself is an amalgam of people and sheep, the latter long regarded as stupid and complacent animals. Additionally, the word carries with it not only the implication that the subject is foolish and easily lead, but moreover that the speaker is somehow preternaturally wise, and clued in to what’s really going on.
Sadly, it’s no coincidence that the folks who make sheeple a regular staple of their vocabulary tend to be the kind of bitter know-it-alls who once endured semi-regular beatings in the junior high locker room. The user of sheeple has missed the boat too many times in his or her life, and aches never to be caught clueless again. This sad mania manifests itself in an unending, Fox Mulder-like quest to find the deeper story, even if it means plumbing the fevered depths of their own overheated imaginations to do so. Proving that Americans will believe anything if they want to badly enough, the ranks of these self-proclaimed geniuses are swelling. Still, they take great pride in the thought that their awareness is somehow precious and unique; their insights are somehow more profound than all but a few of the diseased cranks from whom they get their ideas.
Folks, there are many great ways to come off like a smug asshole, but which can also make you sound halfway bright. Throwing around sheeple accomplishes the former, but leaves the listener with no doubt of your staggering and unfathomable idiocy.