Is there a word or concise term for attempting to appear intelligent or refined by taking an unpopular opinion? I'm not sure how to best describe this concept. The best term I can think of at the moment is to be contrarian, but it doesn't seem completely satisfying.
devil's advocate The Free Dictionary:
(slightly off-question suggestion)
Here are some jokey answers:
Well, that last one's my own invention, but it's never caught on.
None of these address the question of appearing intelligent, however. A phrase that suggests self-exclusion if not contrarianism, and for the purpose of appearing superior if not specifically more intelligent, is
I gather it's a more or less recognizable idiomatic expression outside the US but is especially popular in Australia. Note that although the Wikipedia link suggests the user of the phrase "tall poppy" suggests resentment, I've always taken it to be used as an insult against a (would-be) elite. There is probably some migration from an egalitarian to a meritocratic worldview involved here.