Writer Dan Fox wants to reclaim the word pretentious. Take it back from those who use it like a stick to beat down the curious and the adventurous.



One comment on “You are so Pretentious

  1. Martin says:

    By the end of this podcast I was slightly frustrated. Dan Fox seems to conflate being pretentious with pretending you are someone you are not — in other words, inauthenticity. But I think that a more apt connection is between being pretentious and acting under false pretense — in other words, not just being artificial, but doing so as a means to some other end. This explains why artists like David Bowie and Kate Bush are absolutely NOT pretentious, if we believe the characters and aesthetic visions they achieved were ends in themselves, simply for the sublime artistic joy they manifested. And this is why people we typically call pretentious are thus: they are trying to win friends and influence people, not genuinely moved by the art or music or other cultural markers they choose to parade. In this sense pretentiousness is exactly indicative of the philistinism it seeks to distance itself from, because both look at artistic worth in terms of its utility, its consumption value. On some level groups defined by similar tastes are always at least somewhat elitist, but it’s only when they forsake the genuine experience of beauty for ulterior purposes that they become pretentious.

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