Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

How old must we get before we stop worrying about ‘being pretentious?’

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‘Cause I’m not at that age yet, and apparently neither is Freddie:

I had this professor, a really great, friendly guy. In a class he was letting me sit in on as part of my credit, we were talking about negritude and dramatic self-presentation. We were discussing how, according to the proponents of negritude, living life with a sense of dramatic narrative and presenting yourself in that spirit could create a sense of purpose and dignity, particularly important for those facing racial discrimination. I asked my prof what, precisely, would prevent such behavior from becoming pretentious. He cocked his head and smiled a little bit, and said he didn’t think there was any difference– living with a sense of dramatic arc in one’s life was bound to be pretentious.

Let me say that I know that some of the elements of this blog are pretentious, even self-parodic; the French name taken from a classic short story, the Shakespeare quote, the earnest picture. At the risk of attempting to excuse through explanation, let me say that I’m aware of the silly-seeming seriousness of it all. I have two things to say in my defense. First, I think that it’s possible for something to be at once earnest and self-parodic. … My Shakespeare quote is in earnest, and that’s how I really feel. I also recognize that putting a quote from Titus Andronicus up on your weblog is very mockable.


Written by Elizabeth

November 24, 2008 at 9:13 am

Posted in Culture, Gen Y

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