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?’

with 2 comments

‘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 Ephemera

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Age again?

    Pretentious people are perceived as old, or of indiscriminate age – the only reason you fight it.

    You have the cats, you have the clothes, you have the books, you have the disposition. You’re on the precipice; dive on in.

    Jables Gully

    November 24, 2008 at 12:45 pm

  2. Heh — I epigraphed all my philosophy papers in college with Shakespeare quotes, and even then thought “People would be justified in making fun of me for this, but I’m gonna do it anyway because I don’t think anyone could sum things up better.” I am glad to see someone else rationalizing it, and even better than I did.


    December 3, 2008 at 5:53 pm

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