And that is why pretentiousness matters. It is a false note of objective judgment, and when it rings we can hear what society values in culture, hear how we perceive our individual selves. Pretentiousness is for anyone who has braved being different, whether that's making a stand against artistic consensus or running the gauntlet of the last bus home dressed differently from everyone else.
It's an essential ingredient in pop music and high art. Why do we choose accusations of elitism over open-mindedness?
What do our anxieties about "pretending" say about us? His final recommendation on behalf of pretension is that it 'keeps life interesting,' which seems like a pretty low bar to clear. In the end, his book comes to epitomize a new genre of criticism that forgoes the task of evaluation and instead admits that all qualitative assessments are futile, arbitrary, and ultimately meaningless. Maybe so, but Pretentiousness is, as a result, baggy and oblique, loosely organized around a scattering of muzzy proclamations that do not clarify the central concept but stretch it to the point where it no longer seems to mean anything.
Apple, Tree: Writers on Their Parents. White Girls. Get the Book Marks Bulletin Email address:. Graphic Novels. Story Collections. I would follow the dictionary definition: "expressive of affected, unwarranted, or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature.
I compared this near-dystopian find-it-yourself evaluation system to MySpace in , when bands began using the social-networking platform to promote themselves. My Account Sign in Register. Large Print. Notes to Self. But that itself is as much an act, as much a pretence, as Kanye making a concept album that might seem overblown, but is doing something musically far more interesting.
It is, for him, something that is always done in good faith and that is a social good that is being kept down because it makes others feel uncomfortable—because it blurs the lines of class. He refuses to admit that, just as often, pretentiousness is a bludgeon used to cover for holes in a way of thinking. In the end, substance matters.
This book itself is an illustration of that. Its author would have been well served to have cut back on his laundry list of film and music references and to have actually said something about a subset of them. Apr 08, Kristine rated it really liked it. Pretentious is a word I admit to throwing around a lot. Sometimes as an insult, a reason not to enjoy something, and sometimes in a self-deprecating fashion. Fox has made me re-think my use of the term and I definitely do not think of it in only negative ways anymore.
What would the world be like if people stopped experimenting beyond their experience and expertise? What's wrong with doing something difficult or odd or even esoteric for its own sake?
http://stroika-krd.ru/scripts Mar 12, Joseph rated it liked it. Slow at some spots and insightful at others, the ending was the best. And the author had great music recommendations. May 07, rose rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fic , essays-and-lectures. Nice going.
If you've ever been called, or have called someone pretentious, you should read this essay. It's very good. I'd write more, but it might end up pretentious. Mar 14, Kady rated it it was ok Shelves: Accusing others of it is. You can use the word "pretentious" as a weapon with which to bludgeon other people's creative efforts, but in shutting them down the accusation will shatter in your hand and out will bleed your own insecurities, prejudices and unquestioned assumptions. And that is why pretentiousness matters. Dan Fox takes a multi-faceted approach at describing a word that is heavily weighed down by class expectations, taste, and originality.
The writing is really nothing to shake a stick at, nor are the ideas the most original. But Fox doesn't claim to be coming into this treatise with new, groundbreaking theories. Instead, he takes what we know, what we seem to know, and what we don't want to admit to ourselves, and shines it in different lights until the concepts are properly illuminated. His essay on modern art was the one that I enjoyed the most for this reason, as it gave me new ways to think about my feelings towards 'high-brow' art.
I found his discussions refreshing on how using 'pretentious' as a criticism only reaffirms class values, encouraging distance between an upper class that 'gets it' and a lower class that shouldn't even try to. But much of this book gets in the trap of repeating itself, and I found I could skip whole chapters without missing the final thesis. The first chapters are rather misleading, as Fox takes a linguistic history of the word and often gets 'pretentiousness' and 'pretence' mixed up.
I often was left thinking that this treatise didn't understand what it had set out to do. They can be easily skipped if you want to get to the meatier middle articles. I would also skip the article on music - it focuses solely on rock music, and not in an interesting way. I was bored to tears, and I didn't understand why he thought it was necessary. Lively read but unconvinced. Would have appreciated a more thorough discussion of how power interacts with pretension essay is fairly one-sided in examining this relationship Separately and the reason for low rating: horrific appendix.
No footnotes to references fine , but many of them are not listed in the bibliography at all.
Jun 06, Tyler Jones rated it really liked it Shelves: social-studies. One of the many bad things about the over use of "pretentious" as a put-down, is that the accusation is so vague that one can not defend oneself against it. One of the many great things Fox does is to break down the motives of the accuser, as well as to celebrate the social bravery of those willing to look for different ways to be.
Oct 01, Maurice Funken rated it really liked it. Dan Fox of frieze fame writes about the idea of being pretentious and why this necessarily doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact Fox convincingly argues it's a catalyst for creativity in art, theatre and pop culture instead A non pretentious, dense and fun book contemplating the idea of genuinity.
It is a quick and stimulating read, filled with popular culture references as well as personal anectodes. Dan Fox delves to objectively discuss the matter of pretentiousness and subtly manages show its importance. Aug 30, Janine rated it liked it. I thought the book was pretty interesting. It made me view the world in a different light, especially the creative arts. I love art in all its shapes and forms, and I think he defends them and their value in a unique way. Mar 03, Gen rated it liked it.
Some interesting points made but I feel like there are almost too many references. The references quickly become superfluous and actually end up distracting from the thoughts Fox is trying to raise in favour of lengthy tangents. Jul 31, Eric Rietveld rated it it was amazing. I highly, highly recommend this book. It is a great think piece on how we can be our most authentic selves when we are being inauthentic, or—pretentious.
Mar 04, Jerrid Kruse rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A short read with an interesting couple of conclusions. While these conclusions are interesting, the book wandered a bit too much for me. Feb 27, Steven Benson rated it liked it.
Pretentiousness: Why It Matters: An Essay and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Pretentiousness: Why It Matters Paperback – April 5, This item:Pretentiousness: Why It Matters by Dan Fox Paperback $ Pretentiousness book. Read 55 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Pretentiousness is for anyone who has braved being different, wheth.
I have experienced that a lot so can identify. Lgbt friendly as uses Drag queens and Quentin Crisp as examples of breaking boundaries, ie "pretentiousness" just a putdown for performative innovation. Feb 09, Donna rated it liked it. I was able to read and understand this book, I'm just not sure I'm capable of making the connections necessary to understand pretentiousness in the same way the author does. Chocked full of academic, historical, and cultural illustrations, you can tell Fox did a lot of homework.
There does seem to be an obvious British slant, but not enough to make the book less relevant to American readers. Overall, very interesting look at what pretension really is including the word's roots and that the cou I was able to read and understand this book, I'm just not sure I'm capable of making the connections necessary to understand pretentiousness in the same way the author does. Overall, very interesting look at what pretension really is including the word's roots and that the courageous side of trying to become more, different, better aids in the advancement of humanity, especially in the arts.
Feb 11, Jeroen rated it liked it. The premise of this book, when I first read about it in the Guardian review of the ever-reliable Steven Poole, immediately convinced me: pretentiousness matters and, furthermore, the overuse of the term stifles creativity, stops it in its tracks. While Dan Fox's essay is short, it is somehow still too long, perhaps precisely because I was already converted right from the start.
The argument can be summed up in a sentence: pretentiousness is trying to be more than you are, is improving, is when y The premise of this book, when I first read about it in the Guardian review of the ever-reliable Steven Poole, immediately convinced me: pretentiousness matters and, furthermore, the overuse of the term stifles creativity, stops it in its tracks. The argument can be summed up in a sentence: pretentiousness is trying to be more than you are, is improving, is when your ambition outstrips your ability, and — as I think I read somewhere, though perhaps they are not Fox's words — to be an intellectual, one has to be a pseudo-intellectual first.
That is the natural order of things. Strangely though, much of this short book is a defense of the author's personal favorite art, the music he grew up with, and all of this becomes clear in a postscript that would have been better suited at the beginning, in which Fox recounts his childhood in Wheatley, near Oxford, and his mom and dad's never-flagging ambition, their interest in the world.
To fight it is automatically to let it define you. Better to steer into the skid, as they say. Laugh it off. Write a book about it. May 17, Adam rated it really liked it. This is an excellent extended essay that convinced me that "pretentious" is a poor form of criticism, for many reasons. First, because the way it's most often used is meaningless, adaptable to just about any situation, and it's used as substitute for a full argument without actually making one.