On Pretension 18 December 2007Posted by Todd in Commentary, Culture, Philosophy & Social Theory, Pop Culture.
A brief comment during a long stream-of-consciousness conversation with my good friend Oakland Chloë (who comments here frequently) combined with a comment from Wry Catcher in my Xmas post below have provoked in me a brief fuming rant, which follows:
Wry, I’ve become über-aware of pretension lately, and saying “Silver and Gold” as your xmas colors doesn’t even come close. I live in the city of pretension (San Francisco), although here it’s less about normal elitist/ruling-class pretension than about Bay Area hipper-than-thou, liberal-er-than-thou, critical-er-than-thou or tasteful-er-than-thou (in a SoMa/Haight/Mission kinda way).
I find most culture at the present to be mere pretentious window dressing and slight of hand, used to avoid real connection, communication, affect, and vulnerability. Everything feels fake to me, from ethnic “identities” to politics to “art”. I’m weary of everything having to be “ironic” in order to be acceptable. I mean, god forbid anything should be sincere or any human being should actually have a pulse and an emotional connection to anything. God forbid that someone should actually find meaning in something that anyone “in the know” knows is just stupid/tasteless/immature/common or, worst of all, “bourgeois” or “provincial” or “middle-class”. Most irritating of all is the that the people saying this shit are all, themselves, middle-class professional educated-in-the-humanities pretentious fucks.
I had a friend over the other day who looked at my Christmas decorations and said, “At least they’re ironic.” WhiskyTangoFoxtrot**? They are tacky, drawing fully and unapologetically from my white-trash upbringing. But they are not in the least ironic. I love the Winter Holidays, and I put them up as sincere celebration.
Let’s talk about pretention: You’re stupid/conservative/retrograde if you in anyway take anything seriously or derive pleasure from in anyway any thing that does not pass postmodern muster.
Fuck that shit. I’ll take good old class-warfare, WASPy ruling class elitist pretension any day over this bullshit.
**I’m stealing this witicism from Bard, a cyber-acquaintance who cracks my shit up; mother of multiple small humans and “non-traditional” undergraduate majoring in Econ at some school in Michigan, land of snow, race riots, shaky auto manufacturers (although no actual manufacturing actually occurs there anymore), and crumbing cities.