On pretension

One of the many reasons I started this blog was the purely practical reason of getting to know WordPress, the web framework that powers it. The basics are really not that complicated, and the design is now simpler than my previous trial. So I found a free theme online that sorta looked ok, and then got into setting it up. At the top of the blog you can see the title (currently: “Nuxxy”) and just below it is the “tagline”. The instruction in WordPress is “In a few words, explain what this site is about.” And that’s when I started having problems.

I started off filling it out with something quick. “Musing and ramblings” came to mind. Not inaccurate…a blog is just writing about stuff. But then I tried to imagine what visitors would think seeing that tagline. And then I pictured someone like this:

Just look at him. Thinking he's better than you.
Just look at him. Thinking he’s better than you.

Someone all snooty and smarmy and pretentious. Sipping some fancy wine that only a connoisseur would have heard about and telling his fellows “Yes Gerald, you really should visit my blog. What’s it about? Oh just musings and ramblings, that sort of thing. Good chap!”

Blah. And then, as is normal with someone with a habit of self-deprecation, I had to engage with an existential wrestling about why I thought anyone would want to read my words. Aren’t I being pretentious by putting up a blog in the first place? This was around 3 am. I should have been sleeping. But instead I was thinking the nature of pretentiousness. Dictionary.com says it is someone or something…

characterized by assumption of dignity or importance, especially when exaggerated or undeserved

Great. Is that me? Is that the real reason I started a blog? And I started thinking of your stereotypical art critic, be it music, movies or paintings. Because, let’s admit it, we love to hate the stereotype. People trying to sound clever, or worse, people saying the thing that they like is good, and by extension, the thing that you like is bad. Everything has to have some deeper meaning, some subtext that is more important than the obvious text, and if you don’t get it, you’re just common and stupid.

Amazing Super Pretentiousness

Like any English setwork class you did at school. You might have liked some Shakespeare if the constant analysis hadn’t sucked all possible fun out of it. MacBeth could could be a tale of action and betrayal if you didn’t have read it with a study guide in the other hand telling you everything means something else, and you’d better remember, because if you fail you’re dumb. At English. Which is not a nice feeling if you don’t really speak anything else.

Contrast that with ‘reimaginings’ where you can just enjoy the story. Like Disney’s The Lion King? Then you like Hamlet. 10 Things I Hate About You? The Taming of the Shrew is for you. It’s alright to just like something for what it is. To enjoy the experience of consumption. And to leave it there, without deeper analysis.

Which lead me to realize that perhaps the worst form of pretension is to assume you have the right to take away their choice. Putting out content, like a blog, or a movie, or a book, is the role you play, but to hide it from others because you don’t think it’s ‘worth’ a viewing is to assume that you have the right to decide what other people will should view and enjoy. And you don’t. So draw. Sing. Compose. Write. And yes, blog. Just create. And leave it to others to decide if they want to experience it.

– Nuxxy

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