Thursday, September 09, 2010

Grappling with Pretension

I admit that when I was in college and afterward, I was indeed pretentious. I mean, I can laugh about it now, but back in the late 1990's and early part of the last decade, I really thought highly of myself and my supposed intellectual prowess and great taste. I had read all these great books and watched all these films, so clearly I was awesome (or at least I was in my own mind).

When you are in the middle of that, you have a hard time seeing just how much of an ass you are. Though, sometimes you do have something to measure yourself against.

Because even then, there were people who I had classes with who rubbed me the wrong way. You know, like your peers who would name drop some semi-obscure writer every time they were discussing anything in class in a vain attempt to impress the professor. I still remember the names of a few of these individuals, but it wouldn't be my style to name them.

And I took a lot of creative writing courses in university, so you know I met quite a few characters who certainly fit that same bill. That was pretension concentrate. Well, that and passive-aggressive hatred, because if there is one thing aspiring writers hate, it is other writers. Those of you who took some of the higher level courses in this particular field, look in your hearts, because you know it's true.

Thankfully, I had never been one of those people that turned their nose up at television or act like only morons read/watched/listened to certain things, nor did I at any time approach hipsterism or self-parody, which I am proud of. It is a small victory, true, but one worth celebrating.

I mean, the pursuit of higher education is really a collective excuse to put on airs which the outside world luckily knocks out of most people. I am glad it did that to me for the most part, because it isn't natural to act like that. I was never better than anyone else, and I am not a tastemaker. I just like and dislike the things I do, and I try not to act like too much of an asshole outside of my attempts to be humorous.

I do still occasionally dive back into that well from time to time, but I catch myself doing it more often these days. Still, I admit that I likely have a blind spot, so if you think I am pretentious now, you should have met me back then. I think I would kick my own ass circa 1998, and I would richly deserve it.


John said...

I would have enjoyed being a hipster. Once, I harbored dreams of opening a hookah bar in some college town.

Thankfully, working at Wal-Mart all through college helped keep me grounded.

Megan said...

Better pretentious with a little learning behind it than condescending yet ignorant, I always say.

Megan said...

Wait, what did I just say?

Tracey said...

Ah yes, the benefit of getting older (and wiser) is we can look back at our younger selves and laugh at how ridiculous everything was...

MC said...

John: Though I am sure you saw quite a few hipsters there trying to be ironic.

Megan: Yeah, but pretention with a lot of learning trumps both though.

Tracey: At least there aren't any incriminating photos or videos of me from that time period. At least, I don't think there are.