Pretentiousness: Possibly a Good Thing

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Dan Fox, author of Pretentiousness: Why It Matters, writing for the Financial Times:

Pretension can never be fully absolved of its associations with snobbery, but whereas the snob is obsessed by what other people are thinking of them, the pretentious person might be acting out of innocence. A person’s interests or creative efforts might look ridiculous to others, but in many instances they come from a place of sincerity, marking a genuine interest in some aspect of their life or the world around them. A pretentious person may simply be an amateur, having a go out of enthusiasm. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good at what they do, but it marks the willingness to try, and across the arts, that willingness to make an effort and possibly fail is vital to creative progress. The person who embarks on an artistic project with the knowledge that it will succeed, knowing precisely what it will look or sound like, will rarely discover anything new in the process. As Woody Allen once said: “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”

 
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