Voices

Going to the Well: This art school buzzword is a real buzzkill.

Pretentious

Part of Speech: Adjective

Definition: Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.

Words like this one are tossed around like proverbial pizza dough on art school campuses. It seems that anyone with an inkling of pride in their artistic ability is “pretentious.” But the word goes both ways. People who judge art, or have what would be considered more highbrow taste, are also called pretentious for their views. So whether you’re creating, judging or consuming, you’re pretentious.

As a film production major, work within the department is constantly being shot down by fellow students for being too pretentious, as if there’s a defined degree that’s okay. Which there might be. If you think about it for more than two seconds, everyone is pretentious, or has been at some point. As human beings, we’re constantly trying to make something out of nothing, validate our decisions and intellectualize our world. It might happen on different levels with different people, but everyone has at least once in their life put lipstick on a pig, or some long words in an essay.

Granted, I’ve looked at things, people, etc. before and said to myself, “Christ that’s the most pretentious, self-satisfying thing I’ve ever seen. This is garbage and it hurts me,” and I feel bad for it.

Nobody deserves to have their point of view shot down or destroyed because of what someone else deems “pretentious.” Critique should be welcomed, and if part of that critique involves saying that something is pretentious, so be it. But the word should be used sparingly, like an R-Rated swear word. You can’t go running around using the word like a grade school boy who just learned the f-word and wants to impress or shock his friends.

 The “pretentious” count for this article—including that one—is 11 times within less than 400 words. I hear this word at least four times as much as it appears in this article on a daily basis while attending Webster University. At the risk of sounding pretentious (oops there’s another one, 12) this needs to stop.

Story by Brandon Carroll

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