Make Believe: On the Power of Pretentiousness

Episode 166 · April 3rd, 2024 · 1 hr 13 mins

About this Episode

In culture and the arts, labeling something you don't like (or don't understand) "pretentious" is the easy way out. It's a conversation killer, implying that any dialogue is pointless, and those who disagree are merely duped by what you've cleverly discerned as a charade. It's akin to cynically revealing that a magic show is all smoke and mirrors—as if creative vision doesn't necessitate a leap of faith. In this episode, Phil and JF explore the nuances of pretentiousness, distinguishing between its fruitful and hollow forms. They argue that the real gamble, and inherent value, of daring to pretend lies in recognizing that imagination is an active contributor to, rather than a detractor from, reality.

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Brian Eno, A Year with Swollen Appendices
Dan Fox, Pretentiousness: Why it Matters
Ramsay Dukes, How to See Fairies
Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens
Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition
Weird Studies, Episode 49 on Nietzsche’s idea of “untimely”
Sokal Affair, scholarly hoax
Weird Studies, Episode 75 on ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’
Stanley Kubrick, “Notes on Film”
Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Uses and Abuses of History
Vladimir Nabokov, Think, Write, Speak
Mary Shelley, “Introduction to Frankenstein”
Matt Cardin, A Course in Demonic Creativity
Playboy interview with Stanley Kubrick