There can’t be many things more galling in this world than pretentious children. On my tube the other day there was a child, floppy looking and no older than 8, who thought he was it. He initially caught my attention by reading a paper in an adult manner. He held it up in front of his face and even licked his fingers at one point before turning one of the pages. It’s a fine line between such a scene being humorously charming and intensely annoying, and he quickly slipped into the latter category when his friend, also too young to have any opinion worth listening to, sat down next to him. As they discussed an article together as if UN head honcho’s I was waiting for one of them to spark up a pipe, when, low and behold, a third friend appeared wielding a musical instrument that clattered into my aging knee.
It got me thinking about just how pathetic a human trait pretentiousness is. Hate, envy, betrayal, greed, selfishness, and intolerance can all lay claim to being more negative characteristics, but at least they involve real, genuine, useful, tangible emotions and feelings. Pretentiousness is nothing, as useful as bacon in Baghdad. I struggle to think of one possible advantage of ‘being pretentious’, other than it maybe being a useful title for a documentary focusing on the lives of rockstar children living in East London.
It seems to drive so many negative behaviourisms. The royal definition is ‘attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, than is actually possessed’. Even more pathetic when viewed in written form, it also spawns snobbery, superficiality, and a lack of humility. A pretentious person’s whole being is about being noticed. You’ll only find them trying to impress with pompous speech and behaviours as long as there are plenty of people around to observe such bullshitery. They think themselves better than most others despite the fact that statistically this can rarely be the case.
The pretentious nerd is probably the worst form of pretentious being, their whole existence centred around snitchy misuse of the concepts of intelligence and culture. Instead of appreciating the very essence of life and seeing what the world has to offer they’ll lock themselves in their bedroom and fester whilst engaging in some kind of niche hobby. Emerging only when their own company becomes so stifling they even get bored of pleasuring themselves, they emerge armed with ammunition intended to try and make others feel stupid. It’s almost a form of bullying but because the nerd is craftier about their trade it’s the brute who snaps in the face of such provocation that’s the one roundly booed by society.
Frank Noon comments in ‘2082’ that ‘if anyone calls anyone else uncultured in my opinion that person is then instantly unintelligent. It means they can’t understand that some people have got different interests and views to themselves. The definition of cultured is something like to be enlightened and educated. If you then call someone uncultured you’re damning them for not being educated which is disgusting as it’s probably not their fault. Also that person might be more enlightened than you on subjects such as football and fried foods so you’re not as knowledgeable as them on those subjects. Who’s to say that being interested in art means you’re more cultured than someone interested in football, which is an art anyway in a sense. Whatever happened to real people, those with sincerity, honesty, people with a strength of character?’
Frank Noon is one of those people and if you want to follow his journey then now is the best time to jump on board, with ‘2082: The Chronicles Of Hope’, FREE to download on kindle until Monday 6th May. I feel a little pretentious even supposing that anyone might read this but if you do then please spread the word. Thanks