On the internet, there exists an opulent number of knuckle-draggers who have a favorite word in their arsenal. When a film, a book, a comic, or any piece of media comes out that receives well-deserved acclaim that these people dislike, they draw this word and fire. This word is "pretentious" and, quite frankly, the internet needs to stop using it.
Urban Dictionary, however, has a far more appropriate definition for the word in this new era:
In the English-speaking world, "pretentious" has become a catch-all phrase to criticize anything or anyone that is vaguely heartfelt, intellectual, earnest, sincere, artistic, unconventional, nonconformist, non-commercial, or not on TV, on Youtube or in the supermarket.Thanks to Seth MacFarlane, we have people who lob the word at "The Godfather." Because of Kevin Smith, many hurl the word at "The Lord of the Rings" when they're not too busy quoting Randal (who, might I remind you, is into hermaphroditic porn and donkey shows), and both men have made no secret that their characters' opinions reflect their own. Naturally, their fans who simply parrot what they say while throwing the p-word at these movies are actually pretentious themselves. Even my beloved "Gargoyles" has had the word thrown at it a few times; I recall one individual --who had admitted to never watching it-- calling it both "pretentious" and "white elephant art." This same individual did not much care for "Batman the Animated Series," (he also used the word there).
Last night, I re-watched "Django Unchained" with the family, and Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Calvin Candie, is the perfect example of the correct use of the word "pretentious." In Calvin we had a self-declared Francophile who demanded to be addressed as "Monsieur Candie," and even named one of his slaves D'Artagnan. However, just before meeting him, one of our protagonists was advised not to speak French to Candie because "Monsieur" Candie himself did not speak a word of it, and it would embarrass him. "Monsieur" Candie was later shown to have no idea who Alexandre Dumas was, despite naming one of his slaves after the protagonist of Dumas' novel. Candie would present himself as a sophisticated, even aristocratic, southern gentleman but had no idea what the word "panache" meant. This my friends is an example of actual pretentiousness at work.
So, internet, if you must use this word, please use it correctly or not at all. Because ninety-nine out of one-hundred people who use it to sound intelligent clearly aren't, and reveal themselves as ignorant and pretentious in the process.