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Fruitbat
03-09-2011, 03:58 AM
Has anyone else gotten the impression that "the arts" (not just writing) have more than their fair share of, umm, you know, the "P" word?

I used to go to poetry readings at a local coffeehouse and got such a kick out of a group who dressed all in black and adopted a group sulk. They even seemed to have picked up their own dialect (kind of low and nasal, with drawn out vowels). They were adorable, but others have driven me nuts.

How do you define "poser?" Do you know any? :)

citymouse
03-09-2011, 04:07 AM
Ah yes, I remember those from my beat days. "Look Ma, I've got cavities; empty spaces where my dreams should be." I've no idea what that means!

muravyets
03-09-2011, 04:16 AM
As a fine artist and unpublished writer, I know tons of posers, by which I mean people for whom the work is more an ego exercise than anything else. They irritate me to no end. In fine art, especially, I have an issue with them, because they feed off the conceit that art is not a profession, that it's some kind of rarified state of being in creativity that just lives on air or the favors of "patrons" -- who stopped existing when Peggy Guggenheim died, so that now "patron" means indulgent spouse or parent who makes no quality demands whatsoever.

It's nothing new, and even some successful artists and writers who others fawn all over -- and fawning, both giving and taking, is a hallmark of poserism -- are guilty of it, starting, possibly, with that self-indulgent bastard, Byron. All that "art is pure, and concern for money debases it" started, I think, with his fan base -- and he loved to encourage it. Feh! Easy for him -- he was independently wealthy, miserable little weasel.

My artistic mentors are people like da Vinci and Rembrandt and the other Old Masters. Those guys worked their asses off for the rent money and three square meals a day. They were professionals.

ETA: Also artists like Warhol who came out of commercial art (advertising) and who worked a lot harder than it looked like they did and who had something of substance to say about the world, dammit, and who were sympathetic critics of new artists, rather than feeding their own egos and hogging the spotlight by blocking entry to the market for others coming up. It's my personal opinion that much of the art scene in NYC died with Andy Warhol because for so many others, it was just a circle jerk of jealousy and undermining.

Mr Flibble
03-09-2011, 04:27 AM
They aren't confined to the arts. Sadly they are everywhere. I think that's what they call 'life'.

quicklime
03-09-2011, 05:34 AM
poser is anyone who pretends they walk the walk when they do not--kids in skate rags who can barely stay balanced on a board, or coffee-shop "artistes" who can't be bothered to edit their own work.

an elitist insists on making their special something more unique or special than it really is, mostly for the purpose of looking down on others.

Writing collects a good many of them both....so does dance or other "arts" but also a lot of other things like wine groups, fly-fishing circles, etc....

Susan Littlefield
03-09-2011, 09:22 AM
There are elitists in every group for sure. I think posing might be about wanting to fit in somewhere, or perhaps even low self esteem.

muravyets
03-09-2011, 09:28 AM
I vote low self-esteem. I base that on the jealousy about others that I see very commonly among people I think of as posers. For some, it's like a contest to see who can be the most/best of whatever their group is about, though not necessarily by actually doing it or doing it well.

Phaeal
03-09-2011, 06:48 PM
I believe J. D. Salinger wrote a well-received novel on the subject of posers. Actually, a couple. Posing is a social phenomenon not confined to humanity -- see peacocks, cats with arched backs, and bright-butted baboons. There's also the identity- and community-building aspect of posing, as you noted in the coffee shop.

Endlessly interesting subject.

Jamesaritchie
03-09-2011, 06:55 PM
Why worry about it? Posers harm no one, and they're only irritating if you spend time listening to them. I even suspect spending time at poser get togethers probably means you're in danger of becoming a poser.

Really, just spend your time doing your own thing.

LaceWing
03-09-2011, 07:48 PM
Behind every poseur I expect to find one who wishes they could write, or otherwise exemplify, something or other that feels real and true -- if only they sensed (or had personally incorporated) the right audience.

This is to say, I think, that receptive and sympathetic readers play an essential role.

Edit to add: I know I'm reaching . . . it's this feedback loop I want to get a handle on.

quicklime
03-09-2011, 08:08 PM
Behind every poseur I expect to find one who wishes they could write, or otherwise exemplify, something or other that feels real and true -- if only they sensed (or had personally incorporated) the right audience.

This is to say, I think, that receptive and sympathetic readers play an essential role.

Edit to add: I know I'm reaching . . . it's this feedback loop I want to get a handle on.

I'm gonna disagree.

The skate-kid who can't skate and talks like he's the next Tony Hawk isn't doing poorly because he hasn't found an appreciative audience, where he would shred like an angry god, and the poser who talks a good game about their writing skill but hasn't even finished a book, or refuses to edit, hasn't even hit the point of finding an audience inthe first place.

Maybe we're defining poser differently, to me it is someone who goes out of their way to leave the impression they do something they cannot or will not actually do.

COchick
03-09-2011, 08:16 PM
I'm gonna disagree.

The skate-kid who can't skate and talks like he's the next Tony Hawk isn't doing poorly because he hasn't found an appreciative audience, where he would shred like an angry god, and the poser who talks a good game about their writing skill but hasn't even finished a book, or refuses to edit, hasn't even hit the point of finding an audience inthe first place.

Maybe we're defining poser differently, to me it is someone who goes out of their way to leave the impression they do something they cannot or will not actually do.

Agreed. I think posers are usually those who want the attention they see others receiving, or they just want to be "different". Those people usually seem to have little skill and no interest in being what they are parading around as.

When I go out to the coffee shop to write (which I have stopped doing for the most part) I've heard all sorts of interesting conversations between "artists"...(painters, writers...I don't know) I once heard a woman said "I'm such a free spirit," which made me laugh. Listen, if you have to TELL people that's what you are, then you're probably just a poser.

quicklime
03-09-2011, 08:26 PM
I once heard a woman said "I'm such a free spirit," which made me laugh. Listen, if you have to TELL people that's what you are, then you're probably just a poser.


Reminds me of the radio club we had at school; a dozen kids in army trenchcoats and dyed, dark hair, all trying to look sulky and disaffected, all shuffling along and smoking at the corner, all wearing the same shit to proudly proclaim what individuals they were

LaceWing
03-09-2011, 08:31 PM
I'm gonna disagree.

The skate-kid who can't skate and talks like he's the next Tony Hawk isn't doing poorly because he hasn't found an appreciative audience, where he would shred like an angry god, and the poser who talks a good game about their writing skill but hasn't even finished a book, or refuses to edit, hasn't even hit the point of finding an audience inthe first place.

Maybe we're defining poser differently, to me it is someone who goes out of their way to leave the impression they do something they cannot or will not actually do.

Possibly the difference in our approach has something to with me wondering why one poseur will choose skateboarding and another will choose writing or fine arts or whatever. The choice indicates, let us say, a sensitivity to certain venues. And I'm flirting here with the idea that recognizing that sensitivity may, at the least, be an interesting thing to do.

Since virtually everyone understands what posing is about, I assume we're all vulnerable to it. So, rather than condemn or judge posing as a social extremity, I'd rather just try to work through it. If I'm human, and humans like to pose, then I like to pose, but not everyone poses re the same thing, so why might I choose to pose in one way but not another? If I push this far enough, the poseur offers a compliment in a perverse kind of way.

Fruitbat
03-10-2011, 12:00 AM
Poseurs can be identified by their excessive cranium accessories...;)

http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRuk60u2iyqmRIrO6s5_HHQdL5Csidk9 ZwVLwZhqDZpreTGml-pTw (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.yanewyork.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/poseur.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.yanewyork.com/2008/08/poseur-by-rachel-maude/&usg=__KgZkHRU22MavoG99zYrdNZj5Wxc=&h=500&w=331&sz=83&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=8xWP2nq3PGs7EM:&tbnh=129&tbnw=110&ei=4tt3Tcf6HeqM0QGS3Yi6Bw&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dliterary%2Bposeurs%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX %26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us%26rlz%3D1I7ADSA_en%26biw%3D973%26bih%3D560%26tb s%3Disch:1%26prmd%3Divnsb&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=632&vpy=57&dur=11421&hovh=276&hovw=183&tx=74&ty=134&oei=4tt3Tcf6HeqM0QGS3Yi6Bw&page=1&ndsp=19&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:0)



... I even suspect spending time at poser get togethers probably means you're in danger of becoming a poser...

I suspect you are in danger of becoming Jar Jar Binks. :tongue

KathleenD
03-10-2011, 12:59 AM
To me, poser = aspirational. They aspire to something they perceive the real thing as having. To continue with the high school theme (because in a high school you find all the "types" you'll find in the so-called real world, nicely delineated and hanging out in packs), take the metalheads.

There was a group of people in my high school who wore the "right" shirts, knew who the "right" bands were, and could discuss the influences of each band, both musical and philosophical. Say what you will about those kids, they had a clear identity with the fun bonus of scaring the living crap out of the preppy kids.

Then you had the metal posers, who wanted to be scary without losing popularity, wanted to appear to have read Nietzsche without having to know all the big words, and wanted to be taken seriously by scary people who had read Nietzsche.

Authenticity is not assigned a value with posers. Perception IS.

Rhoda Nightingale
03-10-2011, 01:27 AM
In terms of high school, I'm somewhat sympathetic to the poser mentality. It seems to me less a lack of authenticity (even though there's a bit of that in there) and more a desperation to find some clique to cling to so as not to be eaten alive by the Cool Kids. The idea of fitting in someplace, even if you had to affect a personality type that isn't yours, is easy to understand in that context.

Anywhere else, it's well past time to grow the hell up and find your OWN personality.

gothicangel
03-10-2011, 01:54 AM
There is no bigger poser than my ex-boss.

He could afford to be though . . . he is a michelin star chef.

veinglory
03-10-2011, 02:02 AM
My internal definition is that a poser is someone who gets more gratification out of being something (writer) than doing it (writing).

AEFerreira
03-10-2011, 07:53 AM
I don't worry about posers or even think they need lable or definition. The arts are meant to be enjoyed. If someone enjoys dressing up in black with scarves and berets and hanging out at cafes, all the power to them. Who am I to judge motive? Welcome.

I don't know why, but my impression is that writers seems to be way more hung up defining each other in and out of the "real writer" clique more than other artists. My husband is a musician, a professional one, a real damn good "artist", and I've never heard him or his fellow musicians blast anyone interested in the music scene as a "poser". Now untalented, commercially packaged pop singers and that crap...that they blast. But the trendy kid who hangs out at the club and wants to try his hand at drums to be cool? Not at all.

And all of the painters and art gallery types I know/am related to also love those who love the scene for the sake of the scene.

I think any artist who has confidence in their own authenticity doesn't need to go around worrying about who is a poser and who is not.

dangerousbill
03-10-2011, 08:25 AM
How do you define "poser?" Do you know any? :)

I assume a 'poseur' is short on accomplishment but long on accoutrements.

But far more annoying than poseurs are the occasional insufferable blowhards or snobs who turn out to be really good writers.

backslashbaby
03-10-2011, 11:05 AM
I don't know that I usually mind posers. It depends on what they are posing about, I think. If someone sits around discussing writing but never writes, I'm not going to judge that. I'll discuss writing with them :)

OTOH, I do remember an instance of posing that burnt me up because of its hypocrisy. A rude socialite who never had a nice thing to say about any of my punk friends actually came to one of our parties and tried to fit in. She put these people (and me, I'm sure) down 24/7 and had the nerve to show up because she was bored one night? No. It didn't end well for her.

I think if you truly like whatever you are trying to posture about, fair enough or your own business. If you've railed against it, you have some explaining to do at the very least!

WildScribe
03-10-2011, 11:15 AM
I once heard a woman said "I'm such a free spirit," which made me laugh. Listen, if you have to TELL people that's what you are, then you're probably just a poser.

I think I finally figured out why I bristle whenever I hear someone say this. It just... annoys me. Every time.

Phaeal
03-10-2011, 09:54 PM
I, on the other hand, am an extremely expensive spirit. Bentley Turbo R class, dahlings.

RIFF
03-11-2011, 03:28 AM
'Poser' suggests the music biz, which attracts more of them than any other 'art.'
Unfortunately a large percentage of them have ended up on stage.

parttimegenius
03-11-2011, 08:53 PM
Poets can be terrible, especially those that do a lot of public reading (and not enough writing). I sometimes (rarely, but still) get invited to read, but even though I'm not half bad at it (ha!) and even though it's nice to have an audience - there are more poets than readers these days - having to speak with other poets is so draining, I decline more than I accept.

Erwin

jenga
03-12-2011, 06:05 PM
Even posers have their standards it seems...

I once overheard an "artiste" complaining about the number of posers and wannabes in the local artist community. But he was wearing a Jamaican cap, dreads, and a lip ring (and this was in the Philippines).