2012 Poseur Alert Of The Year Nominees

Poseur alerts are awarded for passages of prose that stand out for pretension, vanity and really bad writing designed to look like profundity.

Below are the finalists we’ve selected for Poseur Alert Of The Year, please review them and then vote for your favorite at the bottom of the page.


Paul Hokemeyer on Cupcakes (Feb 11):

“Through cupcakes, seemingly innocent little ‘treats,’ we can project fantasies of who and what we desire to be. Instead of connecting us to others, however, cupcakes keep us separate and add to our sense of isolation. … [C]upcakes evidence the narcissism born of the Internet by feeding us in shallow and un-nutritious ways. Similar to the way we cruise the Internet looking for bite-size and delicious bits of information, cupcakes enable us to cruise the sugary world of self-indulgence,” – Paul Hokemeyer, Psychotherapist.


Rob Horning on Neoliberalism (Feb 20):

“The stubbornness of resistance can becomes [sic] constitutive of an identity outside of neoliberalist rationalization, which inculcates us with an individualistic and ultimately antihuman ideology of convenience that prompts us to neglect our inescapable, Levinas-ian ‘infinite responsibility to the other.’ Presumably we can never be truly happy on a personal level as long as we are operating as de facto deputies of neoliberalism, but it is impossible for us to will an alternative subjectivity to what it engenders, minus the crucible of precarity. Via precarity we can answer the ‘call to life,'” – Rob Horning.


Colin McGinn on the Penis (May 4):

“Life and death coexist in complex and subtle ways in the penis and testicles, telling a story of triumph and tragedy,” Colin McGinn, The Meaning of Disgust

One of many ridiculous quotes dug up [pdf] by Nina Strohminger in an entertainingly brutal review.


John Dwyer on Tattoos (Oct 13):

“The experienced porn star philosopher starts off among the pack and works to elevate the quotidian to the realm of the exquisite. Jenaveve Jolie has the tattoo equivalent of a rough draft. Across her upper right bicep, a tribal tattoo swirls like the feminine form of barbed wire. Two large feathers from a dream catcher design dangle in the middle, making it just different enough to avoid banality. As with any student’s work, the audience must wonder how much is intentional and how much is random, albeit striking, juxtaposition. Did she understand the ties between the tattoos of ancient tribal cultures? Did Ms. Jolie realize the connection between the speculated migrations of early Asian peoples that populated the Pacific islands as well as North America? The way her tattoo wanders suggests a parallel to the wandering of an entire culture throughout history—sharp turns and dead ends culminating in a web of dreams. Even her stark coloring, all in grayscale, hints at a philosophy still in development,” – John Dwyer.


Robert Stacy McCain on the Right’s Manful Endurance (Nov 8):

“Alas, as always, the duty of the Right is to manfully endure, to survive the defeat and stubbornly oppose the vaunting foe, and so this brutal shock, this electoral catastrophe, must be absorbed and digested. At some point next week or next month or next year, then, we shall recover our morale and plot some new stratagem for the future. In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s debacle, however, it is difficult to see any glimmer of light amid the encroaching gloom. Surely, there are many Americans who now sympathize with that New York infantryman who, in the bleak winter of 1862, when the Union’s Army of the Potomac was under the incompetent command of Gen. Ambrose Burnside, wrote home in forlorn complaint: ‘Mother, do not wonder that my loyalty is growing weak.… I am sick and tired of the disaster and the fools that bring disaster upon us'” – Robert Stacy McCain.


Which nominee do you think was the year’s biggest poseur?

When you’re finished, use one of these links to vote for another 2012 award:

Hewitt Award
Malkin Award
Moore Award
Dick Morris Award
Yglesias Award
Hathos Alert Of The Year
Mental Health Break Of The Year
Face Of The Year
Chart Of The Year

Awards Glossary