We have a credit system which when analysed meant that we were all pretending to be rich, a social system in which we all pretended to be esquires at the least. We had Dukes who never led, Marquesses with no marches to ward, Knights who could barely sit a donkey; we called our slattern slaves lady helps, our prostitutes soiled doves, our grumbling mumbling fumbling politicians statesmen.
And it is gone like a ghost—and an unclean spirit sure it was that haunted us.
Aleister Crowley, The Vindication of Nietzsche
a prototypic American, one whose view of honor and dignity was circumscribed by lust for gain. He thought of Americans as a decadent people whose idea of refinement is fluffy toilet paper. Affluent children who race about their highways, playing with their CB radios, pretending to be World War II pilots. Where is the fiber in a people whose best-selling poet is Rod McKuen, the Howard Cosell of verse?
Trevanian, Shibumi: A Novel [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]
After these came the Periphallia, a troop of men who carried long poles with Phalli hung at the end of them; they were crowned with violets and ivy, and they walked repeating obscene songs. These men were called Phallophori; these must not be confounded with the Ithyphalli, who, in indecent dresses and sometimes in women’s costume, with garlanded heads and hands full of flowers, and pretending to be drunk, wore at their waist-bands monstrous Phalli made of wood or leather; among the Ithyphalli also must be counted those who assumed the costume of Pan or the Satyrs. There were other persons, called Lychnophori, who had care of the mystic winnowing-fan, an emblem whose presence was held indispensable in these kinds of festivals. Hence the epithet ‘Lychnite’, given to Bacchus.
Richard Francis Burton & Leonard C Smithers, Priapeia, Introduction
I was more pretending to work than I was actually getting much done.
T Thorn Coyle, Bookshop Witch [Amazon, Bookshop]
Because of course the only way pretending is any good is if you never say right out that that’s what you’re doing.
Edward Eager, Half Magic