Life in London: so many issues. Our inquisitive editor-at-large addresses the ones that nobody else dares (or cares) to. This week: humblebragging.
I’m great, me. I’m bloody brilliant. When Jesus swoops down with an entourage of angels and cuts the ribbon on the afterlife, I am pretty sure that I’m a shoo-in for the ‘Best Alexi’ award. After all, I’m only the Alexiest Alexi that ever Alexied. Bow down before me, peasants.
Annoyed yet? You should be. I’ve just spent the last five sentences sounding like a penis. Yes, yes: I sound like a penis every week. Thank you at the back. Marvellous sense of humour. My point is this: bragging sucks. It’s boorish. It’s self-obsessed. At its worst, it suggests you don’t give a monkey’s about other people. Although admittedly it won’t do your rap career any harm.
But you know what I don’t have such a problem with? Humble bragging. You’ll have seen it. The art of trying to seem humble on social media while alluding to your life’s aceness. For example: ‘I’m such a man-whore. I really need to start turning down some of these supermodels.’ Or ‘Can you believe I’ve just been asked to open for Beyoncé at Madison Square Gardens? But I’ve only sold 30,000 singles!’
Now, I know I’m in the minority here. I realise that humblebragging makes most people want to claw their corneas loose. I can tell from the countless listicles devoted to mocking it. Or the dedicated @Humblebrag Twitter account that retweets flashy statements cloaked in humility. Last month, humblebrags even irritated their way into the Oxford English Dictionary.
Me, though: I think it’s good manners to downplay the cool stuff that happens to you. This whole: ‘If you want to boast, just boast’ argument that people make? I’m not into it. On social media, my view is much the same as with real life: ‘If you want to boast, tangle yourself up into a knot of awkwardness and then spend the next ten minutes apologising.’
Take, for example, this comment by Stephen Fry that the @Humblebrag Twitter account have posted up so we can all have a good ol’ laugh at the massive ego he crams into his vainglorious bonce: ‘Oh dear. Don’t know what to do at the airport. Huge crowd, but I’ll miss my plane if I stop and do photos … oh dear, don’t want to disappoint.’ Isn’t that just a nice man undergoing a dilemma? Yes, it drops in that people love him so much he can’t walk through a crowd without being stopped for photos. But so what? That’s just the dude’s life. What should we expect from updates on his celeb lifestyle? Tales of shopping expeditions to Poundland?
If that rubs you up the wrong way, you’re basically saying: ‘I think you are self-obsessed, Mr Stephen Fry. I don’t believe that you genuinely experience humility. I think that your last tweet was 140 characters of emotional manipulation.’ Well, either that or ‘I prefer it when people don’t talk about their lives.’ Which you should probably rephrase as: ‘This whole social media thing ain’t for me.’
We already live in a world where every third Facebook post or tweet is essentially: ‘Just spent a great night eating/drinking/existing at a trendy bar/expensive restaurant/exotic landmass.’ The majority of Instagram is basically the photographic equivalent of yelling ‘Hahaha! Look at all the artisan coffee I drink!’ Would it hurt if we were a little more apologetic? A tad more bashful about stuff? Admittedly, people might not believe your humility. But sod ’em. It’s nice to be nice.
Find out more of Alexi’s burning questions including ‘Shouldn’t the Queen’s Guards get more money for dancing on duty?’