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the humble-brag.

May 15, 2012

since i’m usually pretty behind on the internet (!! facepalm lolz) i only just learned the term “humble-brag” the other week. there’s a whole twitter feed dedicated to it. urban dictionary, our generation’s merriam-webster, defines the HB as

“When you, usually consciously, try to get away with bragging about yourself by couching it in a phony show of humility.”

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HA! first of all, i love this. not the act of humble-bragging but the fact that there’s a term dedicated to sussing out the people who vaunt themselves. and then, on second look and second thought, i went aw shit because i realised that i probably do this, too, when it comes to rustling up publicity – for lack of a better term – about my writing. this entire blog is probably a humble-brag. (sidenote: the other day i said “oh, i love blogging!” at my internship, and then nearly barfed at myself for saying such a thing and using “blogging” as a verb. anna, anna, anna, what have you done! look at your life, look at your choices!) i post publication updates on facebook. i tweet things, though not very ably.

let’s get real. the writing world is changing, but because i’m younger i only really know this “new” world of writing, where facebook and twitter and websites and all those websites with one-syllable names (fark bing bong bark barf) or websites missing a vowel (tumblr flickr pukr) are actually extremely useful tools in disseminating information. for the longest time, i was very reticent to link my blog posts to facebook, because i unsubscribe from anyone who spams my feed (!) with jibjab like that. but then when i started doing it, my hits rose, and now i have actual people who aren’t my actual friends reading this blog, which is – i might say – fecking awesome. i can invite people to readings through facebook, or follow publishers on twitter. a few months ago i went on a binge where i started signing up for magazines’ newsletters – except most of the mags didn’t have newsletters, they had twitter accounts, so i had to start sorting my twitter lists and being an actual organised person.

when i recently got published in rhubarb, i posted it on facebook and i posted it here, too. i did that not because i thought that people would immediately order the issue online – although i’m hoping that by putting myself into their subconscious they might pick up the magazine if they happen to see it in an independent bookstore by chance. i did it because – if i’m being honest – it was nice to get accolades for one of the first real pieces i’ve had published in a paper magazine. it felt good. and it also reinforced for me what amazing friends i have, because the lovely feedback was very heartening. in the “NO NO NO” world of writing (pitches, what’s up) it’s really nice to have a thumbs-up once in a while, whether it’s that little icon on facebook or a real life thumbs up. (but who gives those anymore? i do. i do, in all seriousness.)

maybe we find the humble-brag so despicable because it’s like name-dropping. and it’s also like passive-aggressive people. it’s yucky because the true sentiment is couched in some coy, face-covering curtain of faux-modesty. name-dropping – especially in the canadian literary scene – makes me feel queasy, if done on a regular basis. and passive-aggressive people – well, i’ve never really understood what they’re doing, because i’m usually full-tilt aggressive, which is also not great i know that the goal is to be assertive the middle ground – but i can’t intuit what the aim of PA people is. so maybe that’s why the humble-brag grates on me so much. as i said, maybe i’m guilty of it.

but maybe the goal should be to full-out brag. remember when bragging was considered gross? but now, with the insidious entrance of the HB, maybe bragging should be the standard. just a good, strong brag once in a while – not always – of something you’re proud of. like – stand by your writing. i realise it’s easier said than done, because with every new piece of mine that is published, i have a moment of flitter-twitter where i go shit shit shit is this offensive in some way? am i going to offend someone? it’s like having a moment of hard, pure aggression to sort out a problem – do it once, and then withdraw. post that brag on facebook and feel okay for it. don’t play the coquette with your hand over your eyes. i don’t know. all of the technology that we have makes me feel a little uncomfortable sometimes, especially with the amount of information i could potentially share, but at least i’m posting pictures of magazines i’m published in and not smooching pictures or quotes from marilyn monroe. call me a cynic. i’m still trying to suss out how i feel about starting to become a presence in canadian writing. (a small presence, but a presence! that’s not a brag, that’s weakly-growing confidence.)

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find my pictures of dinners i’ve made on facebook. “lol.”

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to end, i’d like to tell a story that has absolutely nothing to do with this post at all. the other night, i realised that scenes from movies do happen in real life. no, i sadly wasn’t kissed on the bow of a boat. instead, i missed the last bus home by 2 minutes, forgot my house key and had to phone to be let in – and then, as i was walking home, got blasted by all of the sprinklers of an apartment building when they all turned on at once. never stop dreaming, friends. never. stop.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 15, 2012 8:08 am

    “The Humble Rag.”

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