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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.”


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.)


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


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.

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

    “The Humble Rag.”

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