The End of Smug
I enjoy Tatler magazine, so British, so chic. In this June issue, an article by Gavanndra Hodge (handle: @gavanndra), entitled, “The end of smug,” puzzled me at first. Was it smug, snug, or snog? The end of snug would have triggered a completely different emotion, closer to the end of snog: one of profound sadness.
I put my glasses on: smug it was. I had to double-check on the definition: self-satisfied, self-congratulatory, complacent, superior, pleased with oneself, conceited.
Gavanndra Hodge (such a strange name, a pen name?) describes this irritating social phenomenon: I, me and myself love me so much, versus the “woefully imperfect” rest of humanity.
I had to scream along with her: Stop please!
It does not mean that I detest social media. As a tool, it depends on what people do with it. I do enjoy social media, part entertainment, part information, with a dose of voyeurism..…. For me, Facebook is similar to reading a magazine, curated according to my taste, with my selected FB friends, some of whom are scientists, journalists I have never met. Some of my friends including myself once in a while use Facebook to share articles, hobbies, music, support a cause, etc hence far away from self congratulations.
However, social media has become the best outlet for a sort of nouveau riche’s attitude: constant self-gratification. Tell the rest of the world how beautiful, smart, lucky, talented, wealthy, and wonderful parents, business people etc.… you are. These posts have zero sense of humor, no distance, no wink, not one single element of self-deprecation. They very rarely include pictures of a burnt cake, a moment in an imperfect life, a down side. It is more about victory, love and glory. Too many times, people use social media not to share ideas, interest, hobbies, but to script their life.
Not that self expressions should be banned, but too much is too much. It is totally appropriate to mention your talents and share your great successes. A sense of self-worth and pride is healthy. Nonetheless, we are bombarded by arrogance, screaming its glory. I can’t stand the unbearable endless stream of self-promotion and exasperated narcissism. Vanity did exist before social media; it was only limited to closed circles. The difference now is the exhibitionist diffusion of vanity.
Look at me: don’t I look gorgeous?
Believe me: I eat what I want, never mind, I have a great metabolism.
Read that: I am the best runner
Trust me: my beautiful cooking pictures
Befriend me: I am so cool, I know the fashionable crowd
Envy me: my husband adores me
Copy me: I travel all over the world
Love me: because I love me
Not only, it quickly starts being repetitive (and therefore boring), but I believe these people miss the main point of life: love. Love is to give. To give is not a self-centered act, but directed at others: give attention, empathy, listening, care, time, and energy. Give of yourself.
Doctor, am I eternal?
Some would argue that the louder they scream, the more insecure they are. I do not know. Are they using these new tools as a therapy? Is this constant self-promotion a manifestation of a hidden sense of the humanly, tragically unbearable lightness of being? I do not wish to enter this debate. However, the constant chatter for attention reminds me of spoiled children. Basta!
The art of living is definitely an art. Yes, it is difficult to be happy, to be really loved. Vanity is human. However, the path of age and understanding yourself, and self-consciousness is meant to make us more open to others, not suffering from a narcissistic diarrhea.
Watch your manners!
As Gavanndra writes in this article, it was considered chic to downplay one’s blessings in the British upper class. I would add that it is not only a value of the British upper class, but in other countries as well. Modesty is a quality, along with sense of humor. Deprecate your talents. Laugh at yourself. People with “class” consider vulgar this constant display of self and self-aggrandisement. It’s so nouveau riche.
Love me, instead. (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)
Like my article, please.
P.S.: Another article by Gavanndra Hodge 10 smug things you should never post online.
Guest post by Yendi Dial @Yendial