Semantics

“The “humblebrag” — a boast couched in a self-deprecating comment — has migrated from subtext to text…”

The “humblebrag” — a boast couched in a self-deprecating comment — has migrated from subtext to text, leaving self-awareness passed out in the bathroom behind the potted plant.

Diving at random into the internet and social media finds this new humility everywhere. A soap-opera actress on tour is humbled by the outpouring of love from fans. Comedians are humbled by big laughs, yoga practitioners are humbled by achieving difficult poses, athletes are humbled by good days on the field, Christmas volunteers are humbled by their own generosity and holiday spirit.

And yet none of these people sound very “humbled” at all. On the contrary: They all seem exceedingly proud of themselves, hashtagging their humility to advertise their own status, success, sprightliness, generosity, moral superiority and luck.

Carina Chocano, “Lying Low”, The New York Times Magazine (29 January 2017), 14-15.