Let’s Talk About The Smugness Problem

The Chaotic Creative
5 min readSep 23, 2020

It’s everywhere now

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

It’s unnecessary, has become far too prevalent, and is a real threat:

SMUGNESS.

What do I mean by this?

Inflammatory internet posts that masquerade as “harmless” or without negative intent and play the victim when they’re met with backlash (or are inciters of excessive outrage).

Cocky, know-it-all attitudes (both qualified and unqualified) in writing or the conveyance of information.

A refusal to acknowledge opposing viewpoints or even fathom real, intellectual discussion.

And no, it’s not just politics I’m referring to (although that is a clear example of this phenomenon at its worst).

Yes, there have always been dickish people who exhibited this poignant tone and toxic cockiness in their writing or expression. However, to merely brush off the problem and “ignore those posts” just doesn’t cut it anymore. I’d argue that it’s gotten much worse overall.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Root Causes

  1. Social Media:

The concept of “platforms” and “social media platforming”has drastically changed the game of information consumption. Having a “platform on Instagram” as a celebrity or “influencer” comes with certain endorsements and a sense of ownership and the ability to reach many people.

If you can post something compelling on Instagram or express something with enough conviction, you are pretty much instantaneously met with praise and accolades, regardless of what you’re actually saying. Again, I’ll acknowledge this has always been true throughout history. However, you no longer need to be qualified and the ability to convey such things is simpler than ever before.

It’s easy to let this power go to your head.

“I’m not being condescending or causing polarization. I’m helping the world. I’m an influencer, after all. Far above these laymen that read my posts”

Facts? Not really necessary. Logic? If it suits your needs and it sounds good, then you’re…

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