There are a lot of people out there that are so far up their own asses that all you’ll be able to see are the tips of their shoes. However, smugness is for everyone, even “normal” people are guilty of being smug. I certainly can attest to coming across as complacent from time to time. It is occasionally unavoidable, but that doesn’t make it any easier to hold back all of the building violent urges you feel when someone’s sense of self-satisfaction gets right up inside your face.
This all stems from an overriding desire to be superior. Striving to be the best is commendable but how helpful is basking in the warmth of your own perception of self-worth? Everyone wants to believe that their chosen life path is unquestionably the best, this is why people are so proud of their adequate children and refuse to stop talking about their boring jobs. Progressing through my twenties, I have noticed that everyone starts assuring themselves (and everyone around them) that the places they have chosen to visit and live are unquestionably the best too. No where is this more apparent than in the rivalry between the people living in the cool parts of the city and the people who live anywhere else on planet earth.
I’d, personally, love to live in all of the hippest places of several cities but they are sometimes prohibitively expensive and have a slightly more dense population of smugly successful people who have also just moved there. This is a phenomenon I simply cannot comprehend. You’re never going to be an overnight success in a new place. The only exception being this documentary series I saw about a man who took a taxi from west Philadelphia to Bel Air and was made prince of the entire city overnight. I would expect they did this because he would have to be an eccentric millionaire to pay the several thousand dollars it would cost just to take a cab.
Being completely objective, I don’t imagine a person’s overwhelming hubris is too destructive until it gets directed at another person. The problem being that people love to make assumptions and give advice about things they have no experience in. However, they will still find a way to channel it through their own unrelated experiences and pride before radiating it out of the toothy void in the middle of their face.
Think about the moment of your first kiss. Before then you were likely a bit put off by the entire concept but afterward you probably changed your tune. Did you have any idea of all of the unbridled perversion and despicable acts that it would eventually lead to? Of course you didn’t, nobody did. The same goes for every other moment of our lives. We should be perpetually learning new things and attempting to remain humbly open minded. Real experience means acknowledging that there may not be a right answer.
That’s not to say that pride isn’t important, we just all need to ride the line and not find ourselves going over the edge and falling into the smugness abyss. And, if you are going to be conceited, you’d better have a valid reason as to why.
I think you must be hanging round with the wrong people, most people I know are not in the least bit smug!
Not everyone is smug all of the time but everyone is, at least, a little smug some of the time.
Maybe I just hang out with too many people. I keep considering never leaving the house, but then I’d have no one to be smug to when I REALLY needed it.
I hope someday you will do as well as I have. I have more rejection notes from publishers than you will ever get. My success has not come easy as it has taken 35 years to get this many. That makes be better than almost everyone.
More rejection notes from publishers, eh? This sounds like a challenge.
I know what you mean.
I know a guy called Mark who robs everyone – he even robbed me once – who boasts of his criminality and has NEVER seen the inside of a jail cell.
He takes such pride in his criminal credentials he forgets that one day the boom is going to come down and pulverise his life forever, but until then he is living the high life, smug as can be…
You should snatch him up in a bear-trap.
Now that is a snobby snub nose if I ever saw one. And the slitty little eyes, so full of ennui. Well drawn.
And, to you, well read.
One of my favorite comedians, Bill Burr, introduced me to the phrase “Cozy Smug Cunt” as a way to describe people. I think it originated from Britian, with all the rest of the good insults.
Apparently there are “cool” parts of Nashville, I mean I kind just like certain places scattered about Nashville and as long as people aren’t getting shot in that area I am likely to go wherever. There are far too many smug people who’s heads need to spontaneously explode. Cats shouldn’t get too big for their britches, they’re quit illiterate and happen to be terrible spellers, I see it on the internet all the time. I am so not impressed cats!
Cats are great but really should get over themselves.
Love this! :-D
The fool who thinks he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man;
But the fool who thinks he is a wise man is rightly called a fool.
– Dhammapada 63
धम्मपद gets five out of five stars. Definitely one of my favorite pieces of writing after 道德经.
All i can think of is the south park episode where kyle’s family moves to san fransisco. hahahaha
Me too. :)
I’m probably around the same age as you. I do find that a lot of people I know are getting smug about their accomplishments, which are like getting married… or having a job. And it really sucks, I usually respond with a great non-sequitur like “cheese is really delcious, I think Bill Cosby probably really likes swiss cheese, he eats it while wearing a sweater.”
But I think most people think I’m a goof!
That’s a pretty good strategy… especially if you continue to reference Bill Cosby. Maybe, eventually, people will think you’re some sort of Cosby expert?
Actually, that would be a pretty great job.
Since I wonder if I’m not hip enuf to post here, I’d say my smug meter is in check… I shall never be an urban hipster…sigh… No trust fund ~
I get the appeal of moving somewhere urban and gritty to save money and be part of the scene, but I don’t get moving to a gritty place that actually costs more to live than most other places and then looking down your nose at everyone/thing else.
I endorse anyone who does their own thing, wants to be part of the scene, live in the neighborhood or anything else– but I cannot endorse anyone being a vacuous self-involved hole living completely outside of every other person’s reality.
Sooo….I’m assuming you’ve run into some smug people now that you’re living in New York?
I run into smug people everywhere (here, back home, out west… probably if I ever went to France), I just happened to get a friendly reminder a few times in a row.
I’ve been to France… the smugness is on a whole different level… just like the sarcasm in the U.K.
p.s.- I love my cat-related-memes and I don’t care who knows.
This subtle yet profoundly disturbing aspect of this smug state of mind is horrible, shameful and frighteningly common in this land of ours. You said it so well: This all stems from an overriding desire to be superior. Our inability to tolerate imperfection, combined with the stunningly naive assumption that we deserve no less than the very best, ironically renders us incapable of contentedness. What an awful trap!
I saw that documentary too, and the guy eventually became a very drunken superhero that got himself hit by a train. I think he saved the planet from destruction by aliens too. He totally beat the smugness trap. Somehow …
I wonder if newborns have insecurities. They probably do, right? At least that would validate the Theory that All Humans are Insecure (hence all of us have that smug chip, you know, as a defense mech). We should have been extinct ages ago if only to follow from the Theory of Eliminating Competition because of these underlying insecurities. But then again we are so insecure about our own capabilities we can’t even get to the first act which is actively trying to get rid of the perceived competition. Don’t ask where I get these theories. I should probably get some sleep.
I bet the concerns of a newborn are similar to that of a very old person.