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Harris Wittels, take a bow.

Being told you smell or you're boring can be jarring, dislocating, even humiliating but you'd hope to at least be able to claim ignorance - Dear Lord, I didn't know my breath stank like an open grave, I swear! ...

However, when it comes to big-noting, name-dropping, gloating and bragging, come on, we all know when we're doing it and it's just friggin' galling when people try to play innocent.

Most objectionable of all is when a person attempts to mask their narcissism with humility, gloats but hides behind self-deprecation, blows their own horn and pretends it's somehow a sour note, forced upon them.

Forgive the tortured explanation, but I'd never heard of the juicy phenomenon termed "humblebragging" before listening to FM radio last week and hearing the male host explain the concept.

To whit: "humblebragging" is basically self-promotion, whereby the person doing it tries to act all coy, even complain - as if they don't mean to boast about how good they are.

A classic example would be this tweet from an American realtor: "Told the couple renting my house in the midwest, who both lost their jobs last month, not to worry about Nov/Dec rent. They have a little boy."

What a sweet guy. Don't you just wanna drown him in his hot tub? You know a guy like this has one.

The aforementioned FM radio host, however, was going a step further than just highlighting high-profile gloating; he was actually blurting out "humblebrag" during live interviews with bemused celebs, who then ignored him and continued talking about how good they were.

For example:

JOHN EDWARD: I was at a book-signing in San Fran many years ago, there was a whole line of people literally wrapped around the store ...

RADIO HOST: Humblebrag ...

JOHN EDWARD:  ... just to have their book signed.

Or Twilight's Taylor Lautner.

LAUTNER: That is extreme martial arts, I started that at age six and was a four time world champion ...

RADIO HOST: Humblebrag ...

It was pretty funny how self-involved these dudes were - they didn't even notice they were having the piss taken out of them by the interviewer.

Anyway, I Googled "humblebrag" and discovered the radio host was Jules Lund, which ruined it for me a little, and, though I admired his blatant calling out of celebs during interviews, I reasoned Lund could not possibly have invented this term himself.

That honour actually goes to Harris Wittels, a US stand-up comedian and writer on the TV series Parks and Recreation and Eastbound and Down, who created the Twitter feed "Humblebrag", which records examples of the offence.

For example, some dude named Dane Cook, who I've never heard of, tweeted a while ago: "Being famous and having a fender bender is weird. You want to be upset but the other driver's just thrilled & giddy that it's you."

Humblebrag.

The Twitter feed is an amazing repository of nauseating onanism and, I say nauseating, because I realise I've done quite a bit of humblebragging in my time on this blog - gussied up as brutal self-revelation.

A spectacular effort was last Friday's post - which one of my friends quipped "was the closest thing to a suicide note Fairfax had published" - in which I inserted a picture of myself before my break-up looking somewhat tanned and fit.

Yes, pictures can be humblebrags as well, as Wittels explained to The Wall Street Journal: "Actor LeVar Burton had my all time favorite. The tweet was 'It's a good night for natural light in LA' and then he posted a picture of his fireplace, but on the mantle above it were like 20 Emmy awards. A masterpiece!

"He did a follow-up one three days after Christmas where he tweeted 'Stockings still hung…' and attached a picture of his family's stockings all hung on his Emmys. That guy really seems to want us to know he won a bunch of Emmys for Reading Rainbow," said Wittels.

The WSJ also asked Wittels what the criteria were for a humblebrag and he said: "There is the 'It's not a brag because I am just complaining' humblebrag. Tila Tequila once tweeted: 'I hate my lambo! Police is ALWAYS pulling me over just cuz it's a lambo so they always think I'm speeding but I'm not!! Then they let me go!'

"Then there is the 'This isn't a brag because I am being self-deprecating' humblebrag. Nolan Gould, the kid from Modern Family, tweeted: 'I just had my first screaming girl encounter. She probably had me confused with someone else.'

"Really it's a gut feeling. If I read it and feel this vague sense of annoyance by it, it counts," said Wittels.

And as to what sparks that sense of annoyance, Wittels was also succinct.

"I think bragging sucks, don't get me wrong, but I get it. What I hate about a humblebrag is that people try to come off like they aren't bragging. It's people not being honest about their intention. Just tell us you are at an exclusive party. Don't hide it behind a complaint about your dress not fitting," said Wittels.

Anyway, it's well worth checking out Wittel's Humblebrag Hall of Fame and Power Rankings on the site, Grantland, but if you're too lazy to click through, some of my favourites are:

Some chick called Maggie Q who tweeted: "I AM featured in People's 'Most Beautiful' (what can I say, they all make mistakes) BUT did the shoot with no makeup and I have to say...SCARY!"

Yeesh.

Another woman named Audrie Segura who tweeted: "So funny I'm always around celebrities half the time I don't know who they are - I had a convo w/ Collin Farrel & had no idea."

Or Miss USA, Shandi Finnessey: "Now I get the term 'Supermodel.' I swear … doing shoots back to back to back, you need a super hero cape to get through it in one piece!"

And then there's actor Jeff Donovan from the show Burn Notice: "So worked out w trainer..leaving (paparazzi looking for Tom Cruise) tries to get a photo of me (hate) I run to car and he says!:(2bcont)?"

"I jump in car and he is upset I don't want photo. He says 'what the f--- u r not even that famous!' God forgive these lost souls…"

"CLARIFICATION: NO!! he didn't think I WAS Tom Cruise!! He was bored looking for him. Thought he could shoot me."

"'IRONY: when a paparazzi yells at celeb.. 'don't hide you're not that famous' in order to get a photo."

As Wittels termed it on Grantland: "An odyssey of humility!"

Anyway, you'll notice Americans seem pretty good at humblebragging, but I'm sure you can come up with some Australian instances, hopefully not from this blog.

Sam de Brito's latest novel Hello Darkness is in bookstores now. You can follow him on Twitter here.