Monday, April 14, 2014

Confidence vs. Conceit

Okay, so I've been wondering about something and want to know the general consensus on this topic.

Today, this video was posted on Within the span of the 5 minute video, The frontman of Ghost articulates how devoted his fans are, and how he is worshipped by them "like Christians revere the Pope" (I'm paraphrasing here). He also goes on to show himself with two "groupies" that he takes with him essentially to party and fuck all night long.

My initial reaction to this video is disgust. The inflated sense of self-importance he either has naturally or perhaps puts on as part of his persona is just completely off-putting to me. I almost wish I hadn't come across this, because now I don't think I ever want to hear a song from them again.

Any musician, artist, or person that displays vanity to this extent makes it extremely hard for me to support that person or even be around them. I don't care how big or bad you are - if you are full of yourself, I cannot in good conscience support anything you do once I know that you're doing it to satiate your selfishness.

Mind you, this applies only to arrogance, not confidence. I love seeing people with confidence; it makes them a delight to be around and it makes me happy to see someone else happy and comfortable with themselves. In my opinion, however, there is a big difference between confidence and conceit.

When you're confident, you know you are worth your weight in gold, and you love yourself, but you do not go around proclaiming it to every passer-by. You allow your actions and accomplishments to speak for themselves. You're proud of the things you've done but speak of your successes humbly, with gratitude and respect for the people that helped you achieve them, doing your best not to gloat. You encourage and support others who have done you the same kindness, and even they haven't, you try to be kind to everyone because even though you love yourself and know how awesome you are, deep down you know that no one person is better than any other.

When you're conceited, you are fervently compelled to bring up your accomplishments and rub them in the faces of everyone around you. You do it often, fearing that people don't have a high enough opinion of you as you think they should. You unrealistically expect in return from others what you will not give yourself, and should anyone disagree with you, you get overly upset and defensive. Similarly, when you don't get treated like the king/queen you perceive yourself to be, you are personally offended. You get sour towards people who are enjoying their own success instead of being happy for them. You are in no way grateful or gracious to your fans or supporters unless you're getting something out of it. You put others down without a second thought. You probably steer the conversation towards yourself; no matter where it turns, you adamantly direct the focus back to you. You may sometimes speak of yourself in the third person (don't know why, but I've seen a lot of this in conceited people). When you're conceited, the world owes you and should bow down before you and why anyone wouldn't is beyond you.

Yet I sense that I may be one of only a few who feel this way, as every single day there is incontrovertible proof of people who will flock to buy albums from people and bands that openly display their arrogance for all to see. Even more unbelievable, there are those who will feed into their selfishness like spineless brown-nosers; perhaps seeking attention of their own, perhaps because they've been so convincing in telling everyone that their shit smells like roses, or perhaps it truly doesn't bother them that they act in this way.

You see it on every level, high and low. You see it in the workplace, on TV, and amongst friends, family, and acquaintances. Some people are just self-centered and will always be that way. What I'd like to know is why there are so many people who will willingly support someone who is clearly very vain and cavalier, even going so far as to feed their audacity.

I'm sure in some cases, people simply do this to try and get something out of it for themselves, because in their hearts they are just as selfish as the person they admire. In other cases, perhaps, it is because the person is willfully ignorant of their nature and simply support them for making music they enjoy. Others still may just be indifferent, which I have trouble wrapping my head around because of how strongly someone's actions and personality affects whether or not I can support or appreciate anything they've done.

I've heard the opinion that you cannot be a good actor/artist/musician/frontman or woman if you aren't cocky or attention-seeking. I have to say I disagree, as you can seek attention without being selfish or lordly about it. Some of the best musicians are also the most humble, and have proven that you can be successful without being a total dick.

I also understand the whole "not giving a fuck" thing that most creative people have, and I'm a big advocate for that mentality. Do you, do what makes you happy, and fuck what anybody else thinks... but within reason. Like trying to get attention, there is a way to stay true to (and be proud of) yourself and to not give a fuck what others think while still not being a massive tool, and it should never be used as an excuse to be an egotistical fuckstick.

Of course, nothing in life is black and white, nor can everyone be cleanly divided into categories. We are none of us perfect; no one person is absolute in one virtue or another. We all have selfish moments, and most of us have selfless moments too. It's just that when the scale tips too far to the selfish side of things, when there are many more moments of pretentiousness and superiority than there are moments of humility or neutrality, for my part I am inclined to distance myself from them or their art or music or what have you. This is why it's my belief that those who wish to be successful as an artist or musician should limit their off-the-cuff comments that point to where their true nature lies.

Honestly though, I want to know what you think. Are you turned off by a musician if they conduct themselves in an imperious manner, or can you still enjoy their music regardless? Do you simply try to avoid hearing much about their personal lives so your opinion of the person/band is uninfluenced by anything other than the music? (If so, kudos to you because avoiding that kind of info in this day and age is insanely difficult!) Or are you indifferent no matter what you hear about them? Is there anything that a band or musician could do that would make you dislike them when you had liked them previously? (Like Tim Lambesis trying to put a hit on his wife, for example.. shit like that.)

Let me know how you feel about this in the comments below. I would dearly love to find out how big or little of an impact this issue has on others.


  1. You realize that all of this is staged, right? I guarantee those "groupies" are paid actresses.

    Wouldn't you expect a Satanic pope (or, at least, a parody of one) to be conceited and hedonistic? Judging him this way for how he portrays his character is like calling Christopher Waltz an actual Nazi because he played one in Inglorious Basterds.

    1. Yes, but I'm of the belief that if a person plays the part of an asshole that well, they must have some intimate knowledge of being one. Regardless of its authenticity, perpetuating and glorifying that kind of mentality just ain't cool in my book. I think if he wanted to stay true to the Satanic pope character, he should've had one man and one woman instead of two women! That way he can embody/parody "sinfulness" without objectifying a specific gender.

      By the way, Christopher Waltz was fucking amazing in that movie. Now I have to go re-watch it!


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