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The Braggadocio – Is Their Time Up?

Today. I saw something on Twitter, which caught my attention. I must admit I’ve become a real user of Twitter a lot over the years. I’ve stopped reading newspapers, which is bad for the newspaper industry, but I’m fond of Twitter, I don’t participate in it much, but I like to read it. I also find it’s a great aggregator of all the news that’s going on. Just don’t get too wrapped up in it.

However, there was this tweet that came through this morning. It was a beauty, and it was regarding Trump’s estranged niece in her new book, where she depicts a man trained in deception and braggadocio, by a distant and dysfunctional father. I just loved that word “braggadocio.” It sounds Italian. I mean, it’s got an Italian ending, and if you actually look at what it means according to the dictionary, braggadocio means boastful or arrogant behaviour. That word always resonated with me.

My mother used to use it. When I was a kid, I can always remember her saying to me. “Peter, pride comes before a fall.” To be honest with you. I think that held me back a little.

When I was young, I was too scared to put my head up and get knocked down because this pride was always going to come right before a fall, but I understood, and I understood a little later that what she was saying. It was “be aware of being arrogant.” There’s nothing wrong with being proud. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your achievements, but it was the arrogance that you had to watch out for. Of course, if you have been around long enough, you tend to see popular culture trends, come and go and come back go again, with a slightly different twist.

It wasn’t easy to accept my mother’s advice when observing the great Cassius Clay as I was growing up. When he was young and was brash, arrogant, and confident, I think at the time I thought, “Yeah, he’s got pride, but a fall is coming.” And obviously once he became Muhammad Ali, he really showed his conviction and wouldn’t go to the war, he was prepared to go to jail and was prepared to lose his title and win it back. You realise that the man stood for something. Maybe all that false bravado of being the greatest was actually part of an act, whereas deep down, he was a really nice guy. So the greatest as he was called, and till his death, he was still known as the greatest.

Flick forward to the 1980’s, and that was the time of Gordon Gekko and “greed is good”. At that point, I suppose you could say that in popular culture, the tilt wasn’t too far away. And in my mother’s eyes, Gordon Gecko would have been someone that she would have said “there’s a braggadocio.” And then this guys pride was definitely going to come before a fall and of course, as the movie would have it that’s exactly what happened.

Then came the period when super model Naomi Campbell started to exhibit the most arrogant behaviour, where she was convicted and almost went to jail for throwing a phone at her personal assistant.

It was at about that point that the world got tired of “braggadocio.” The world had had enough of being too arrogant and to the point that one would be a celebrity if they started helping others. Mother Theresa and Princess Diana for example were celebrated during that whole period.

Being nice to people became the accepted norm. If you think about it, perhaps particularly Princess Diana got as much exposure, and got as much opportunity as any previous braggadocio. But you could see there was goodness in their hearts.

However, then came 2000, and all of a sudden arrogance came back into vogue The Kardashians and a number of others; greed was becoming good, arrogance was becoming good, being noticed was becoming good, being extreme was becoming good, being opinionated was becoming good again the list goes on and on. Trumpism, as we know, it started to appear and being extremist started being normalised.

Also in today’s Twitter feed, the same day the niece of the president was saying that he was a braggadocio, here was Anthony Scaramucci, who did once work for the braggadocio, who said “every once in a while, like your mother told you, or your grandmother told you, sometimes people get what they deserve. It is nice to see that the negative karma that he generated in our society is coming back upon him”, said, Anthony Scaramucci about Steve Bannon’s arrest, who was the braggadocio in arms – co-pilot.

Isn’t that interesting, either Scaramucci had an Italian mother, or an Italian grandmother, but he obviously was told that pride comes before a fall just like I was.

Today’s Twitter feed also contained commentary by Peter van Onselen who writes for NEWS CORP, he goes, “I sometimes seriously wonder if our prime minister thinks before he opens his mouth and makes pronouncements he constantly has to walk back from. It happens too often to just be a mistake. It’s pretty ridiculous, frankly”.

So he’s questioning our prime minister who this week couldn’t help himself, indicating that he’d signed a deal on a vaccine for all Australian people. But of course it wasn’t soon after that holes started to appear with this story and the deal.

So just maybe this brash arrogance in politics is starting to catch up with people, and just maybe the pendulum is starting to swing the other way.

What is even more evidence of the contempt the politicians have of the people, is on Fridays, which is known as “take out the garbage day.” The whole idea of take out the bad news, or take out when you’ve got to correct something, or take out when you’ve got to walk back on something like the treasurer Josh Frydenberg had to walk back on the job keeper allowance and his dodgy mathematics, and straighten up a $60 million over estimate.,

So you’re bringing that out on a Friday because the media is apparently lazy, and won’t ask hard questions, and society is lazy, our community is lazy, and by Monday, we will have forgotten all about it.

But do we forget about it?

Is braggadocio still alive and well on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday? I think the pendulum has swung. I think the pendulum’s heading back towards at least the central line possibly even left of centre.

I’m thinking all of a sudden that boastful and arrogant behaviour may not be acceptable any more. Even in marketing, we need to be cognisant of this trend. In marketing we have to know where people are, and we have to act accordingly.

So where was the word braggadocio derived from? Well, it came from the fairy queen, which was written by a fellow called Spencer. It’s a long poem, and it was about Knights in shining armour.

One of the knights was called Braggadocio and he didn’t end too well.


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