Today I posted a Facebook status update that said, "I feel like saying something inspirational. I'm the best writer of all time. There we go, I'm feeling inspired already." I was nervous before I hit "post" because, even though it's clearly a joke, people tend to get really defensive and oversensitive whenever people praise themselves. So far the joke was met with, well, not really anything at all. A couple funny comments, a couple likes. But it really got me thinking.
Why do we hate people who love themselves or their work? I listen to mostly hip-hop, where bragadoccio is essential. Some of my favorite writers are super-high on themselves. James Ellroy routinely refers to himself as awesome. Bolano was totally up his own ass. But why does this bug folks?
If I say, "James Ellroy is the best writer of all time", you might very well disagree with me, but you would realize as it a subjective statement and certainly you wouldn't get your feathers ruffled. Now, if I said, "I am the best"...
In a sense I understand the "hater" label, because it is just hating. It's irritation at someone else's self-confidence. How can you dislike the fact that someone truly loves what they've done? Or that they'd prefer it to something else? If they've stayed true to themselves, then their art is the essence of them, ergo of course they think it's the best.
So, go ahead. Look in the mirror, and say it. "I'm the best writer of all time." I won't hate you for it. But I do disagree.