The fine line between humility and pretentiousness


Like a calm sunny afternoon can be disrupted by a single raincloud, a relaxing television session can grow irritating with the appearance of one popular string of commercials. The Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man In The World” campaign is pompous and the man himself strikes this humble observer as a one-upper.

He announces his entrance with an introduction that includes a plethora of world shattering feats he has accomplished; both without effort and with great valor. This is all learned before his name (which never becomes known), and capped off by instructions on how to live your life from this historically interesting man. His advice is condescending and often times wrong. He says things like, “real men don’t put umbrellas in their drink,” and “it only takes one man to talk to a woman” in a suave latin accent, delivered from his self-created throne in the sky. Not all people are as “smooth” as he is with the ladies, and many women find a single man approaching them to be quite creepy. If he did state his name (Jonothan Goldsmith) it would become evident that his Latino persona is that of fraud. This may contribute to his over compensation in terms of how “interesting” portends to be.

The success of this Dos Equis commercial campaign is a microcosm of the modern world, in which loud mouth qualities and braggadocio are greeted with instant success and acclaim. A dystopia in which life is one big public relations experiment. It is this progression of society towards shameless self promotion that has led to some current Republicans and Democrats to create a modern political belief system based on the negative stereotypes of their predecessors, because they only ascertained superficial knowledge from their involvement in political issues.

In music this surface skimming exists too, as modern rappers took literally the satirical violence in early hip hop, used to alert the world of the perils of inner-city life, and created a culture of senseless violence.

A film like “Rebel Without A Cause” could never be successful in modern society, as the troubled loner who doesn’t really care isn’t considered cool anymore. The Dos Equis man ends his commercials with the quote, “I rarely drink, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis,” so as to create the illusion that this is coming from a humble man. I am certainly no expert on modesty, but those whose insides are filled with deep humility rarely tell you about how they climbed Mount Everest without a Sherpa within 30 seconds of first meeting. The fact that children will see this at a fragile young age and think that is what modesty really is could potentially lead to the downfall of reserved people’s “cool” factor for quite a long time.

Personally, I will be formally protesting this campaign by playing the background and keeping my mouth shut. Talk is cheap, but much can be learned from listening. I have many tales, few tall, and generally would like to share them with those who know me, both to maintain my humility, and have a reason to actually get to know people.