27 June 2010

Getting off the humble horse

After being warned about the "humility topos" :
“I’m from a time and place,” [David] Mitchell said after some deliberation, “where bigheadedness was a really savage crime, and you’d get cut down for it by your peers and parents. I’m not from a milieu where high-register language or philosophical ideas were welcome. So my stage persona is self-effacing. Though it was a little harsh of the woman in New Zealand — and I felt a bit unjustly bruised — I actually was pleased as well. She gave me the idea that you shouldn’t present a persona of cultivated pretensionlessness. False modesty can be worse than arrogance.”

- from Wyatt Mason's article, "David Mitchell, the Experimentalist," 
published 21.6.2010 in the NYTimes Magazine

Wise words.  David Mitchell wrote Cloud Atlas, one of the better/best books I've read in recent years.