October 15, 2019

October Shortlist – Is True Arrogance Better Than False Humility?

Oliver Richard

Song + VideoThey Don't Deserve Me, 2019

The internet is replacing our short human memory. Now nothing is forgotten; we churn in an indelible tomb of past transgressions. Hyper-accountable, we endure the daily threat of trials by Twitter, cancel culture, and social media backlash. We pray false modesty, fake humility and carefully moderated opinion will save us. And so, to back yourself entirely and declare that perhaps “they don’t deserve me” is an increasingly provocative option. I explore that idea in this song and accompanying video.

Locked over a disco groove, this work dangerously toes the line between healthy self-respect and ego-maniacal self-adoration. Is it vulgar hubris, or is it safely tongue in cheek? The crazed video features speeding cars, bulls-eye archery, and strobe-lit interpretive dance as I climb onto every available pedestal, challenging the viewer to tear me off and cut me back down to size. Is this arrogance to be respected or would a more humble, inauthentic offering be preferred?

In a culture drowning in social anxiety and charisma-constipation, They Don’t Deserve Me asks us to to above all things love ourselves, stick our heads above the parapet and, when necessary, admit we personally deserve better…