The lie is the real product - and on social media, we’re all marks.
A number of women commenters have pointed out how society accepts 'heightened boldness' more in men than women. They are not wrong.
As a generalisation, women have historically been socialised not to claim their competence - ‘don’t scare the boys away’. As a result, women often won’t apply for a role unless they believe they can do everything in the job description, whereas men are willing to put themselves forwards if they think they can do most of it and handwave the rest.
When I was talking to Hayden, I'd been tempted to say con-persons but criminologically speaking, con artists are overwhelmingly male. Women commit different types of white-collar crime – largely embezzling and ‘quiet fraud’ and far less in-person cons and scams and ‘brazen fraud’. https://www.statista.com/statistics/461354/distribution-of-perpetrators-of-fraud-cases-by-gender/
Of course, maybe some of this can be attributed to a social halo effect – that we assume women are less likely to be criminal which isn’t necessarily true as evidenced by Elizabeth Holmes. https://www.wpr.org/long-history-long-cons-and-shorter-ones-committed-female-con-artists
As an aside, others have noted that entrepreneurs and con-men seem to have quite a bit in common, psychologically speaking. Maybe some entrepreneurs start legit and then when things don’t pan out – slide onto the other side of the ledger.
You got me. The whole time I was thinking about what must have happened during takeoff, and how he knew where the autopilot controls were...
Luxon has that shameless, utter confidence. He is the main character in NZ’s Emperors New Clothes!
A number of commenters have noted the sometimes rather loose link between (over)confidence and (in)competence.
Generally speaking, it’s too expensive (in time and effort) to exhaustively verify everything everyone says to us. Admittedly, some people do seem to do that, and it takes them forever to make decisions and we tend to label that either obsessive-compulsive or paranoid 😊
So instead, humans seem to rely on cognitive heuristics (i.e. shortcuts) to gauge whether someone is credible and that we can trust what they say. We tend to use confidence (which we can observe) as an indicator of competence (which we often can’t) and a perception of competence seems to be a key factor in successful persuasion.
For capable people who don’t come across as confident, credibility and persuasion is much harder – cue all the general personal development advice about forming a more realistic assessment of your competence so you can display that you believe in yourself and your abilities – i.e. to show confidence.
When we’re not sure of our ability, there are all kinds of micro-expressions and unconscious body-language we display we make that ‘tell’ on us and signals our lack of confidence – embarrassment and/or deception markers essentially. Psychologist Paul Ekman has written a lot on how emotions show on the face.
Feels weird to say what a thoroughly enjoyable read that was considering the subject matter, but it really was, thank you Hayden. You captured the absolute absurdity of our current reign of morally corrupt fuckwits taking their « heightened social boldness « to new levels. We are all living the emperor’s new clothes but in our reality when the child calls bullshit I fear half the audience would turn and tear the child apart while the other half just watch the show. Hard not to feel helpless these days at the best of times.
Always uplifting to read the majority of comments here from a beautiful collection of humans. As always, nothing but love and appreciation for You David and all you bring to us worms. Glad to hear your Arise evening was a success and I hope tonight is equally cathartic and successful.
People really seem to like “heightened social boldness” in the white male. It doesn’t seem to work quite as well for anyone else. I’m over in the states dreading the countdown to the next time trump decides to run. It’ll be hanging over our collective heads until he’s legally disqualified or he passes. 😬
Good luck tonight David! I'm really excited for Mr Organ (which is a sentence I thought I would never utter and still makes me feel more than a little dirty by typing it!). Nau mai, haere mai e hoa! Good to have you back.
And they are all white and products of privilege they did not earn.
These people are also invested in maintaining racism, sexism and all forms of otherism in our societies to our lasting detriment.
Great article Hayden, we need better heros.
My wish is that the academics who study politics can create a political system where people vote on policy... and not media skills, willingness to be in the public eye and skin thickness... there would be many clever people who would do a great job of governing the country, but with the current system, not having the above attributes means we have a very small talent pool to choose from. Political parties should be promoting their policies not their people... and then perhaps we wouldn’t get the con-men rising to the top.
"Heightened social boldness" gosh I can think of more concise term
Good luck tonight, David! And great piece of writing by Hayden, as always.
I spent much of my weekend fuming & tweeting about bloody Elon - and I really wish that particular cockwomble wouldn’t fuck up my favourite SM platform quite as majestically as he is - especially not right before the Midterms where literal democracy is on the ballot (maybe for the last time)!
I also didn’t know he didn’t fly that plane dammit! 🤦♀️
Kia ora Hayden! Love your writing - keep them coming!
Is “heightened social boldness” a product of what we value in society? I don’t seen many small BIPOC women with heightened social boldness. We (society) are surely perpetuating this by toxic masculinity and all that bullshit we bathe our children in. Infuse that into some humans with questionable neuronal connections and the product is some truly unhinged shit. People who are genuinely incapable of empathy, or believe that they can get away with anything without consequences. Sadly they are largely correct. I am just amazed at the confidence of these con men! I cannot imagine being so self-assured and stupid at the same time.
I love reading you columns Hayden, but my goodness they make me despair for humanity...
Thanks David for giving writers like Hayden space on your platform. I'm 100% on-board for insightful, angry rants about the world's greatest shitheads! And good lunch with tonight! :)
I'm booked to see Mr Organ this Friday night at Bridgeway - sooooo keen. Your subject matter is bang on today, DF - I have had so many managers just like those whom you described over the last few years it is astonishing. Luckily I have managed to mostly ignore them and just do my job - but some have done real damage to a lot of people (including myself) - and I will keep repeating my mantra "noise and confidence does NOT mean intelligence and ability".
All true re confidence, sadky. But here's another take on the role of social media, worth considering. Tldr? It may be late 21st C hyper capitalism and not the purported toxicity of social media ... http://werewolf.co.nz/2022/11/gordon-campbell-on-inflating-the-threat-posed-by-social-media/