Foghorn Leghorn: Art of an ego trip (part 1)

They say pride goes before the fall. That an overconfident person is setting themselves up for a major humbling experience. The bigger the ego, the harder the fall.

That’s where I thought this post about Foghorn Leghorn was headed. This would be a Medium Rare life lesson about self-awareness and how feedback can help us get better. How we don’t need to pretend like we have all the answers to life. Foghorn could have learned a lot from Egghead Jr., but instead, because he was older/bigger/more experienced, felt like he had to be the teacher.

And I thought I found the perfect clip to show a humbling experience for the Big Rooster. Unlike Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn chose an easy opponent and enjoyed wooping on Barnyard Dog over and over again, most of the time when Barnyard Dog was sound asleep. But in this clip, Barnyard Dog strikes back.

Then I watched it again. Foghorn’s plan literally back fires and sends half his feathers to the ground. His response.”Fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered for-for just such an emergency.”

If this was Wile E., I’d call it resilience. With Foghorn it’s something else. Blind optimism? Obliviousness? Irrational confidence?

The whole pride goes before the fall phrase hinges on the character recognizing that a fall actually took place. That’s part of what made Foghorn Leghorn such a funny character, he was never phased by any of these mistakes, he still walked around as the alpha on the farm, completely happy, singing his version of “Camptown Races” sing this song, doo-dah, doo-dah.

Then I thought to myself, “Maybe Foghorn’s got something figured out?” So instead of Medium Rare advice, I launched into a Medium Rare science project to find out what exactly that something is or isn’t. Here are my findings.

Let’s take three names that are popular right now.

Joe Maddon, as in the manager of the Cubs. LeBron James, as in LeBron James. And Donald Trump, as in huuuuuuge.

People love Joe Maddon. Not just limited to the north side of Chicago. He’s a baseball genius, he’s funny, innovative, seems like a great guy to have a beer with. And he’s humble. So he can represent the first formula: high ability + high humility = high likability.

LeBron James. The highest basketball ability on the planet. But remember a couple years back when this image was going around the internet:


The background here, Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews said, “We did this, we won” 14 times and said “I” zero. LeBron was the exact opposite. So in this instance (my wife would be quick to say in ALL instances) LeBron fell into the category of: High ability + low humility = low likability

Last of the study, Donald Trump. Well, let me take a quick detour here to Jimmy Fallon because a) he currently does the best Trump impression and b) he represents a surprising third set in my data. And yes I just used “in my data” as a writer’s ego trip.

Jimmy Fallon falls into the Joe Maddon camp, extremely talented, seemingly very low ego. But a tweet he sent out in 2012 had him qualify, in one instance, for a different category:

The Humble Brag. This was created by Harris Wittels in 2010 as a way to catch celebrities in the act of “false modesty.” Or as Wittels called it, “The Art of False Modesty.” So in the Fallon example above, he’s appearing to be humble asking for good vibes that his tux fits, but stealthily bragging that he will be at the Emmys. Other common examples are when a celebrity posts a photo of themselves at a major event with the caption, “Why was I making such a stupid face #Oscars??”

You can see all the Humblebrags here:

This really got my wheels spinning. There seems to be a cap to humility. If someone has a ton of ability/talent/attractiveness/money/etc. and they try to say a humble phrase, for example, “I’m so thankful and shocked that an awkward looking girl like me could ever become Ms. USA,” the reaction is then, “Oh give me a break!”

This creates the unexpected category: high ability/etc. + TOO much humility = low likability.

Which leads us back to Foghorn Leghorn. He represents the opposite of the Humblebrag. He’s low ability + TOO much ego. So then what does that equal?

Tune in next week to find out!

I kind of hate that I used a cliffhanger ending there, but in my defense this post was already getting pretty long. And I need to head back into the lab to check on the experiment. BUT, if you enter your email in the box below, you will be the first to know the ending. And if you have some thoughts to share on Foghorn or Wile E. or anything else, please feel free to comment below or email me at Thanks for stopping by!

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