Being "Down to Earth"-
The phrase "down to earth" usually has a negative connotation for me. When someone suggests that being down to earth is a positive trait in others, what they are usually saying is that they don't like people who are too different, or even worse, too much better than they are. It's a condemnation of something that they perceive as being "alien" or being a threat to their general state of mediocrity. It means that you can't be perceived as being too creative, too successful or in any other way too different from the person who desires that down to earth quality. You can't be weirder or better than they are.
Similarly, I also don't like the phrase "don't forget where you came from"; or perhaps a better example is the version that is often used by celebrities and musicians "I don't forget where I came from". Statements like that kind of make you wonder, if the place that they came from was so good that they want to psychologically hold onto it like that, then why did they leave it in the first place? Why didn't they just stay in their old humble lives and forget about achieving success? And if they did desire something better, then why not completely discard "where they came from", in favor of a superior lifestyle that they created for themselves?
Of course the answer is simple, their old lives weren't that good, but that kind of reverence for mediocrity has become a social virtue and elitism is practically a crime. When a successful person claims that they haven't forgotten where they came from, it's a way of connecting with their humble past and essentially telling the mediocre majority that they're still one of them; at least in spirit. The sickening truth is that the masses (collectively) have a lot of social and cultural power, not much individual ability or even real ambition and a disproportionate sense of entitlement. This combination of factors has created an environment in which being too much better or even different than the average Joe is considered completely unacceptable.
Ironically, it's within many of the various rebellious or counter cultures that this type of thing is least tolerated. And exhibiting any kind of true superiority is the greatest taboo. Equality is the law of the land and it seems to be enforced by a disturbing percentage of the population.
It's important to note that this isn't about going around and claiming to be better than others. Often, if people just perceive you as being disconnected or otherwise unapproachable, they will assume that you must think that you are better than them, and this can be more disturbing to them than if you had just gone up to them and blatantly told them that you are superior. It's true that actions speak louder than words and the only thing worse than telling someone that you are in some way superior to them, is being able to show them by providing evidence of it. Many people will absolutely hate you for that.
It's really too bad that this kind of mediocrity is so encouraged. I can't help but think that holding the idea of "being down to earth" as a social virtue impedes a lot of creativity. To put it bluntly, most people who could be accurately described as being "very down to earth" are pretty dull (and people who are weird or significant in some way, by definition, are usually more interesting). Not to mention that this attitude limits many opportunities for injecting entertainment and showmanship into daily life.
Slogans like "down to earth", "don't forget where you came from" or even the classic "keeping it real", are often treated as positive ideas, but in reality they only help to encourage a boring and restrictive culture. Personally, I'd prefer to keep my life as awesomely unreal as possible.
- False Prophet