Finally, the book we’ve all been waiting for. Or at least some of us have been waiting for. I know I have.
It is a recently published tome of perhaps scholarly mien by a guy named Aaron James and it is simply titled: Assholes: A Theory.
What could be more apt, since we’re surrounded by their ilk almost constantly, even though none of us subscribe to ‘assholeness’? I know we don’t or we wouldn’t be here reading this treatise.
James’ assertion is, and he cuts assholes no quarter, is that “assholeness” is a permanent state-of-mind and no sooner are you out of diapers than you show the trait and that will continue until they close the box on them.
Come on, we have all known assholes and we know they have never stopped the behavior. These people are more than just jerks, though they are less than true sociopaths. And they show up in every walk of life.
The true asshole, James asserts “is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.” In other words, how you respond to his/her behavior is of no consequence to the asshole. I write ‘his/her’ for, while even though the majority of assholes are male, there is assuredly female representation within their ranks.
He lambastes the banking industry as being rife with them, especially in its upper echelons. However, rather than get too political about the matter, we should consider the assholes of every day life that impact us all.
To quality as an asshole the person must satisfy the following criteria, in James’ view:
1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically
2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and
3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.
Now, you can no doubt think of many people in numerous walks-of-life who fulfill the asshole mandate. Perhaps when you first went to school you found the person at the front of the class showed the symptoms. Lots in that calling. I know, I did that job and had first-hand encounters with not a few.
I had an interesting experience when I student taught at the high school I attended. I found that the teachers I thought were assholes when I was a kid, really were assholes, and that the teachers I liked also thought they were assholes. And since I was now one of their numbers they didn’t hesitate to say so to m.
And as you’ve trodden life’s highway, you have dealt with many more. Such as:
– Certain relatives of your spouse. You married him/her, but thank God not the rest of his/her family.
– Abusive cops who have pulled you over for going a tiny bit over the speed limit and feel they have the right to get all uppity-fuck with you, mainly because they have the ‘right’ to.
– Some teachers.
– Some front-line civil servants in such places as post offices and licencing bureaus.
– Far too many customs officers.
– Loud people in theatres or restaurants or bars (the higher the asshole quotient the louder the transgressor of the peace of others.)
– Drivers of ridiculously large pickups with obscenely loud pipes who are given to tailgating. “Bigger the truck, smaller the dick” a friend opined.
– Vandals of any kind, anywhere, ever.
– The publicly profane.
And so on and so on and so on. Slot your own in.