Friday, August 8, 2014

102. And, you can't do much about it. Can you?

Why bring me into the picture? 
I suspect if there are many words (or should these be called 'motives') that carry similar or near similar 'sense' across different languages. Given their outrageous meaning, their inter-generational transfer has been through word-of-mouth or at best through graffiti in the privacy of frequented public spaces. Since such words are often part of an oral tradition, these do not fear any threat of extinction as many native languages do, whether spoken and/or written.

In the spirit of a critical inquiry, let a less invasive word find preference over its outrageous cousins. Ladies & Gentlemen, the word under scrutiny is 'asshole' and let it be clear at the outset that it has got nothing to be with an 'ass' but has everything to do with 'humans'. Unless there are exceptions, assholes are overwhelmingly distributed among only one-half of the human population: assholes are mainly men because they (men) have socialized differently from women. Aren't males taught to be assertive and outspoken and females taught to pull their punches?       

Don't rush to enlist assholes around you just yet, your judgement could be jagged. Let subjectivity not guide you in identifying those among us who are full of shit. Come to think of it, assholes are found daily on cable news, where hosts repeatedly interrupt their guests, and on radio programs where jockeys thrive on falsehood and invective. But assholes are not limited to the world of media only, its spread is democratic across all sectors of human existence be it politics, bureaucracy, judiciary, academia, business, sports, films and other facets of social life.     

Various attempts to enlist assholes in public life have been made. If you promise not to get carried away, one such list of eminent (Indian) assholes is just a click away. Surely, your list is bound to be different but the question is how do you identify an asshole in the first place? Piqued by his experience with fellow surfers, University of California Philosopher Aaron James defines asshole as one who allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement and is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people. No wonder, assholes are rightly upsetting people, often morally outrageous.

An asshole will jump a queue without any remorse; interrupt public life without apparent guilt; and, drive out of lane by persistently highlighting flaws in others' driving. The list isn't exhaustive though! The common feature of most assholes is: they harbor a kind of willful insensitivity, however, without any malice. And yet, there are different types of assholes. A boorish asshole is rude; a smug asshole considers others inferior; and an asshole boss issues barking orders without ever saying 'i'm sorry'. Need reckless assholes be introduced!.    

By this time, images of several assholes may have already clogged your mind. Not without reason because global trends indicate that asshole production is on the rise. Boom in electronic media and spread of social networking have acted as powerful incentives for assholes to bare themselves in public. That could be reason enough for asshole production to rise. All said, let us not put a blame on an asshole because assholes are a given fact of life. A friend often remarks: opinions are like assholes, we each have one!   

(P.S. I checked myself on the asshole radar and found that I am not an asshole because 'I lack the ability to drive otherwise cool-headed people into fits of rage' )