In Defense of Assholes Including Myself

Me bandana at desk


There has been much talk about civility lately, which is not surprising considering that civilization is something which supposedly progresses, hence there must always be some incivility to progress from.

Each stage of progress has its gross incivilities such as the wars that have advanced our civilization, from battles between chivalrous combatants in a field somewhere, to mass murder of general populations anywhere by anyone with a few week’s training. The chivalrous age had its vulgarities, its barbarous, uncivil element who refused to play by the rules: fair maidens were raped and murdered, fields laid waste for provisions; little villages were burned down for the hell of it, the innocent peasants therein roasted alive, perhaps impaled before being barbecued. But thanks to the progress of our civilization, we not only wage wars on a grander, more efficient scale, hopefully from the air, but we do so more equitably: in the final analysis, we murder every man, woman, and child. Still, chivalry did bequeath us a few useful guidelines to develop pending the next holocaust.

For civilization to progress, there must be enough domestic peace to warrant the killing of foreign enemies, hence the need for a war on crime at home. Our punishments today are certainly more civil than a couple of centuries ago when young children were actually sentenced to death in the most civilized nation for picking pockets and stealing shoes. Yet our progress in punishment seems to have cultivated a corresponding contempt for the criminal law; and, since it is no longer lawful for people to take the law into their own hands, a contempt for people themselves, since they need not be feared.

Hence there is a felt need for a war on domestic crime today, especially when the camera focuses in on the most horrendous crimes such as the indiscriminate murder of children by children. A certain lack of civility is obvious in such cases, especially where bullying seems to be the cause of the incivilities. Since bullying is so widespread, hidden under the thin veneer of democratic civility, nobody, least of all the children, seem to know precisely who the enemy is; thus anybody will serve as an appropriate victim in a random outburst.

As for the rules of etiquette, we might note their marked absence or at least a decline in the quality of same over the years, even amongst the upper-crust who are charged with the education of their inferiors in such matters; we observe the deterioration particularly in the nouveau riche who made their money the rough and tumble way rather than inheriting it along with ample leisure time to cultivate good manners on world cruises and Concorde flights. Nonetheless, all good manners have not been lost; for instance, the rule appearing in books of manners during the Middle Ages, that one should not defecate in the corner of the dining room while people are eating, is almost universally observed to this very day.

My very manner of speaking as displayed above has often been criticized by uncivil people who do not want to look up words such as “ordure” and “micturate” and “coprophilia” in the dictionary. One vulgar critic took me to task in crude terms for my affectations, much to my righteous indignation. He had stumbled over my discourse to the effect that profanity is the mental ordure of coprophiliacs who do not have a receptacle to micturate in. I reacted indignantly to his crudities because my way of speaking took not only my lifetime to cultivate, but also that of my noble predecessors; I do not begrudge him his micturation as long as I have my own toilette. I will even defend a person’s right to his gross indecencies providing I have my scatalogical permutations. He can have the universal practicality of his plain English, but I prefer a handkerchief with my distinctively embroidered initials instead of his toilet paper. And yes, I do realize the genetic origin of my culture is vulgar, but I still prefer perfume to the fumes of ordure. Nevertheless, to be polite, I did indulge my critic with a response befitting his general character: He had asked, “Can’t you speak in plain English?” My retort was, “Yes, I can, you asshole!” He replied, “Thank you.”

That brought to mind my visit to Alaska in the early 80’s. The first thing I noticed was the number of assholes up there. I mean, everyone in the crowd I fell into was calling each other an asshole. And almost everyone I met had several guns. So I was alarmed at first; that is, until I realized the term “asshole” was a informal formality used to dispense with the nicer formalities people had acquired in more civilized states, namely the Lower Forty-Eight, the best view of which is in a rear-view mirror.

Despite the number of assholes in Alaska, I confess it is the only state I have ever shed tears over upon departing; but I had to go: Manhattan was calling. But more on that later; for now, I must say that my experience with Alaskan assholes taught me a lesson about civility: that it can be too civil when it conceals and represses the basic animosity, stoking the fires of hostility rather than venting them where they can quickly be extinguished with good humor. I may be a Jew and you may be a Muslim, but one thing we have in common is our assholes, so let’s get that straight before we proceed with our spiritual affairs. I do not deny our respective highnesses, our godlinesses, but a mutual god might also serve us well in the recognition that we are to a measurable extent omnivorous talking worms with anuses.

Indeed! And vulgar people can be civil enough, and sometimes more genuinely so, for they have to bust their ass solving real problems instead sitting around on it all day talking about such “issues” as civility!

The primitive civility rooted in the heart of the backwardsman has been polished into political correctness by the sophisticated power elite who, in order to conserve their gains and to expropriate by more peaceful means the natural resources and votes of those on the fringes of civilization, proclaim themselves defenders of multiculturalism while actually seeking absolute power over the globe. In exchange for the variety of cultures, a much greater variety of standardized products shall be distributed, the civilized version of ephemeral trinkets and tokens, both real and virtual junk.

The sophisticated civility of the wealthy power elite who, incidentally, can hire others to do their killing and other dirty work while keeping their hands and reputations clean, is derived now from the quality of their goods and the quality of their manner of consuming those goods, their refined “table manners”. The art of living was once a matter of formal consumption of rarities, but now designs are replicated by a cheap click of the mouse and crank of the machine; therefore rare materials have regained their ancient dignity in the consumptive theory of beauty. A man with high table manners wants the symbolic utensils of his quest for immortality to last forever, or at least as long as the pyramids of Egypt: fine mansions on manicured land shall do nicely, within which we find fine works of art, silver and crystal on the table, diamonds and gold in the safe; yes, gold, that enduring staple of civility, one of the oldest elements in the Universe: a more prodigious quantity of that sign of a good man’s refinement and excellence shall be found in the vaults of the civilized man’s immortality. Therefore we find the rich man in his palace beholding his original work of art over a glass of fine champagne, and the poor man in his hovel glaring at a cheap print over a mug of beer. It is easy to choose the better, more civilized man. Yet have no fear, for the true king of the cosmos is still the wise man. After being given the grand tour of a nobleman’s palace, Diogenes spit in the nobleman’s face. “Why did you do that?” the prince asked. “There was nowhere else to spit,” replied Diogenes.

Working to produce and consume an ever growing mountain of trash shall be the moral unity of the masses in their all-consuming diversity, supported by the psychic unity of binary digital processing; with the advent of integrated circuits, anthropologists have made the amazing discovery that our psychic unity is adequately represented by the ubiquitous digital switch in a colossal parallel processor; we are binary units aptly symbolized by the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Freeing people for unity in diversity requires moral discipline on a global scale, now made possible by modern technology and its god Typhon. Yet the anal-retentive civil engineer, in his political correctness and attempts to inculcate his overweening technical morality in others, neglects at great risk to everyone the primitive incivility of every man towards strangers who want to steal their property and their souls. The Wooden Shoe virus shall soon sabotage the works of puritan Work with catastrophic consequences. Therefore we must be careful that our technology truly frees rather than condemns future generations to certain incivility.

The future of civilization, whether it rises or declines, depends on the education of the young. The cultivated stupidity of our politically correct youth, who often consider themselves to be the epitome of politeness in comparison to their elders, is astounding. Social animals learn a great deal by imitating, but the political-economic scheme being imitated in the education-factories today leads more to stultification than edification. The antidote to mass stupidity, liberal education predicated on individual liberty, has been forsaken for the illiberal education of mass conformity. The elders complain about the permissiveness and ravages of liberalism while failing to recognize the fact that children are being taught to be told what to do; they do not want to think for themselves. To hell with the foundation of intellectual liberty; let the trivium be damned if anyone still knows what the trivium is; for young people do not want to independently exercise their minds for their own education: they want an easy read. They want to be unaccountable gods served by perfectly obedient computers. The only choice to be made under the politically correct regime, since all other differences including the moral ones have been discarded, is what product to consume, what absurd superficiality to imitate, what clown to accordingly vote for, and so on. As for politics, those who are confused and are still searching for identity outside of themselves can take a test to determine if they are liberals or conservatives.

Yes, civilization and politics go forward hand in hand. We think that, because we have gone ahead in time and space that we are ahead, and that all we need is more politically correct civility to get further ahead. But, as long as we have behinds, we shall never leave our brutishness completely behind. We are assholes. Yet we are disturbed by the obscenities of some children, while forgetting our own youthful protest against the scene, against the very idea that one should not make his own scene. However, we should be more alarmed by the foolish young people who think there are absolute moral differences, for example, between conservative and liberal, between Republican and Democrat, and so on, and that the purpose of life is to go around attacking each other’s absurd arguments, providing one is nice about it; that is, providing one is a politically correct liar or ignoramus.

I overheard a young man talking the other day about how rude the old farts were in the old days, and how “discourse has really improved” in the hands of astute young people such as himself and his audience. He called himself a professional liberal, then defined liberalism in glowing terms, as accepting everybody and freeing them from themselves! I recognized him from elsewhere, as a person who is constantly attacking other people’s views, often behind their backs, perhaps more often so since he confronted me directly. To introduce himself to me, rather than addressing the point I happened to be making on the occasion, he had criticized my “academic” manner of speaking, then went so far as to say I should not even talk about the history of the United States Constitution. I took him aside and called him an asshole. He then complained to those he perceives to be his authorities, that I had used an obscenity–there was nothing his authorities could do about that.

I merely use the above example to illustrate the widespread delusion that being politically correct, being civil, using civil language, complying with the formalities, does not make vicious intentions virtuous. Much of the criticism we hear mouthed by the civil and political critical hacks is founded on fear, resentment, spite, jealously, hate and so forth–the media spews forth rivers of such vomit.

Alright, then, so everybody is an asshole–so what? So why not admit that right up front? or at least keep it in mind before bothering to judge someone else?

Why not? Because morons do not have the slightest idea of what is going on. Morons are unaware they are swinging a two-edged sword likely to cut off their own heads; nor do they know their ass from a hole in the ground. They are like those jerks who say “excuse me” before deliberately running into someone, thinking a perfunctory “excuse me” excuses them; and they are outraged when they are not excused. Morons are those critics who, when their pathetic criticism is criticized for being what it really is, a jealous attempt to put down anything outstanding, say, “You can’t take criticism.” And morons are those bullies who run to mama if someone hits them back. They are moronic assholes.

And what does that make me? I admit it: I am an asshole too. I do not initiate personal attacks, but I will fight back, returning for nice nastiness whatever hell provides. A friend of mine recently flattered me with the epithet “loutish bourgeois intellectual.” Bourgeois? I wish! If only I had a few hundred square feet in the Ivory Tower, I would give up my loutishness and create a tony boutique to market my romantic wares to damsels in distress, for I prefer to make love and not war.

Honolulu 2000

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