Friday, May 9, 2008

The Art of Being an Asshole

Sorry it's been a while posting here. I simply got out of the loop. Here's a paper I wrote for a bullshit class I am taking right now that I thought some people might enjoy.

4 Easy Steps to Becoming an Asshole
or: The Art of Winning with Self-Contradiction

Asshole. Pretentious prick. Holier-than-thou attitude. All of these words, and more, over the past few years I have been called to my face (and probably more so behind my back). And this doesn't bother me – or at least, it didn't. I'm not sure how I feel about it now, as illustrated by my paper two weeks ago. But even if I am possibly no longer content being and asshole, rest assured that I am an expert in the field of being an asshole. And since it was brought to my attention that I had been using asshole without previously defining it, I felt it was my responsibility to inform the world of what exactly I mean when saying someone is an asshole. So here it is: the quintessential guide to how you can attract and repel girls simultaneously, alienate your friend so you can make new ones to alienate, and lead a wholly self-concerned lifestyle where all you really care about is people's opinions of you.

Step 1: Talk Down to Your Friends

Your current friends are the easiest vehicles with which to begin your journey towards becoming the Buddha of pretension. Since they are your friends, they should already like you and hopefully respect you. (If not, skip to Step 2: Talk Down to Strangers.) This makes them perfect targets for your newfound skill of making someone feel bad for not knowing something trivial – the attack is both unnecessary and unexpected. Take this sample conversation for example:

Trivial Conversation Maker: So I was in this class the other day and we were discussing the assassination of Franz Ferdinand...
Target Dolt: Wait, what? Someone killed all the members of Franz Ferdinand?!
Trivial Conversation Maker: Well, no, we were talking about the Archduke...
Asshole in Training: Dude, you don't even know who the Archduke Ferdinand was? The man whose assassination erupted into one of the bloodiest wars ever fought, World War I? You seriously think that someone would bother to assassinate a couple of has-been Scottish indie rockers?

Above is a perfect example of how one can take a simple misunderstanding and blow it out of proportion into a grand statement which devalues both of the other parties involved. First of all, this prodigious Asshole in Training (AIT) interrupts the Trivial Conversation Maker (TCM) – a valuable skill for the aspiring dick – disavowing him of any opportunity to assert his own intellectual fortuitousness, an especially useful move here because he is apparently taking a class on the subject and therefore probably knows more about it than you. Instead, the AIT bursts in, interjecting the full three sentences which he could use to discuss the Archduke (this is, after all, the extent of your knowledge, but since the TCM is now there to fill in any details while you sit back and revel in your initial comment, the AIT is safe). AIT gets major bonus points for adding in his pretentious musical critique, at the same time establishing his knowledge of the band Franz Ferdinand by saying that they are Scottish (implying that they were once cool enough for you to devote at least some energy into them) and discarding them as “has-been rockers” (a great term – take that one down in your notes, kids). (See Step 4: Loving and Hating Music for more details.)

Step 2: Talk Down to Strangers

Putting down strangers is a much easier, albeit sometimes riskier, process. When speaking with strangers the AIT is allowed much more leeway in terms of how degrading they may be to their target. For example, in the above conversation, where the AIT referred to Target Dolt (TD) as simply, “Dude,” if the TD had been a stranger, or even occasional acquaintance, it would have been acceptable to call him a “clod” or “dumb-ass.” In some social circles even “r-tard” would have been acceptable. This achieves a number of things. First of all, it establishes to the TD that you do not have respect for him, as you are better and cooler than he is. He will have to strive to gain some semblance of your respect. However, once this line is crossed, be careful how many insults are dished out, as it takes a while for someone to gain an asshole's respect. Once the TD is in possession of this highly valued commodity, he may have caught on to your sly shenanigans and be in position to reverse the situation and make you look like the downtrodden imbecile, an unacceptable outcome. Another possible outcome of this is that TD may get fed up with your ways and tell you to piss off, effectively changing you from pretentious prick to jerk-off in three seconds flat. Second, to all others observing the conversation you have immediately moved up a peg in the mini community of social standings which has just made itself apparent (and of which you are constantly aware and climbing). Well placed insults are a hugely valuable tool in the arsenal of the asshole.

However, one must be way to not just the social repercussions of a misplaced insult but also the physical ones. The bulk of these conversations tend to take place at either bars or house parties – both establishments where most are drinking (including yourself – all pretentious assholes are also near-alcoholics or drug addicts). Specifically, while the burly jock type may seem like an easy target for intellectual browbeating, he is not easily dissuaded by mere words. While your typical non-jock target may slump away after being rejected by your apparently superior intellect, jocks are much more often prone to violence. In these examples, putting up a fight yourself is not a wise choice, as you risk actually being physically harmed. Instead, if the jock is threatening violence, first make some statement about how its totally unnecessary to fight about such things. If this does not back him off, you must actually take a page from the jock's own book. Open your arms while simultaneously jutting out your chest towards the potential attacker, screaming, “Fuckin' a, then do it! Go on, hit me bitch! Gimme your best shot!” If this still does not deter him, you will be punched. However, this all still works into your plan. After the punch, recoil slightly, so as to show that you have been physically injured (possibly more than you really are) and shout back, “What the fuck dude? Why the fuck did you do that? That was so unnecessary.” (Of course this is all being said with the answer to your questions: you told him to!) You may now stumble away, possibly while flipping him the bird behind your back. Now you are “That guy who got hit by that jack-ass” and girls will be fawning all over you, looking to treat each and every one of your superficial wounds with diligent and loving care. High five! Now go get laid, asshole.

Step 3: Amass an Arsenal of Information

The key to an asshole's attractiveness is his brain. But girls don't want brainy, nerdy guys; they want guys who are smart and masculine at the same time. This is established not by volunteering otherwise useless information but by honing your ability to interject such useless information at a point in the conversation where it may seem relevant. For example, do not simply jump into a conversation at state, “A group of ferrets is a business!” This makes you look like a dork for knowing this as well as being incredibly socially awkward because the statement has no relevance to the conversation. The key here is not in the information which is conveyed but in how it is presented – your actual arsenal need not be intimidating (even though knowledge of philosophy or literary theory is hugely recommended). A more apt way of conveying the same tidbit of information is as follows:

Target Female: Ugh, my house is so gross. I swear I heard rats crawling around in the walls the other night.
AIT: That is gross. But you know, not all rats are vile. I used to have four pet rats and they were awesome. But they all died last year.
TF: Awww, I'm so sorry! That's so sad!
AIT: Yeah, it's alright tho. What I really want to get now is a ferret.
TF: Yeah, my friend has a ferret. They're really cool but she says it smells a lot too.
AIT: They are known for smelling, but there's also a lot of cleaning you can do to prevent that. Wanna know something really cool about ferrets tho?
TF: Yeah, what?
AIT: Do you know what a group of ferrets is called? Like y'know a school of fish or a pod of dolphins...
TF: No.
AIT: A business!
TF: Omigod that is so cute! I never knew that.

There are numerous subtleties in the above conversation which lead to the outcome of displaying useless trivia as a shiny lure for girls. First, the AIT must diverge the conversation towards his anticipated target. He picks out the rats in the girl's wall and slowly translates that into a discussion about ferrets. Extra points for avoiding a conversation where the girl is complaining – these can almost always lead to bitchings about ex- (or current) boyfriends, a topic which the Overly-Caring Sensitive Guy may be well armed to deal with However, the asshole cannot maintain his allure of intellectual superiority while coddling a sobbing girl, consoling her over her latest man-troubles. This AIT actually gets double bonus points for also eliciting sympathy over his dead pets while proving that he is hard and already moving on my bringing up the ferret. Next, the girl makes her own comment about ferrets, which the asshole confirms that he knew of as well, an especially good move because he then establishes his superiority by claiming he can solve the previously mentioned problem with the smell of ferrets (the AIT does not however have to actually be in possession of this information – he merely needs to assert it). Finally, he leads into his useless trivia by prefacing it with the statement that it is cool, predisposing the girl to have the same opinion. The delivery is made and the girl is receptive. Mission accomplished. Now go let laid, asshole!

Step 4: Loving and Hating Music

While the above step claims that that the information being conveyed is not of importance, this is only a half truth. One thing which all assholes must be fully knowledgeable about is music. Music is one of the things which bonds nearly every person on the planet. (Except for those freaks who don't listen to music. You may call them freaks to their faces, by the way.) More importantly, music is one of the few mediums which has both a fervent intellectual scene and a firmly entrenched pop-scene (books and movies less so – pop-books are so few and far between as are truly underground independent films). Many guides in this vein may tell you that to be a proper music snob, you must discredit any band who has a number one hit or becomes popular, but this is not the asshole way – this mindless acceptation-rejection cycle is for the hipsters. No, assholes may like a popular band, but they must underplay the hits. Saying something like, “Yeah, the new Justice album is awesome, but that track D.A.N.C.E. is so tired and overplayed. I much prefer songs like Let There Be Light or Phantom,” is a great example of how this can be pulled off – you get to assert your knowledge of the album, dispel the pop and elevate your own opinion as being both unpopular and superior. Another excellent tip is to readily accept the super-pop, which would be immediately rejected by most of the music elite, by saying things like, “I don't care what you think, the last Justin Timberlake album was pure genius.” It's something of a double bluff really; you get to make yourself seem more elite than the elite by acknowledging what they would typically say and immediately claiming your status as a better judge than those who might just say they don't like the album because that's what all the elitists are saying.

So there you have it: a simple, four step guide to making yourself as attractive yet unlikable as possible. I hope my experiences have helped you to more understand the mindset of the asshole and allow yourself to embrace such a vibrant, growing and entertaining life-style choice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've told you, you were an asshole since you were 15 years old. Great essay, tho. i laughed my ass off. Love ya!