How to tell if you’re an arsehole

It’s long been known that there are several easy-to-spot signs that you might be a racist. For example, if you start a sentence with the words, “I’m not a racist, but…” then you’re almost certainly a racist (although obviously unaware of the fact). Another tell-tale opener is, “Now, I’ve nothing against black/asian/etc. people, but…”

This is all pretty well known. I’ve noticed recently, however, that people seem similarly bad at recognising that they’re arseholes. I was doing a pub quiz recently, and one group of people were talking very loudly during the music round (where you hear the first minute of a song and have to guess the title and artist). Someone asked them politely to talk more quietly, and they responded with incredulity. These people were arseholes. The people who asked them to be quieter were being completely reasonable. Of course the quiz wasn’t a matter of life or death; not all that many things are. The importance of the quiz in the grand scheme of things is irrelevant. The people talking loudly were, unambiguously, being arseholes. There are, of course, a multitude of other examples. I’ve had several friends who’ve lived in flats above people who regularly play music late at night, even after being asked not to. These people are arseholes. We can all live with occasional parties on weekends; even weekdays, sometimes. If your neighbours play loud music on a Friday night every other month, then you’re being a bit of an arsehole if you call the police about it. But some people seem to have a weird idea that playing music whenever they want and as loudly as they want is some sort of sacred right. These people are ill-informed, and these people are arseholes.

One of the most striking qualities of arseholes is their reaction to being asked not to be such an arsehole. They act as if the person asking them is being an arsehole. They occasionally have a point—arseholes sometimes piss each other off. But that doesn’t mean the request isn’t reasonable.

No one has a sacred right to play music as late as they want if other people can hear it. No one has the right to talk as loudly as they want in any context. No one has the right to stand wherever they want. Even in those contexts where you might have a legal right to do these things, that doesn’t mean you’re not being a pathetic little arsehole by doing so.

So here’s the tell-tale sign. It’s not quite as reliable as the racist ones, but I think it works more often than not. If you say (or find yourself thinking), “Why should I…” or, “I don’t see why I should…” then there’s a good chance you’re a selfish, lazy arsehole.

We’ve all said it. Most kids are selfish arseholes a lot of the time, and this often continues at least into early adulthood. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grow out of it.

6 Comments

Filed under Advice, Thoughts and rants

6 responses to “How to tell if you’re an arsehole

  1. "I'm not a racist, but…"I totally disagree with your sweeping assumption that someone starting a sentence like this is a racist.Some liberals (if they also happen to be morons) are so focused on finding racist behaviour that they find it where there is none, and so people who are not racist feel obliged to state this fact when making any remark about an ethnic minority even when the individual in question is clearly being an arsehole.Think of it this way – if a 100% hetrosexual man thought that some other guy had particularly good bone structure and said "That guy looks great!", his mates would more than likely react with immature suggestions that he is gay, even if he has a wife and kids and has never had a homosexual thought in his life.This is what it's like to live around liberals sometimes – say anything negative about someone who's behaving like an arsehole, and if that person is also from an ethnic minority then prepare to be faced with accusations of racism.Perhaps if liberals weren't so quick to point the finger, non-racists wouldn't feel so obliged to state the obvious all the time?

  2. And yes, you're doing exactly the thing that I said makes non-racists feel so obliged to state the obvious all the time, and then suggesting that this makes them racist.The irony!

  3. "people who are not racist feel obliged to state this fact when making any remark about an ethnic minority even when the individual in question is clearly being an arsehole."You're telling me that if some acquaintance or celebrity from an ethnic minority was being an arsehole, and you wanted to say something about it, you'd feel obliged to start with, "I'm not a racist, but…"?That's insane, and I can't help feeling you're making rather sweeping assumptions about "liberals". Maybe you know people who'd call you a racist for criticising Tiger Woods, but if so, they're morons (as you say), and by adding the "I'm not a racist, but…" line you're giving in to them and sounding preposterous. What exactly is it that you say about ethnic minorities that means you have to prefix it with that line?

  4. Look at it this way. The word "but" implies a contrast between what goes before it and what comes after it. So if you start with, "I'm not a racist," then adding a but implies (like it or not) that you're about to say something that even you think is a bit racist.You may well use the phrase before something entirely innocuous, for example: "I'm not a racist, but curry doesn't agree with me." If so, don't. No one would think that statement was racist if you said it on its own; the minute you add the disclaimer, you flag it up as potentially racist. In other words, if you add this disclaimer and what follows could possibly be construed as racist, then you've actually made that interpretation more likely. If it couldn't be construed as racist, then it just makes you sound absurd. So it's never a good thing to say.

  5. Maybe you know people who'd call you a racist for criticising Tiger Woods, but if so, they're morons (as you say)This is precisely it. You can't criticise someone these days for being an arsehole if they also happen to be from an ethnic minority, because you run the risk of being labelled a racist as a result – mostly by people who feel that starting a sentence in that way makes you one, funnily enough.The example about a gay comment didn't go far enough perhaps. The guy commenting on another guy's bone structure may feel obliged to begin with "I'm not gay, but…" to state the obvious in anticipation of related remarks, even though what he about to say next could just be a seen as totally objective, simply as a pre-emptive strike against those who lay in waiting to point the finger.The same can be said for any characteristic or group, for example I might see a 90 year old guy who's job it is to labour on a construction site. Objectively speaking, he shouldn't be in that job because his physical age makes him unsuitable (I realise this is an unrealistic situation, but you haven't understood the situation at hand so I'm looking for extremes to help illustrate), and yet to say such a thing could make me appear ageist to certain individuals, so it might be an idea to begin with "I'm not ageist, but…" when suggesting that perhaps the 90 year old find another job. It's a pre-emptive strike against those who like to point the finger – not some kind of admission that I'm ageist; because I'm not.I think it's entirely reasonable (in fact, more likely given that race has a more prominent position in the limelight than age) that genuine non-racists should feel obliged to begin their criticism in the same way, to ward off accusations of racism from liberals who have all but forgotten common sense.

  6. You're completely missing the point. Basically, "I'm not a racist, but…" is like a big sign saying, "I'm about to say something racist". It has the effect of making any statement, however innocuous, sound racist.For example, on its own, "The sky is blue" is a statement about the sky. If you precede it with, "I'm not a racist, but…" then you sound like a racist talking about the sky. It's the same with the gay example. If you just say another man has good cheekbones, only morons think that must mean you're gay. If you start with, "I'm not gay, but…" then you sound to everyone like a closet case.It doesn't matter if you feel obliged to do it. It defeats your purpose.

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