Friday, March 13, 2009

Ironically, We Don't Want the Assholes to Love Us

Coming from Penn Jillette's Pennsays Youtube channel is the tale of Penn (of Bullshit! fame) and a video sent to him by the daughter of the late, great George Carlin.

In the video, Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church crows about the death of Carlin, and boasts gleefully about the torments he's allegedly subject to in hell (where he allegedly is).

Jillette then relates the story about a scene in The One and Only in which a "little person" (otherwise known as a midget) wrestler asks "why do we always want the assholes to love us?"

Jillette describes the scene as "profound", and something that he looks back on whenever he receives hate mail as a result of his work on Bullshit!.

It's a worthy mentality, one that I personally can relate to.

Individuals like Fred Phelps are marked by an extreme inability to deal with people who disagree with them. It isn't an uncommon trait. While some people are content to label people who disagree with them as merely "stupid", Phelps is clearly an even more extreme case. To Phelps, anyone who disagrees with him is destined for hell.

Here at The Nexus and elsewhere, I get enjoy infrequent interactions with people who insist that the blog is "aptly named". On each and every one of these occasions, this stems from a matter of disagreement, and someone who cannot tolerate it.

Whether it's someone who disagrees that the mother of a dead soldier shouldn't be considered fair game for political attack, or someone who can't understand the idea that "pro-choice" advocates who won't protect the freedom of choice of people who disagree with them are clearly more in favour of abortion than choice, there is no shortage of people in the world who can't tolerate a difference in opinion and are eager to attribute all manners of moral failure to it.

There's little question that political extremism blends fairly effectively with what Phil Neisser considers "anti-disagreement thinking", and less question yet how such thinking can appeal so much to people who are so extreme in their own views that they can consider no recourse other than to label anyone who disagrees with them -- regardless of how moderate their views actually are -- as an "asshole".

Then, unshockingly enough, many of these people seem confused and irritated when they realize how few people actually care whether or not they like them.

Unshockingly, most sensible people don't want the assholes to love them. That might seem a little surprising coming from a blog entitled The Nexus of Assholery, but then again, those who don't understand this are the ones who never understood the point in the first place.

There are few valid reasons to care what hateful people like Fred Phelps or Canadian Cynic think, and fewer yet to care who they like and who they don't.


  1. Quite frankly, I'd rather be disliked rather than betray my conscience. Besides, much in the same way martial arts have their code of conduct, I believe that even the most heated discussions have their own rules.

    Launching personal attacks on your opponent, for one, is technically hitting below the belt. Just because you don't agree with somebody doesn't mean it has to degrade into a mudfight.

    Unfortunately, the said mudslinging I've noticed tends to come from religious fundies.

    If you're following the fundie's lead on who's going to hell, it sure doesn't sound like such a bad place anymore.

    Sure there are the regular monsters like Hitler, Pol Pot, and Stalin, but I realized people like Gandhi (non-Christian), Stephen Hawking (agnostic), most of the US Presidents (deists), Dawkins (atheist), Hugh Hefner, Albert Einstein, and George Carlin are also condemned to the eternal fires of damnation as well.

    Heaven on the other hand gets guys like Billy Graham, Falwell, and Pat Robertson.

    Pardon the grammar nazi moment, but:

    "...I get enjoy infrequent interactions..."

    should be written as

    "I get to enjoy infrequent interactions..."

  2. I think I'd rather go to hell and burn with Ghandi than go to heaven and have to hang out with Fred Phelps.

    That is, if I believed in hell in the conventional sense.


Post your comments, and join the discussion!

Be aware that spam posts and purile nonsense will not be tolerated, although purility within constructive commentary is encouraged.

All comments made by Kevron are deleted without being read. Also, if you begin your comment by saying "I know you'll just delete this", it will be deleted. Guaranteed. So don't be a dumbass.