Watching Assholes: A Theory I thought about Kanye West.
Often when his name comes up you instantly get some variation of “he’s an ass” or “he’s an asshole” as if it was some sort of empirical fact. Which I’ve always found utterly and entirely irrelevant: he’s paid to be creative and he does that well across a number of disciplines. Like Pharrell he’s maximizing his opportunities and leveraging his status which is exactly what you should be doing as Artist in this era. Is he an asshole? No clue and no interest…is he projecting a music video on various buildings around the world? Tell me more!
Which is the asshole culture this Hot Docs documentary is covering. My reaction and I guess Kanye West and the predictable reaction he provokes. Built around an engaging conversation with philosopher Aaron James an associate professor of philosophy at the University of California; and the author of the bestseller Assholes: A Theory.
James’ book sets out to establish an academic definition of asshole so it can be studied and understood; this documentary picks up on James’ work and book and investigates “the contemporary “asshole culture” which of course brings us full circle to Kanye West. Is Kanye West an asshole? The doc and professor James’ work suggests it is so. Hmm.
Watching Assholes: A Theory I thought about President Donald J Trump.
President Trump succeeds because he cannot be shamed. The loophole is if you can’t feel shame you can’t be shamed. I was finally able to articulate that simple idea after I read So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by by Jon Ronson (published: March 9, 2015).
Public shaming is part of the asshole culture we participate in. There’s a big difference in berating an able-bodied person for using a handicap spot to run into the store and get pop tarts and offensive tweets. Following Ronson’s book I concluded:
Shame Is Lame!
Shame doesn’t work if you don’t have the authority; the respect and the weight to effectively trigger a sense remorse or even guilt.
It’s like trying to discipline somebody else’s child; it doesn’t work.
Which brings us which of course brings us full circle to President Trump. Is Donald Trump an asshole? The doc and professor James’ work suggests it is so. Hmm.
Watching Assholes: A Theory I thought about myself.
Am I an asshole? Watching the doc and listening to professor Aaron James I think the evidence is mounting. You’ve thought it and said it too about others but what about yourself and your behaviour; it’s not like I’m the only one who is a jerkface. That thought is distributing because it could be true. This’ll require a pen, paper and a tea.
Watching Assholes: A Theory I smiled because it’s got John Cleese!
And that alone makes it fun and worth seeing. Go!
The Assholes: A Theory Trailer: