Are You a Jerk? Am I?

A pretty smart article about jerks, psychopaths and other folks we know: (h/t ace)

Look in the mirror and ask, am I a jerk?

It seems like a reasonable question. There are, presumably, genuine jerks in the world. And many of those jerks, presumably, have a pretty high moral opinion of themselves, or at least a moderate opinion of themselves. They don’t think of themselves as jerks, because jerk self-knowledge is hard to come by.

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Another related concept is the concept of the asshole, as explored recently by the philosopher Aaron James of the University of California, Irvine. On James’s theory, assholes are people who allow themselves to enjoy special advantages over others out of an entrenched sense of entitlement.

Although this is closely related to jerkitude, again it’s not quite the same thing. One can be a jerk through arrogant and insulting behavior even if one helps oneself to no special advantages.


Social scientists are working on all of today’s problems.  I’m glad.

Somewhere there is a team of doctoral candidates, monitoring this end of the internet. Perhaps even participating in the discussions.  Smartly examining the emotional reactions.

Participating?  Or leading experiments?  Right now, scientists in lab coats are putting on cowboy hats and recording bad comedy, publishing to the internet, then collecting the results.  

Actually, that’s a way  more plausible theory than the ‘he has always been that way’ hypothesis.


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