Ambigamy

Insights for the deeply romantic and deeply skeptical

How To Be A Jerk

Anyone can be, no matter race, creed or political persuasion. Here's the secret.

No matter what your race, creed or political persuasion you can be a jerk. That’s because it’s not what you believe or do, it’s how you decide what you believe or do. It’s not the choices you make but how you make the choices.

Here’s how to make choices: Always with your gut. You're gut is the one-stop decider. 

The key to being a jerk is layers-deep faith in your gut sense of things. Follow your gut. Praise yourself for following your gut. Praise yourself for praising yourself.  Accept with absolute certainty that your gut knows all and sees all and that your gut can divine the future.  Be loyal to your gut. To thine own gut be true.

Your gut deserves that respect. You’ve been around. You’ve done a thorough investigation. You’ve got the Right Practices.  You know the Right Moves. You’ve found the Right Recipes. You’ve earned your faith in your gut.  Your gut intuitions are honed and true. Not like other people’s guts.

Out of charity explain your gut-given wisdom to those people who lack your insight, but remember you don’t owe anyone an explanation.  Suffer fools politely, but wearily, because you shouldn’t have to explain the obvious.  Faith, pride, self-certainty--that’s how you get ahead in the world as a jerk.

See All Stories In

Fairness or Favoritism?

We all use the word "fairness" differently.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Don’t flaunt your absolute superiority. Gather to yourself the trappings of humility. Enter into what other people will interpret and conversations, discussions, debates and arguments. That way you’ll be able to claim to be open-minded.  Keep at hand one or two examples of your gut being wrong just to confuse people who accuse you of being a know-it-all.  For example, “I was wrong once when I allowed myself to trust other people’s guts,” is a good one.

Always keep at the ready an infinite supply of reasons you’re right. Master the crude art of self-defense by getting under your belt the full range of all-purpose doubt deflectors. Your gut can’t take any challenges, nor should it, so it’s your job to make damn sure it won’t.

Above all make sure that people realize that your gut will decide what’s a fair challenge to it.  When people try to put your gut on trial they need to know that your gut is the presiding judge in the highest possible court. Of course your gut has already done all the research necessary to decide the case in your gut’s favor, but humor your challengers; stick with procedure. Hear ‘em out, weak though their case inevitably will be.

As presiding judge, overrule all objections your challenger raises to your gut’s choices.  For example, say:

I’m not stubborn, I’m steadfast.

I’m not mean, I’m realistic.

I’m not self-serving, I’m fair and balanced.

I’m not unscientific, I’m in touch with higher truths.

I’m not overlooking facts, I’m focusing on what really matters.

I’m not closed-minded, I’ve done all the necessary research.

I’m not insulting, I’m being honest.

I’m not just trying to win; I’m challenging you.

I’m not name-calling, I’m calling a spade a spade.

The list goes on, but add to it any time with this simple recipe. To be a jerk, just replace the negative they accuse you of with a positive that describes the same behavior. For example, “I’m not stubborn, I’m steadfast.” 

Though actually if you’re a confident-enough jerk that’s more work than necessary. Just swap out any negative term for any loosely related positive one. For example “I’m not stubborn, I’m clear-thinking.”  Since your sole purpose is maintaining the sanctity of your gut, what really counts is endurance. Armed with tediously absolute faith in your gut, you’ll outlast any challenger. 

Obviously to be a jerk, you must at all times maintain a rigid double standard. You’re gut, as presiding judge must overrule every objection that your challenger poses to your gut’s behavior, but your gut must also sustain all objections to your challenger’s behavior.  Again the formula is very simple.  When you’re talking about challengers, swap all positives for negatives.

You’re not steadfast, you’re stubborn.

You’re not realistic, you’re mean.

You’re not fair and balanced, you’re self-servingly biased.

You’re not being honest, you’re being insulting.

You’re not challenging me; you’re just trying to win.

You’re not calling a spade a spade you’re name-calling.

If a challenger accuses you of having a double standard, don’t worry, your layers-deep confidence will see you through.

First, of course, say “trust me I don’t have a double standard” since your gut is the supreme justice presiding over that decision too. Then bury your challenger in arguments, it doesn’t matter about what.  A scattershot approach is best, like tossing ball bearing in the path of a pursuer. Then bury your challenger in work. “Prove to me that I have a double standard. Give me a transcript of what I said. How do you know it is a double standard? Prove you don’t have a double standard?  Restate your arguments against me?  You’re not making sense. Please clarify?”  If your challenger is fool enough to try to supply what you demand, pretend to listen and then ask for more work.

Remember, the secret to a double standard is selective ignorance.  Ignore all inconvenient challenges and forget all inconvenient evidence. You can win arguments by simple formula, if you just close your mind completely enough, and just believe in yourself.

Don’t just stand your ground; advance it.  If you’re right about one thing no matter how trivial, claim it as evidence that you’re right about everything. If you’re wrong about anything…wait, that never happens. 

Jeremy Sherman is an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision making.

more...

Subscribe to Ambigamy

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.