March 8, 2011


Here is the lecture at delivered at last night's Trampoline Hall, in the heart of Toronto's oration district. I wore current fashions and had my hair and beard cropped short.

Unfortunately, in this text-only version you won't be able to experience my signature intonation and body language, which actually makes the whole thing seem like 8 gold ribbon lectures in 1. I once told the story of Return of the Jedi to a bunch of deaf soldiers using just my nose.


I am not an asshole. I’m a nice, smiley, easy-going guy, who doesn’t get mad very often. The odd time I do get mad it’s usually because of assholes. It’s not just their actions that bother me but the frustration in not being able to comprehend the reasons behind these actions. Thus, I’m taking this opportunity to gain expertise into the mind and behaviour of assholes so that maybe I’ll be able to tolerate them in the future.

A North American asshole is a creature who spends its life frustrating non-assholes by acting unbecoming in a given scenario. Depending on your own vernacular and the region you’re from, an “Asshole” may also be known as a:



dick face

dick hole


fuck face

dick weed

shit brain

poo face

dick wipe

ass wipe

poo smear

ass head

dick lick

or simply, jerk.

For the purposes of this discussion, I further define a real asshole as someone who cannot provide a reasonable answer to the question “why are you being such an asshole?”, a question assholes are faced with every day. Most of us are temporary assholes, in that we occasionally display traits associated with the common asshole, and can probably answer the question with simple reasons such as “I had a bad day”.

Looking at my own experience, I realized that when I am an asshole it’s because someone else is being, or was an asshole to me first. In some cases I’ve acted this way in order to survive being around other assholes, and in other cases I’ve acted like an asshole because it seemed like a lot of fun. As an example of being an asshole to survive other assholes, I have a habit of being aggressive and greedy when food is available to a group. This isn’t a trait I was born with but rather something I’ve developed over the years to survive other assholes acting in the same fashion. It started in my youth when I was forced to compete with my brother and father for an equal share of a rare box sugary cereal my mom would treat us to. Ofttimes the box would get polished off in a day, so to get my fair share I’d have to force myself to eat over two bowls in 24 hours. It didn’t even matter if I was hungry or not, I demanded fairness even though my dad and brother are my physical opposites and were therefore mathematically entitled to more. But I took their aggressive eating as an asshole move aimed directly at me so I needed to act like them to ensure they didn’t beat me.

When I was a teenager pizza flowed like wine because all the moms knew it was easier to order us a pizza rather than have us raid her well-stocked fridge and pantry containing the elements of the week’s planned meals. Teenagers are naturally hungry creatures, so the competition for slices was fierce. It got so bad that some would go as far as to lick certain slices just to ensure future ownership, and so to this day when someone lays down a hot fresh pie, my competitive juices instinctively start to flow and I attack despite my competition or my level of hunger.

The asshole in me also comes out during intramural co-ed sports, where assholes are surprisingly common considering the lack of stakes involved. Recently, I was playing floor hockey when a player from the other team pushed one of our girl players and refused to apologize. I’m the most non-confrontational person around, but something about this asshole’s behaviour turned me into an asshole. I demanded he apologize and when he didn’t I took the next opportunity to slash at him, which he didn’t like. We got into a bit of an argument that eventually led to me saying “At least I don’t push girls”. I could hear the other team’s bench saying stuff like “he’s just a sore loser”, as we were not winning the game and all of a sudden I felt like a real, honest to goodness asshole, a feeling I didn’t want to feel again.

Professional sports, hockey in particular is governed by an asshole vs. asshole mentality -- if a player on one team is being a particularly big asshole to a player on the other team then it’s up to that player, or one of his teammates to be a bigger asshole back. In fact, professional hockey teams actually seek out assholes to fill the role of “agitator”, which is someone who is willing to be a huge asshole in order to get the other team to act like assholes enough to hopefully get them penalized for it. As a guy who grew up playing sports, I can tell you that many of the best opponents I faced were assholes because in physical sports athletes are continually told that the meaner they are the farther they’ll get. The business world isn’t much different, as one must be willing to screw over the other guy in order to get ahead. The recent financial crisis basically boiled down to a bunch of assholes being assholes, while Donald Trump, one of the world’s most famous businessmen, has made millions with his catch phrase “you’re fired”, a phrase typically linked with assholes.

So acting like an asshole is a way for us to survive other assholes, but it’s also a way to have fun. Satan is probably the most famous asshole around, and he or she seems to have a lot fun, like Al Pacino’s Satan in The Devil’s Advocate or Elizabeth Hurley’s in “Bedazzled”. Children are especially susceptible to these “being bad is good” messages, and I was no different. When “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the movie” was released in 1990, I was just 8 years old. At that time I was both fascinated and terrified by neighbourhood assholes who would steal bikes and hockey sticks and hog the Street Fighter machine at the pizzeria. I would watch at a cautious distance, curious as to what age I would automatically start being bad. The Ninja Turtles film features a gang of asshole teenagers who make up the lowest tiers of Shredder’s ‘Foot Clan’. Shredder knows exactly how to treat these assholes and provides them with a warehouse full of arcade games, hip hop music, skateboard ramps, cartons of cigarettes, booze and gambling so long as they keep being bad. To a non-pubic eight year old this was my Xanadu -- a place filled with stuff I wouldn’t have access to unless I had irresponsible parents, or was of age. It never looked more fun to be an asshole, and luckily I was too much of a wiener to actually do these things, and my neighbourhood didn’t have a warehouse full of fun shit, so I went about my life wondering when I’d get the chance to try smoking.

Usually, if I got in trouble in school it was because I wanted to imitate other assholes around me. In one instance our school hosted a district-wide softball tournament and me and some friends happened to catch a game during the girl’s round robin. Someone noticed that a girl on the other team had developed further than most girls our age and after gawking and giggling, we started muttering “jiggle, jiggle, jiggle” every time she ran the bases. I would have never started such a chant, nor would I have even thought to have said it if I were by myself, but since my friends were being assholes and having a good time doing it, I joined right in and was reprimanded shortly thereafter by our French teacher whose face was a shade of deep red, commonly associated with embarrassment and pure fury.

Still though, I like to think that assholes find being an asshole a lot more effortless. Real assholes don’t necessarily need someone to be an asshole to them first. So are people simply born assholes?

This holds water because I feel to be a true asshole you must be one for most of your life. Maybe the world needs assholes to ensure we humans don’t progress too far, too fast. The 1993 Stephen Spielberg film, “Jurassic Park” explored the subject of scientific progress and its inherent dangers. Analyzing the film now, I realize that all it took to halt the progress of the Jurassic Park and make the heroes realize that it wasn’t a good idea to remake dinosaurs, were the actions of a single, greed-driven asshole (Seinfeld’s Wayne Knight). According to Chaos Theory, the park would’ve failed regardless, but at least he made them realize it before it officially opened for business. Perhaps God is apprehensive about awarding the human race another Eden after what happened to Adam and Eve, so he stocked the world with snakes, the original assholes, to keep us on our toes.

If Wayne Knight’s character in Jurassic Park was driven by greed and was thus an asshole. Is a greedy person automatically an asshole, and are all assholes greedy? Not necessarily, but they’re certainly related. It brings to mind the personal experience I had with an asshole sometime around grade 9. I don’t truly hate many people, because to hate is to be an asshole, but this one guy made it personal between us this one day he came over to my house. He was with another friend of mine and they had just finished a poker game at a different location. At some point during the visit he excused himself under the guise of checking out my brother’s pet lizard. When he got back he and the other guy left shortly after and I didn’t think much of it. When I returned to my room later on I noticed my wallet wasn’t there and I automatically remembered that there had been an asshole in my house. It was then that my friend who had accompanied the asshole showed up at my door and returned my wallet saying that the asshole had taken it and that he felt bad and brought it back minus the fifteen dollars that I knew had been in there. Being a nice guy, I was shocked to learn that someone I knew would openly rob me, so it was quite the shock to the system. I retaliated by telling the guy’s mom what had happened, and then me and my friends took a bunch of shoes from his family’s sun porch and distributed them around the neighbourhood. I eventually got the money back and had a minor altercation with the asshole during a game of road hockey, which closed the case. Now, was the asshole acting purely out of greed? No, I don’t think so. First of all, I know that the day he took my wallet he had lost bad at poker and was embarrassed by this in front of friends who he continually tried to impress. I think part of him wanted to save face by pulling off this stunt and knew that because I was the gentlest in our group of friends, that I was the easiest target. So I think it was the combination of trying to look cool in the face of embarrassment as well as his decision to prey on the weak, that truly made him an asshole. Greed was certainly sprinkled in there, but if fifteen dollars was all he wanted, he could’ve probably just asked his parents, or stolen it from them, as they were fairly well off judging by the Porsche they owned. So greed, along with preying on the weak may indeed be the main characteristic of a certain asshole, but I think it’s more a symptom than an actual cause.

It’s obviously hard to pin down what actually causes someone to be an asshole, but I do believe there’s one simple characteristic that makes one the real thing. True assholes are what they are without any regard for the people who are affected by their behaviour. This is what makes one a true asshole -- a total lack of empathy. A true asshole doesn’t know that he or she even is one. A true asshole will answer our question “why are you being such an asshole?” with a blank stare, a roll of the eyes or even a punch to a sensitive area.

And this is why I don’t understand assholes. It’s obviously never right to make someone else’s life miserable, but when it’s done without an ounce of empathy, whether before, during of after an incident, it’s simply inexcusable. I’ve done some asshole things in my life like petty vandalism and theft and getting mad at a significant other for a dumb reason, but no matter what I’ve done I always feel bad at some point because most of us know right from wrong. As an empathetic person, I do my best to understand how other people are feeling, but I’ll never understand an asshole and an asshole will probably never understand me.

You’ll notice that I didn’t provide much recent experience with assholes. I tried to think of why and it’s either because I’m now an asshole and I just don’t know it, or I’ve naturally surrounded myself with non-assholes only. Also, I realized my definition of a true asshole means that there probably aren’t many of them out there. Can you think of any, or is my definition too narrow? Just the other day I read a Tweet from a guy I always thought of as a true asshole, juice magnate Frank D’Angelo, that I think proved his authenticity based on my definition. His tweet read “Two kinds of people in the world -- Good Souls and Assholes”. Clearly he didn’t write that thinking he was the latter, despite his record of sexual assaults and police corruption. I ask of you to consider these things during the Q and A.

In conclusion, I ask of you this, you asshole -- do your best to obey the Golden Rule. It’s called the Golden Rule because it’s the most valuable rule we have. Since the rule is so golden and valuable it only makes sense that assholes of the world would seek to take it for their own or simply destroy it.


Anonymous said...

Anytime you want to give this lecture at Mac, let me know!

mogg said...

You did a very good job, Glenn. WIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNN.

Duke of Spook said...

Thanks for coming! It was a lot easier with so many good heads to look at while I was up there

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