Thursday, September 07, 2006

On the delicate balance between being an asshole and a doormat

as posed by amber in response to a post by antiprincess: i.e. where do you draw the line?

What I said was:

In a way, ime, imho, etc., I think in a way you (general "you") actually -do- know very well where the line is, assuming you are a decent, sensitive, caring person in the first place; it's just, one tends to end up second-guessing oneself a lot precisely because of the doubt instilled by fuckloads of unconscious/nasty people.

and, addendum, if you do fuck up? (which you will, inevitably). You fuck up. It's human. You apologize or at least acknowledge the mistake, do what you can if anything to make reparations, and move on.

Lately I have been humming a Bessie Smith song; the lyrics feel apt:

"I ain't worried, I'm doing very fine
You keep yours and I'll hold onto mine

Take it right back to the place where you got it,
oh you cain't leave a bit of it in here..."


EL said...

This isn't remotely original, but
I think the big thing is 1. you know when you fuck up and then 2. you admit you've fucked up and then 3. you try not to fuck up in that way again.

belledame222 said...


At least partially; no one does it perfectly even to taht degree, either, or, well, very few.

Clampett said...

This is true for the individual, but for the group we enter a swampland briar patch of differing paradigms.

For example, if on the road, an 'asshole' acts in a selfish and rude fashion (let's say.. a cut-off followed by the finger to the cut-off driver), what is the response that meets the fine line?

To illustrate:

Suge Knight and the late Mother Teresa would have different outlooks on the appropriate response, no?

belledame222 said...

In that instance? Perhaps honk and swaer, once, perhaps not; say, "damn, what an asshole," take a deep breath to calm one's jangled nerves, turn up the radio and start singing along. change lanes and get out of asshole's way if necessary, on accounta asshole might actually be one of those insane ones who keeps a gun in the glove.

mind you. not saying i am a paragon of spirituality when it comes to road rage me own self; then again, haven't had to test it in a while thank fuck...

transitorrie said...

longtime lurker, first time poster. i'm learning lots here!

i echo what el said. in life we fuck up, we try to learn from those fuck ups. sometimes they're little, sometimes they're big but as long as you learn from 'em, you're doing the best you can.

Renegade Evolution said...

heh, i am actually far more polite here on this here interweb than I am in real life, but it amazes me how many people everywhere never figured out that usually, if you fuck up, an appology will go a long way.

belledame222 said...

hey, welcome, transitorrie! thanks for delurking.

Spill The Beans said...

It actually, to me, goes back to that book from the 80s:

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

People gain most of their basic socialization by about age 6. And frankly, a lot of parents stopped teaching it a while ago. So when you see people complaining about children misbehaving in public places, those kids don't significantly improve from 6 to 16 or 6 to 26.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, I buy that and I don't. I think people keep learning and growing throughout their life, including socially/empathically, or can do.

At the same, i think there is some basic transaction that happens or doesn't early on, yes. Well, there are a number of stages, really.

and that "socialization" can often really makes people more "antisocial" as much as not, depending on yer culture and so forth.

belledame222 said...

I mean to say: kids have a certain -directness- (assuming they haven't already been fucked with by that point, which is possible) that, yeah, many adults spend a long time trying to recover in therapy and such places, I think; something happens in the interim.

Spill The Beans said...

I do agree. I suppose I am thinking about some of the children that my children attend school with who simply aren't taught to be NICE, to play nice, to share their toys, to stand up for themselves if necessary WITHOUT being assholes.

Niceness seems to be an underrated concept in our society, these days.

belledame222 said...

see, I guess there i'd differentiate between "nice" and "decent." or something. "nice" has particular connotations to me, I guess.

but yes: sharing: underrated, very.

Clampett said...


That’s SOUND advice on dealing with asshat motorists. (bravo, you deserve another ‘hero of USA#1’ medallion although I can’t award it in so far the lack of a cash prize would sour your mood)

But, I’m concerned with a certain segment of your otherwise laudable reply.

In your opinion, is gun ownership somehow correlated with insanity?

If so,

I’m extraordinarily interested in understanding your reasoning, to say the least. (in terms of anticipating my political views on that topic {views I’m NOT willing to impose on others}, I refer you to a post in my august archives: formal proof that gun control doesn’t work’)

belledame222 said...


...oh. i see what you're referring to. well, no, not really what i had in mind. my position on guns at the moment is, well, i got other shit to worry about, is my basic position.

i do kind of worry about people who keep 'em tucked into the glove compartment and brandish them whenever road rage deems it appropriate, though, yah.

and yes, they're out there.

Clampett said...

"brandish them whenever road rage deems it appropriate"