- Cable news has created an entirely new breed of blowhards — and the style has infected banking and even the arts
Excerpted from “Assholes: A Theory”
Aaron James, Salon Magazine
Assholes largely share a thick sense of moral entitlement. Just as hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue, late 19th and early 20th century businessmen like Cecil Rhodes, Albert Beveridge and John D. Rockefeller all felt a need to invoke entitlement on a cosmic scale, in effect sensing that something might be majorly amiss. In stark contrast with the grandiose reasoning of the era of colonialism, the asshole in more recent modern life often requires little or no pretext of larger cause for the special privileges he feels entitled to enjoy. He will usually have some sort of rationalization ready at hand — he is not the psychopath who rejects moral concepts altogether — but the rationalizations are becoming ever thinner, ever more difficult to identify. This newer, purer style of asshole often just presumes he should enjoy special privileges in social life as a matter of course and so requires little by way of reason for taking them as the opportunity arises.
The older style of asshole is comparatively easy to sort into types, according to their different thick entitlements. To the extent we can identify a definite moral outlook and confidently reject it as wrong, we can even take comfort in our sense of clarity about how the asshole goes awry. The newer style of asshole is more disquieting because he is harder to pin down. His thinned-out and shifting rationalizations won’t necessarily settle into any particular sustained moral perspective that we can confidently identify and challenge as wrong. Instead, his sense of entitlement is mainly identifiable in functional terms, as the stable disposition to come up with some such rationalizations or other, as the situation requires. Because the newer breed of asshole is harder to pin down, we will pay even greater attention to the details of our exemplars, if only to illustrate that there is indeed a newer, thinner, and purer asshole style. (And, again, where you don’t share my moral and political opinions, you might think of different examples of the same general type.)
Ralph Nader | The Media On Presidential Campaigns, Ralph Nader, Eurasia Review <http://www.eurasiareview.com>
The media should engage in some serious introspection!
Mainstream media: Report the facts and call out candidates when they lie
No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates