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Wheaton's Law of Reflective Douchebaggery  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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I suppose this is proof that any nitwit that can type on the internet can make up a "law." Today, I am that nitwit.

I propose the following:


When any person points to another and utters the word "douchebag" there is an extremely high probability that both parties are pointing to the other with "douchebag" on their lips.


There are two corollaries that, therefore, come of this.

1) If somebody calls me a douchebag, I wish to make it clear that I think they are a douchebag, even if I don't say it out loud. Especially if I am not there or even aware that it has been said.

2) Anytime that I point at somebody and utter "douchebag" I respect that it is as if that person has just pointed back at me and said the same thing.



I propose the following as a postulate: douchebaggery is the difference of value set. If two people have different value sets, they will each think the other is a douchebag.


Therefore, I wish to hereby express that if anybody points to me and utters "douchebag", I think they have a fucked up value set. And, therefore, I think they are a douchebag.


 
Keith Odell
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Slow day or did somebody piss you off? ;-P

And be assured that I don't think you are a db - at all.
 
paul wheaton
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Keith Odell wrote:Slow day or did somebody piss you off?


Not a slow day at all. I just have something to say today and it has many pieces. So this is the first piece.




And be assured that I don't think you are a db - at all.



I suspect that you are an exceptionally nice person, and/or we have very similar value sets.



 
Keith Odell
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I think I am nice and smart. My wife calls me a wise-ass. Most people agree with her and I'm ok with that.

I normally wouldn't have typed my reply only thought it but your post was fresh - how often can you be Paul's first reply (honest not wise-ass) - and I left work early for no reason so reply I did.

Definitely have similar ideas on most things. Thanks for all you do - again honest not wise-ass.

 
paul wheaton
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Keith Odell wrote:My wife calls me a wise-ass.


Which beats the alternative!

 
Eric Thomas
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Where the devil are those Douchebags??
 
Dale Hodgins
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Chadwick Holmes
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I always took douchebag to be someone of extreme ego or self importance. Like a real life version of the millionaire on Gillian's island.

So, is that to say that I wish to be on very different moral ground than that, therefore I chose that as "my" definition?

 
Tyler Ludens
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Dale Hodgins wrote:

dimwits and sissies.


I resemble that remark!
 
Dan Boone
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In all seriousness, I don't think I agree with the postulate in the OP. It relies, logically speaking, on the notion that where two value sets diverge, they're equally valid. If I think Joe is a douchebag, then he thinks I am a douchebag, with the implication being that we're both right. I'm not convinced that's reliably the case.

I think I do fundamentally believe that it's possible to judge between value sets, to say "this one sucks and that one sucks less and mine (of course) sucks least of all." I'm probably wrong about that last, but just because I suck at the judging doesn't mean there's nothing to judge.

Another way of putting this: I think it's possible for some people to actually be douchebags, and for other people to recognize that fact without it also being true of themselves.

Mind you, I pretty much agree that even the most adept spotter of douchebaggery should probably keep the intel to him-or-her-self. Calling out douchebags definitely puts you on an at-risk list your own self.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Oh I so disagree, Dan! I think an opinion can always be accurate as an opinion. If I believe Paul is a douchebag, it is indeed a fact that I believe Paul is a douchebag. There is no way to refute this statement. And if I think he is a douchebag, our worldviews are so different, it is certain he thinks I am a douchebag as well, if he thinks about me at all. The only way the Law of Reflective Douchebaggery can fail is if one of the parties has never contemplated the other party.

 
Chadwick Holmes
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It. Is very hard to say a value set is wrong, wrong for me , yes....wrong for here or there, maybe.....but wrong in values is near impossible.

Cannibalizim is a value set that is wrong for the USA but it has been right for other times and places, and that is an extreme value set for us to accept, in fact if you eat some dude I might think you area douche, but judging values gets to a bad place fast........or I can see it getting hurtful fast......
 
Tyler Ludens
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But if you eat him you show you revere his strength as an adversary!

"Thou shalt not kill" is a value in most cultures, actually "Thou shalt not murder." "Murder" is defined as "killing people it is not ok to kill." Most human culture's value sets include the value "Don't kill the people it isn't ok to kill." But most human cultures have been ok with killing some people.

 
Dan Boone
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Oh I so disagree, Dan! I think an opinion can always be accurate as an opinion.


What we are doing is reprising the age-old argument about cultural relativism on an individual (rather than cultural) scale. Nobody has resolved it yet and we probably won't either.

The point I'm making is that value sets aren't equivalent -- morally, practically, or aesthetically. If you can settle on some criteria to evaluate them, you can then compare them based on how well they fulfill those criteria.

Saying somebody is a douchebag is a rude shorthand code for saying "his values suck and mine are better." You shouldn't say that because it's rude, not because you're sure to be wrong. Values are real, they are about real things, and they affect real people in positive and negative ways. It follows from that, that some sets of them really are better or worse than other sets. And if we throw up our hands and say "different value sets, nothing to choose between them" then it seems to me we are abandoning all hope of striving for a better world. How can we strive for a better world if we lack the moral courage to argue that our vision of it is better?
 
paul wheaton
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Dan Boone wrote: How can we strive for a better world if we lack the moral courage to argue that our vision of it is better?


Step 1: embrace the law of reflective douchebaggery. Thus, our arguments will appear weak because we are perceived as douchebags.

Step 2: recognize that we have a difference of value sets.

Step 3: recognize that a difference of value sets is most likely connected to a difference of knowledge sets.

Step 4: find a way to do a core dump of knowledge from us to the other party. When complete, there is a high probability that each party will no longer see the other as a douchebag.

Strategy A: Take bits of knowledge and sugar coat them and feed them to the world. Youtube videos are probably best. Maybe some podcasts. Maybe some articles. Maybe some forum posts.


....


On a related note, here are my:

- youtube videos

- podcasts

- articles

- forums




 
Tyler Ludens
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Demonstrate by one's actions and their results that one's values are superior. "Know them by their fruits," someone said.
 
Matu Collins
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Could someone define douchebag for me?

If someone is a douchebag and nobody says it out loud, are they still a douchebag? What if people think it to themselves? Is it still reflexive?

What if a group of people agrees amongst themselves that another person is a douchebag, but they don't say it to the person and they all agree that they all are not douchebags, just the other person? Is it reflexive to the group?
 
Wyatt Barnes
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My mirror is better so even though I am a douchebag Paul is a douchecanoe.
 
Sue Rine
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This relates, I guess, to the idea that when one points a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back. Triple reflexivity??
 
Koren Vangool
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LOL! We here in Western Canada often even drop the "bag" part and would just say, "That guy is such a douche." just in case this is in any way relevant I would personally define a douchebag as someone (usually a male) who thinks they're all that, but in reality, they really are not all that (not even close).
 
Wyatt Barnes
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To me a douchebag is such because of what he has done, either recently or as a pattern of behavior. Some people are beyond douchebaggery, hence the douchecanoe. Douchecanoery does not however roll off the tongue while douchebaggery does. A shame.
 
Charles Tarnard
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"Do you, sir, admit to knowingly and willingly committing an act of douchebaggery in the presence of a minor?"

I really have nothing to add to this discussion, I just really like saying that quote above.

 
Daniel Morse
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Recently I went a trip to Israel. Actually the West Bank. Saw a lot of good people and had no troubles with locals of all varieties. It was my fellow travelers who targeted me from day one. It all came down to me being called "entitled white man." I was actually accused and convicted of this. That an not being a proper kind of person all around. Funny how upper middle class people like to pick on people. Typical

I sat there. and let it kinda fall off my shoulders. I almost called them douche bags, but thought to my self. I will let God handle that one.

Douche baggery begins with one and should end with one. Well, at least I am not a closeted pig fucker.

I lost the farm and live three blocks from 8 Mile in Detroit, and I am entitled? Whatever. SO be it. My douche bag is filled with happy, not bitter.

For fun, a picture of Olive Trees about 2000 years old in Hebron.
DSC02520.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSC02520.JPG]
 
Eva Taylor
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I have found Paul's rule to be true in my own experience. Most often I see the truth of this rule in mixed company where general statements are being passed around as truth like: " hippies smell and smoke pot and are good for nothing" or " gun owners are right wing assholes" when I find myself in these situations- where I feel surrounded by douchebags I usually keep my mouth shut for fear of my own RELATIVE douchbaggery being realized. I think this also supports the idea that a lack of knowledge precipitates this affliction of douchbaggery. Without the ignorance of sweeping generalizations a large portion of the existing world douchbaggery would disappear. I also like the idea of this serving double duty with the rule that you should never point out the stink of another without first looking in into the source of your own stink... Or something to that effect.
 
Mark Allen
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So, reading the replies it strikes me how some cultures hate the douchebag and some embrace it. The roaming monk from Buddhist lore is the accepted douche bag. Mostly because he makes you question your own value system. He is a socially acceptable questioning administrator, or rabble rouser if you will. He shows up trashes the place then moves on but as he is leaving everyone is crying and saying how much they are going to miss him... I think you are spot on Paul. We need the acceptable rouge amungust us, or douchebag whatever you wish to call him. At the very least he brings a good time...😈
 
leah cardwell
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i so wish that I had the patience to sugar coat when I feed things back to people, but more often than not I fail. I suffer from chronic pain and after a couple of brushes with possible ending I do not seem to find that I have time to waste on people with narrow minds and hard extreme opinions. so I tend to just remove them from my life. The problem is that the "douche bags" as they are refered often are standing in the way of where I am trying to go and it is very necissary to deal with them in and effective way. I meditate a lot.
 
Matu Collins
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So, is the idea that the very act of calling someone a douchebag is what causes one's own douchebaggery?

I'm still not sure I understand, is douchebag specific in its meaning at all, or is it a generalized insult? You've got your assholes and your asshats, there's nuance there. The asshole is directly unkind/rude, the asshat may only say stupid things or hold unkind beliefs.

 
Fred Morgan
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One more thing to add that might make you perhaps rethink this.

If one continues to mature and remain open in their thinking and willing to change, there is a very high probability that your future self will consider your current self a douche-bag. So, you might wish to treat those you don't agree with more gently, or expect in the future to have some very harsh thoughts about your younger self.

For example, I know that my 21 year old self would have thought for sure I am a tree hugging liberal now. lol

I tend to find those who are so certain they are right, and anyone who doesn't agree with them are wrong, or a douche-bag, are either young, or not open to personal growth.

It isn't so much has having a different opinion that matters, but a lack of respect for the right for others to be wrong, including ourselves that makes a person an undesirable person to be around, and to discuss ideas with.
 
Tom Nicholson
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Rare is the person who doesn't try and justify their thoughts and actions, which often requires criticising those who differ.

Realising this, I think we should all be tolerant of each other. If you don't agree with this then you're a total douchebag.

 
Laura Jean Wilde
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Do any of you guys even know what Douche is?
www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/douche
: a jet or current of liquid (as a cleansing solution) directed against or into a bodily part or cavity (as the vagina) b : an act of cleansing with a douche. 2. : a device for giving douches.

I believe the reference is to someone who may be significantly less than pure or clean in the integrity department.
the bag part is less clear.
 
Burra Maluca
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Laura Jean Wilde wrote:Do any of you guys even know what Douche is?


It's the French word for 'shower', extrapolated to mean 'washing by dousing with water'. I guess it's the same root as 'douse.

I get the impression that when it's used as an insult, it's short for 'douchebag'.
 
Wyatt Barnes
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I knew what it meant, does that make me more of one or less of one?
 
Matu Collins
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Some people think that using this as a slur is sexist. They make a good point. It at least has a misogynist tone to it.
 
Wyatt Barnes
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You are probably right and I had already thought of that but enemabag, or you are such an enematube just doesn't have the same flair.
 
Matu Collins
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Ooooh, enemabag is such a more appropriate insult! Enemacanoe?
 
Jay Angler
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Have any of you read, Enlightenment 2.0 Restoring Sanity to Our Politics, Our Economy, and Our Lives, by Joseph Heath? He has some very interesting comments about the evolution of the human race into "us" and "them". I haven't finished it yet, but the sections I've read aloud to family and friends were, shall we say, "enlightening"?
 
August Hurtel
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In general use, the epithet appears to indicate some level of envy on the part of the speaker- i.e. someone is jealous of Paul's popularity, relative level of success, ability to rock overalls, height, etc...

The term seems most used in places where there are a lot of dateless young guys who cannot fathom why some particular sketchy character has managed to get with the hot girls. The douchebag usually appears to have some level of success that the insulter does not, and the suggestion is that the douchebag has employed some devious means to achieve this success.

I believe Larry Ellison (I presume he is still CEO of Oracle) is thought by many to be a douchebag, for example. Personally, I wish I could be successful enough to be called a douchebag. I would probably be quite annoying if someone did call me a douchebag, because I would thank him for the compliment.

 
Paul Fookes
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Having read Paul's Law of reflective douchbaggery, it appears to me that a douchbag is completely self absorbed and as such cannot reflect the sentiment. From my research, the attachments for the douchbag should only be used for one orifice so it is extrapolated that should you note a douchbag has his (or her) head up their arse then they probably have nothing to contribute to the conversation because they would speak shit. The douchbag is closely related to the British toe-rag. I thank the world for douchbags and toe-rags because it pushed me further into the deeper end of the genepool so I am less likely to hit my head on the bottom when I dive in.
 
Sue Rine
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Well, that gave me a chuckle Paul
 
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