new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

be nice; don't be a dick; be a dick  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22178
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My name is paul wheaton.  I'm a little bit famous.  But there is a famouser wheaton, wil wheaton, and his catch phrase is:




And it turns out that Jesus says this too:



Jesus is freaky awesome, so surely this must be THE path.  Right?

And then when I was fishing for these images, I came across this one:



And as everyone who has ever posted here knows, our full rule set for using these forums is "be nice".  So it looks like jesus, wil and i say the exact same thing.  Profound.

---

Long, long ago ... in a land ... well ... in missoula ....  I worked as a software engineer.  All the engineers had cubes and I was closest to the pathetic bathroom which didn't have a fan. 

There were .... odors ....  powerful odors.  My desk was placed optimally as closest to the break room and furthest from the door to the outside where the cold montana winds blew.  But it had this one downside - the stench. 

Somebody put a can of lysol in the bathroom.   This empowered well meaning people to enhance the stench of shit into a mix of shit and lysol.  Twice as powerful.   I think this might be the definition of "toxic shitstorm."

In this office was a really nice guy named Tom.  One time I was in a pretty serious nerf gun war with somebody and Tom ended up as an accidental casualty of war.   He said "Dammit Wheaton you URINE-HEAD!"  That was the first time I ever heard the phrase "urine-head".  I think I used it about a thousand times since then.  Poetry.  Tom is always great at expanding my cultural horizons in this way. 

So I hid the lysol.  It was the right thing to do.  Tom said "where the fuck is the lysol?" "I hid it."  Tom very clearly and carefully explained to me "don't be a dick."  I clearly and carefully explained to him my position: "YOU don't be a dick."  

Could it be that dick-a-tude is not just relative and subjective, but also reflective? 

I walked over to a nearby store and bought "air freshener" spray (which is a marketing spin on "cover the stink with vanilla").  Through the mighty power of chemistry, the smell of poop lost in the great vanilla war.   I could feel the wind tugging on my cape as I stood tall on my pedestal of awesome problem solving.  I was prepared to receive the nobel peace prize and roses at the foot of my amazing pedestal when tom said "you're still a dick." 

As the years passed, there was a massive parade of people that endorsed tom's analysis.  Girlfriends, one wife (now ex-wife), my own children, other children, dozens of co-workers, strangers ....  the internet has proven to be a great facilitator to thousands to convey this message.  I would like to take this moment to thank Jesus for never pointing directly at me and calling me a dick, that would have been a sad day.

It seems that the body of evidence is rather profound.  I suppose I should take my lumps, carve out a little, dark corner somewhere and remove myself from society for the betterment of the world. 

A few interesting bits and bobs to add:

1 - in each instance that i was called a dick, I thought the person with "dick" on their lips was an even bigger dick! (HA HA - "dick on their lips")

2 - for each of those people, it seems that they, too, had a parade of people with analysis similar to mine. 

3 - is it possible that everybody in the whole wide world has been called a dick?  (helpful tip:  a thesaurus could be used to make sure nobody gets left out)

4 - if dick-a-tude is reflective, then wouldn't that mean that wil wheaton, who is famous for saying "don't be a dick", has more people pointing back at him saying the same thing? Like, more than average.   Maybe Wil Wheaton is more dick-ish than the average person because the votes are in?


I have written recently that the following is the root of all of human history and 90% of human psychology:

Most people NEED to hear their own opinion from all other people and are frustrated that they don't have the might to make it "right." 


I wonder if somebody has the gall to utter an opinion that is contrary to what the listener wants to hear, if the response might be "don't be a dick". 

Maybe one possible interpretation for "don't be a dick" is "Your behavior is outside the realm of what I allow."  Could it be a command for obedience?  "Stop what you are doing and embrace doing what I tell you."  A sort of master/slave relationship.   And whenever somebody attempts to engage this master/slave relationship on somebody, the other party naturally expresses "*I* am NOT your fucking slave.  YOU are MY slave!  OBEY MY WORDS!" 

It's a dick-off.   A battle that has happend trillions of times throughout history. 


I now propose that "don't be a dick" is a mediocre jedi mind trick.   Easy to adopt.  I suspect that it does work at times which is what makes it mediocre.  You just point at somebody, say "don't be a dick" and sometimes, some weak minded twit will actually obey because they don't want to be thought of as a dick.   Not too bad.

I wonder if there is a formal fallacy defined around this.  Something with a latin name.  "Dick Dicens" perhaps?  (thanks google translate)

---

I'm trying to think of who, for all of time, was never called a dick.   Gandhi is out.  Mother Theresa is out.  Lincoln is out.  Jesus was killed by the people that thought he was dick.  In fact, it seems that the greater positive a person has done in the world, the more people there are that will point and say "dick!"   To bring balance to the force, Hitler, Stalin and Satan had even more people pointing at them.  Maybe there is something to be said about accomplishment to hate mail ratio.  But I suspect that still isn't a slam dunk. 

Maybe there are a few people that always did what others told them.  And since a lot of others would give conflicting commands, they would find a way to hide from all of society and, thus, managed to get old without ever being called a dick. 

But I want folks to do great and amazing things.   And if they are going to do that, they are going to be called a dick.  I don't think there is a way around it. 

And now I am realizing I should have kept all this to myself.  Because I hope that these next words don't end up on some meme next to a wil wheaton meme where he is saying "don't be a dick" ....


To make the world a better place, millions of people will have to ....


be a dick



But, of course, be dick in a way that I am cool with.    Which makes you not a dick to me.   Just to icky people.  And if you are a dick on my forums, I will delete that shit - and I don't care if you think I'm a dick.  In fact, I would be proud of that.




 
chip sanft
pollinator
Posts: 417
Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
32
bike books dog urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:
I wonder if somebody has the gall to utter an opinion that is contrary to what the listener wants to hear, if the response might be "don't be a dick". 


Yes. It took me a really long time to figure this out. Many people seem to know what they want to hear and most people tell that to them. Sort of great big happy lovefest. And if you don't agree and let that be known, well, you're a dick.

Now when I am called a dick etc. I just hum to myself, "Them that don't know him won't like him, and them that do sometimes won't know how to take him" and feel cool for a second.
 
Dan Boone
gardener
Posts: 1786
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
195
forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:
But, of course, be dick in a way that I am cool with.    Which makes you not a dick to me.   Just to icky people.


And here, I speculate, we may be approaching the true wisdom.  I'm a judgmental guy, I feel as if the world is full of dicks.  Lot of dickish people out there.  But some of them?  Total dicks, but I still like them.  Or maybe I don't like them but I respect the good they are doing in the world.  Maybe they are just dicks to people I don't like ("icky people") in which case I might love them for it.  Or maybe they're dicks even to me, but I have a thick skin and they are also funny or loving or amazing activist heroes or they have some other redeeming quality which makes me like them even though they are dicks.

"Don't be a dick" was the only rule the resident sophomores enforced in my freshman dorm.  And it was a good rule for getting a bunch of teenager dicks to live in tight proximity without bloodshed.   I thought it was an important ethical principal at the time.  And you could still do a lot worse, if you were just looking for a low-friction way of enjoying life and getting along with people.  But it's beginner stuff.  It's maybe a good rule but it's perhaps not the only or the most important rule.  There are times when it's fine (or even ethically required) to be a dick with flagrant abandon.  Other times, not so much.  Learning to tell the difference, well, I still struggle with that.
 
M Johnson
Posts: 128
10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I view it like this die hard 2 quote (via IMDb)

John McClane: Guess I was wrong about you. You're not such an asshole after all.
Grant: Oh, you were right. I'm just your kind of asshole.

Just replace asshold with dick.  We're all good with people being dicks, as long as they're our kind.

 
Toni Rinker
Posts: 21
Location: Fallon, NV
food preservation forest garden tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Very well said! Thank you for that Paul!
 
Tobias Ber
Posts: 475
Location: Northern Germany (Zone 8a)
15
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jesus to pharisees: you re dick. and you pose yourself as a non-dick. so you re a double dick. and you pose as a teacher of non-dicki-ness, even if you re such a dick yourself. so you re an extra-dick.

Jesus to "obvious sinners": you know that you re a dick. but i know how messed up you are. so your dickiness is forgiven. i love you in your dickiness. i am the saviour and i have come into the world to save the dicks from their own dickiness. if you want that and trust me, i ll undick you and i ll undick your life. but if you follow me, people will keep telling you "you re a dick"


hmm... that looks like it sums up a big part of the new testament
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22178
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that Wil Wheaton's version of "don't be a dick" is in response to people who are openly trying to meet their personal humor needs at the expense of others.  In otherwords, openly trolling or talking smack just for fun - but they are going too far.  So you say "don't be a dick" and the person then realizes they have gone a bit too far and reigns it in. 

This is the first time he brought it up (about 1:20):



He is suggesting that when you win a game, "try not to be a dick" - be a graceful winner. 

I like poker.  And my favorite phrase when playing poker is "STRAIGHT FLUSH BITCHES!" which might be the very thing that wil wheaton is attempting to address.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22178
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another possible conclusion:

If uttering the phrase "don't be a dick" makes it clear that you want the other person to submit to your will ....   that you want the other person to live according to standards not-their-own ... then doesn't that mean that the person saying "don't be a dick" is a dick?   I mean, demanding that people live to any standard other than their own is pretty fucking rude. 

Therefore, can you say "don't be a dick" without being a dick?

It could be that uttering the phrase "don't be a dick" is absolute proof of being a dick!  The person being pointed at, their dick-a-tude is still up for debate.  But the person with the finger is definitely a dick.

 
John Weiland
Posts: 921
Location: RRV of da Nort
41
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@Paul W: "It could be that uttering the phrase "don't be a dick" is absolute proof of being a dick!  The person being pointed at, their dick-a-tude is still up for debate.  But the person with the finger is definitely a dick. "

I suppose there are times, however, where "don't be a dick" is appropriate.  If you are an indigenous tribe observing the colonizers moving in, destroying the landscape and claiming it for their own, it may be justifiable to point the finger at them and yell "Don't be a dick!..." as a prelude to embarking on yet more severe argumentative measures.

Nevertheless, under most circumstances, you have a point that is summed up adequately below:
Quote.jpg
[Thumbnail for Quote.jpg]
 
S Tonin
Posts: 41
Location: zone 6a, ish
4
food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wil Wheaton explains a bit more of the context of the origins in this interview:



I follow him on Tumblr; in the last couple years Wheaton's Law has gone from being a lighthearted "mind your manners" kind of thing to a harder pushback against the toxicity in nerd/ gamer/ internet culture as a whole (Google "gamergate" sometime to see how vile these dudes can get- rape and death threats coupled with doxing and calls to violence against their targets).  At least, that's how he seems to invoke his own law.

I think Paul's examples of his own dickishness represent the benign kind.  Ruffle-some-feathers-to-change-the-world-for-the-better dickishness, dude-being-a-dude with his friends dickishness, motivated self-interest dickishness.  And then there's the malicious kind of dickishness that's only meant to do harm (be it psychological or the actual, physical, real-world kind).  I don't think the benign kind falls within the scope of Wheaton's Law; my interpretation is that it's aimed more at a specific subset of a specific demographic.  To anyone born before the tail end of Generation X, basic humanity is pretty self-evident but, y'know, "kids today" and all that. 

We need more "problematic fave" dicks like Paul, like a whole phalanx of them, but a lot less of the other kind.  Or the good dicks need to out-dick the dick-dicks. 
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
180
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dan Boone wrote:I feel as if the world is full of dicks.  Lot of dickish people out there.


My experience is the opposite.  I think the last time I met a dickish person "in real life" was over 20 years ago.  True, I don't get out much, but I've mostly only met people who go out of their way to be jerks on the internet.  Most people I meet in real life are nice, or at the worst they are self-involved.  In my opinion, being a dick is going out of one's way to hurt another person's feelings, or regarding the other person's feelings as unimportant.  The opposite of "being nice."
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1197
126
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When you speak, you should ALWAYS tell the truth, but that does not always mean the truth has to be said.

There is a lot of wisdom in those words, and a lot of arguments would be eliminated if it was heeded. That is because, sometimes in life, it is just better to remain mum and be a peace-maker. But by speaking the truth when I do speak, I feel I am gaining integrity, something I severely lacked in my younger years.

I am getting better as I get older, but to Paul...owner of this forum to which I have the greatest respect, and to other members, I do appreciate your patience.

 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1181
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:I think that Wil Wheaton's version of "don't be a dick" is in response to people who are openly trying to meet their personal humor needs at the expense of others.  In otherwords, openly trolling or talking smack just for fun - but they are going too far.  So you say "don't be a dick" and the person then realizes they have gone a bit too far and reigns it in. 

This is the first time he brought it up (about 1:20):



He is suggesting that when you win a game, "try not to be a dick" - be a graceful winner. 

I like poker.  And my favorite phrase when playing poker is "STRAIGHT FLUSH BITCHES!" which might be the very thing that wil wheaton is attempting to address.


Just enjoyed this thread all over again. 
Wrestling with whether, and when, to let accusations of being "not-nice" slide off your back seems like one of those rites of passage for a productive adult.
Maybe you start learning this around the same age as really "getting it" about death and mortality, and right after coming to terms with your semi-control status concerning your own bodily fluids.

I just wanted to say that "STRAIGHT FLUSH BITCHES" feels to me like entirely acceptable dickishness, as long as at least some of the bitches involved know what a straight flush IS, and how rare.
(If you were to corral a whole passel of first-time poker players as the audience for this line, or use this phrase in the singular while playing poker with your new girlfriend who was still trying to learn the game, it would be the other kind.)

And of course, if you share the joy when someone else does the exact same thing to you, then it's "Golden Rule"-compatible dickishness, the best kind.

-Erica
 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
Posts: 354
Location: Western Kenya
29
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
At the end of a rather stressful and crappy day.... This was the best thread ever.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 717
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
69
books dog fish food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting solar trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is a fun read, but you may need to break out your dick-tionary. Bah Domb Dah!!
 
We can walk to school together. And we can both read this tiny ad:
Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!