Hot off the press inside of hAAthi’s brain today, is the topic that I like to call, Intellectual Masturbation. What makes people do it? What does it achieve? Is it a defense mechanism? A time wasting tactic? But most importantly, why is everybody doing it so much these days ? And why does it bother me so much? Who died and made me official person in charge of taking on these Intellectual Douchebags (douches, for short)?!
They seem to be all around these days. Or maybe I am some kind of a magnet (and by that logic, some part of me is an ID too? Birds of a feather and all that?), because I constantly find myself at the receiving end of this generic gyaan-giving, throwing around of mumbo-jumbo, a few obscure books, off-beat films, name-dropping and the like, a little too often. Every social situation now is incomplete without some slight deviation to a very intellectually, shall I say, stimulating topic. I’m all for the engaging discussions, and lord knows I have enough of them in life, but is it really too much to expect that every social occasion does not turn into a debate that really just gets everybody’s panties up in a bunch. I have a handful of people I know I can spar with. The husband, some friends I vibe with, a host of super-duper women I know online, and with all of them I can talk like we’re equals. I can voice an opinion and I know we can have a healthy conclusive discussion.
Most often a douche’s opinions are not clearly weighed out and not thought through. They offer no room for a contrary point of view and smack of a superficial arrogance. What makes a douche a douche, is the attitude and here are some of my issues with this kind of douchebaggery:
1) The-holier-than-thou stand — some people just rub me the wrong way when they resort to confounding me by dropping names of books, movies, sociologists, scientists and authors that I sometimes have not heard of. When it is done to enlighten and engage, it is awesome because I want to come home and google it all and know moaaarrr. But when It is done with the underhanded tone that reads oh-what-would-you-know-anyway it only implies a petty power play of wanting to put the other person/s down. And I have no patience or respect for this breed of douche.
2) The age card — there is nothing worse than being made to feel like 28 is still to young to have a well-informed opinion on issues. Be it India Against Corruption, feminism, the ways of advertising, photography of any goddamn thing under the sun. Playing the *yawn*-I’ve-been-there-and-done-that card only stinks of cynicism and apathy of not wanting to move from that snug spot of comfort that opinions tend to make for us. Except sometimes that spot is a dark, dark hole and it would do us all good to wake up and see the light. As a rule, these douches don’t think this is necessary.
3) The all-talk-no-shit syndrome — I’ve noticed that 9 out of 10 classic douchebags tend to ramble on and on about lofty aims in life. All that they want to do, and how many books they have read to that end. But when it comes to kicking butt and getting a move on, nada. Nothing. The problem is 90% of energy, time and motivation is spent Intellectually Masturbating about something, leaving very little zest for actual action. The end result is a hollow, unaccomplished goal. All because of lots of talk and just not enough movement.
4) The really unnecessary, baseless cynicism — there is cynicism, and then there is cynicism. The first kind is the flighty, harmless kind that washes away with age and experience. And then there is the heavy-duty kind that weighs down on you like a monster pinning you down to the ground. In my opinion, its best to avoid getting to that stage. But the quintessential douche confuses cynicism to be a subtle strain of wisdom of years. Wisdom? It sparkles and leaves me awe-struck. Cynicism? It just leaves me wanting to dust the 2-inch thick layer of dust off of the poor sappy soul and tell him/her to pick up and and do something worthwhile for a change, rather than sit back and quibble all the time.
I could of course just switch off, leave people be, and do what I used to do. Make mental notes, keep my hyper-articulated thoughts inside my brain and not let the words jump out before I have thought them through. Oh and I could chuckle inwardly, too. So much more fun than getting riled up and engaging in a battle of words. But my threshold for tolerance for douchebaggery is diminishing. Very quickly, my head and heart are in a tussle. My head says open your mouth and tel him/her to STFU and my heart says no, just shut up and switch off. When it comes to type 1) and 2), my immediate reaction is to feel over-awed. I am overwhelmed by the information overload and the inability to keep up. Then the fury of having let a douche do that to me kicks in and that does weird things to my brain.
I am convinced there is a monkey in my head that pushes all the wrong buttons. And even as I am counting to ten and telling myself to b.r.e.a.t.h.e and switch off, the words drain out. I try and contain them, but they spill over creating a gigantic mess. And then they trickle on, like a leaking tap that dribbles long after it has been shut off. Leaving one or both parties smarting.
The problem with the douche is that he/she is just trying really hard to be brooding, serious and intellectual all the time, that they actually just end up coming across as pompous twits. Everybody has opinions, I have a million, but I do not bandy them in peoples faces and overpower them with my cynicism. So today, when I found myself riled up enough to attempt fitting my feelings into 140 characters, I knew I needed more. I sure hope this is the heat talking, because its too soon for PMS.
In many ways, I think my biggest issues are with type 3) and 4) because you can tick off a person and tell him/her to get off his high horse, you can beat the age battle with words (something I really need to master. Fast.), but what do you do with a world of cynicism? How do you shake of years of grey mistrust and suspicion at everything at large. What do you do with a face that refuses to smile? And a body that refuses to get up and get going?
I can think of a hundred things, actually. And trying to be an Intellectual Douchebag isn’t one of them.