And here are my issues with Intellectual Douchebaggery

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.

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21 Replies to “And here are my issues with Intellectual Douchebaggery”

  1. At least you are dealing with intellectual douches, I’m having to deal with plain ol’ douches! Maybe on some level the latter is preferable? I dunno….. :)

  2. i have to deal with these jerks at work! It’s so f**king irritating when they act like they know than you cos they’ve been in the industry longer than you have (and I’m no fresher, I’ve been here 7 long years and I’m doing the job that I am cos I’m good at it, not cos my uncle gave it to me). And I have to bite my tongue, cos they’re friggin clients and I really haven’t figured out how to put them in their place without being impolite.

    1. I think there is no real way to put them in their place without being impolite. Today I crossed that line and in telling so0meone off I realse I had been impolite. The guilt prompted me to write this post. Also I have too much of an ego to apologive to an intellectual douche!

      1. I know what you mean! YOU are too nice that you actually feel guilty about being impolite, even though they are such asses that *that* is exactly what they deserve (if not more!).

        1. Of course, with me, it’s not cos I’m too nice that I don’t want to be impolite, it’s just that I’m scared about *how* angry I’ll be if I let myself be angry.

        2. True..all this time away from people is making me potty I think. I was a lot more tolerant and generally tactful with my feelings/opinions around people. Now I just have no time and patience. If someone is being a piss off, even if I dont say anything, it tends to show on my face.

  3. Intellectuals douches are so f****** boring and they are all over the place..TV debates, twitter and you name it, you get it..sometimes they just emerges as they wanna show the world as you beautifully put it, intellectual masturbation’ to show the world how potent they are. They just need to show off and it’s a tale bout mediocre but arrogant.
    Cheerio
    V

  4. You know how when you are a teenager (think High School/ college years) and are struggling with finding an identity, there is always that one idiot that has a carefully cultivated aura of resigned cynicism? Like they woke up some day and achieved Nirvana? My theory is that the IDs we meet today are those guys – they got older but they never got wiser.
    Dropping names – especially books and movies, irritates the crap out of me. Mostly because 5-6 exchanges later, you know the other person is really bull- shitting you. I find this whole cynicism/ ‘intellectual aura’ thing yet another fad and given how networking sites give us easy access to our created brands of armchair activism, it becomes so much easier to give our wisdom way more credit than it deserves!

    1. An odd interaction, that reeked of cynicism, with an armchair theorist got me thinking and eventually to write this. So I think youre right. Maybe it comes from compensating for a deficit in one area, by inflating another — in this case, the aura of cynicism that is a part of being an armchair intellectual.

  5. I politely call them wannabes. They come in so many different shades, intellectual being one of them. The underlying theme is the same – “I’m cool and I will do anything including insulting you .. in fact predominantly try to be the insulting type .. because it will get your attention, get me 1 up on you because you’ll momentarily shutup and I’ll walk away being cooler.” The part where they realize that they were just ID’d as an ID or any other kind of wannabe douche totally doesn’t even touch their pea sized brains. That momentary win is what they live for! The biggest advantage they have over anyone else .. is oblivion. They are so F oblivious of how stupid and wannabe they are that sometimes that’s the part that bothers me the most. You can’t put these types off easily or smack them down because of this oblivion.

    The answer to this might just be more alcohol. I’m trying to tell people I meet .. to hang on so I can go and get more alcohol and come back or when there’s no alcohol, some food or something else to keep my senses distracted. I’ve noticed it annoys them a lot. One kutti tiny little win that makes me giddy.

    1. Okay, so Im not the only one infuriated with this kind. Nice to know.
      For a brief moment yesterday I thought maybe I was overreacting and that they dont deserve this much playtime in my head. But Im glad I could get it off my chest. Better here, than in person. Because no, theyre not ever worth that much effort.

  6. While we are all venting, those people who just talk AT you, not TO you make me want to just walk off and leave them talking. They are also usually the people with too many opinions for their own good. They say as you get older your skin elasticity declines. I dare say in my case this is true of tolerance too!

    1. Oh yes, tolerance has waned quicker than I expected. Also the rope gets shorter, and I am not willing to waste any of my time and precious patience with disgraceful people.

    1. amen amen amen
      last year when i was at doormat pinnacle i used to spend a lot fo time with the chocolate boy, who is now obnoxious colleague, and one thing i realised was that it was impossible to have a conversation or even a discussion with him and his friends. it would all just degenrate into obnoxious trip taking and yelling and YOU DONT UNDERSTAND LOGIC. if you ever point out a flaw in their reasoning theyre so horrified they will swear the sun rises in the west just to not be wrong. so annoying., and once i came out of doormatland i no longer wanted to put up with it. heh.
      in my exp though as people get older they tend to get more comfy with themsevles and this gets to be less of a problem. then again those boys are all older than me! hee.

      1. Strangely, I too have this issue with the older lot of friends. The ones I am closest to and can discuss intellectual-debate-worthy stuff with are all older to me (mid-late 30s) and I find these traits in several such people. I think the older one gets, the more comfy one gets with ones opinions — thats the problem. There is no room for another opinion.

        I am pretty opinionated myself, but I just hope I dont turn into one of these old fogies. That would just be sad.

        1. wait confusion has happened. i think it happens with younger people which is why i ind these older ones anomalies. maybe the ones who dont learn when young that there are and can be other opinions turn into this type?

          1. Possibly. But I am talking mostly of men and women, in this post, all older to me. It is a very specific breed of IDs, typical to Goa I think :P

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