REALITY CHECK FOR TODAY:
You are not entitled to an asshole free existence. In your life you will encounter all kinds of assholes. You might find they are racist, sexist, anti semitic, inconsiderate, boorish, uncharitable, conniving, vindictive and downright mean. In other words: assholes doing what assholes do best, which is being assholes.
To that end, you are not persecuted. You are not oppressed.
You were born in a developed western hemisphere country. That means you have won half of life’s lottery right there. Bonus points if you are a prevailing race or religion. More bonus points if you are in a functional socio-economic bracket. Even more bonus points if you are male.
There are children in the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water. There are people in Syrian refugee camps who have absolutely no economic or political security whatsoever. There are women in the world who can’t walk 100 yards in one direction without the risk of being openly gang-raped without significant consequence. There are countries who have essentially been bombed off the map.
And then there is college educated, employed, five/six figure earning you. In the Western hemisphere, who knows s/he will get enough to eat tonight. You who will sleep in a warm bed tonight. You, who may find yourself on the receiving end of an asshole making a cheap shot: a racist or sexist comment, or doing a socially unacceptable thing, encroaching on your space or being sexually unsavory or skeevy (catcalling, leering). That is an asshole being an asshole.
You deal with this problem in real time in a number of methods at your disposal. You can tell them where to go (hell) or what to do (fuck off, etc), and be as colorful as you want. In more severe cases, you can bring it to the attention of other people or even police or security. You fume about it for five or ten minutes. Then you move on with your life. You take the money you were going to spend on therapy for the tremendous trauma an asshole caused you by oppressing/persecuting you. And you donate it to a reputable non-profit agency that works to allay the problems mentioned in my third paragraph.
Here is what you DON’T do:
If you are a witness to asshollery, you don’t record it on your iPhone. You should have just come to the aid of the person on the receiving end of if. Or minded your own business if s/he was handling it well enough him/herself.
You don’t put a video of it on YouTube in the hopes of it going viral. So what? Who cares? An asshole being an asshole. *Yawn*
You don’t put that video on Upworthy, ThinkProgress, Addicting Info etc with a deliberately indignation-provoking title so that random people can play armchair quarterback from behind the screens of their MacBooks.
If even a fraction of the people who voiced their outrage and indignation at an asshole being an asshole ( in the comments section of Upworthy, Think Progress, Addicting Info or good ol’ Facebook) instead contributed even five bucks to one of the causes I mentioned, we’d eliminate a lot of suffering in the world.
This is not to defend or offer mitigation of the behavior of assholes. It is merely to state that:
You are not entitled to an asshole-free existence.
Actually, everybody is entitled to an asshole free existence. You are just not more entitled to it than anyone else. And if all the assholes were eliminated from your existence, where would they go? To someone else’s existence.
We’ll go crazy if we spend our existence stewing, getting outraged, offended and butthurt over every act of asshollery. Not everything needs to go viral and be subject to the outrage of the world at large. No asshole deserves to be made into a celebrity, which is what happens when a video of his behavior goes viral.
There are things we should deal with on a micro level and things we should deal with on a macro level. Asshollery should be dealt with on a micro level. The problems of my third paragraph: they should be dealt with on a macro level. This outrage: that’s where it needs to go, and repeated until we cough up enough tangibles to actually make a dent in the problem.
Nobody cares that someone did/said something offensive, racist, sexist, unsavory, skeevy or otherwise untoward to you. Actually, we do care, but not globally.
You are not entitled to an asshole free existance, and you will have to deal with assholes being assholes. Everybody else did.