Asshole Culture has carved out a very clear, unsavory role in American film, literature and life. Entitled, wealthy, bros who take what they want, treat everyone around them like shit and then rise to positions of power is a common trope in fiction and, if you have been following the news recently, at the highest levels of the US government.
In films, these jerks usually get their comeuppance. In real life, not so much. They usually just keep working their way up the greasy pole, covering for & enabling each other and rising generations of assholes to come, their paths assured by aging assholes atop big institutions.
Brett Kavanaugh, the GOP leaders in the Senate and above all Donald Trump embody this subset of the ugliest Americans to such a degree you can hardly believe they are real.
They are cartoonishly smug and convinced that morality is for poor people except for perhaps the snippets found in Latin on their school blazers or the platitudes they speak when running for office, accepting awards later in life or presenting themselves to Senate committees confirming them.
Despite their sense they are the heirs to America, raised to take the reins of power, it is of course, their moral and ethical emptiness and their greed and ambition that has corroded what’s best about the country and led to institutionalized inequality and corruption that threaten democracy in America today.
Trump, of course, is the ur-Asshole, though he is not, despite what he may think, the alpha asshole. Those are the ones behind the scenes, who not-so-secretly despise him as a wannabe who will neverbe in their world. But they, like he, are all spoiled, shallow, self-absorbed, & contemptuous of those with less.
The battle over Kavanaugh centers on our anger not only about what these assholes have done but what in particular their culture has done to women, how it treats them.
We also cannot help but reflect at how young assholes-in-training, morph into the champions of the patriarchy, the avatars of government by for and of the patriarchy. From Georgetown Prep keggers to Yale clubs where “no means yes and yes means anal” to the Senate to the White House to the Supreme Court, these pigs fight for their ability to behave piggishly not just because it is all they know but because they believe it is their right.
The vileness of it is compounded by the master class level hypocrisy of those who defend Kavanaugh and Trump as champions of “values”, by the Franklin Grahams, and Lindsey Grahams and all those other moralistic but two-faced Graham crackers who provide the smokescreen for the AC. (AC–Asshole Culture, formerly also found in bastions of asshole culture like men’s clubs where it was cultivated and celebrated and high school bros smoked cigars as their insides decayed literally and figuratively. Like the New York Athletic Club–NYAC.)
Our revulsion at Kavanaugh is therefore compounded not just by his lying to the Senate or his extremism, not just by his callous abuse of women but by the reflexive response of Asshole Culture to come to his defense to protect themselves and their past and future transgressions.
There is no fair and decent treatment of women until we break the grip on power of Asshole Culture, the Praetorian guard of the patriarchy. Let’s leave them to literature where they can be suitable villains wearing white tennis sweaters tied over their shoulders. Leave them to movies where we can continue to laugh derisively at this nation of Doug Neidermeyers and Greg Marmalards. But whatever we do, let’s use this moment to just leave them once and for all. They have done too much damage to too many people for too long.