The Attractive Power of the Asshole

Why yes, I am a God among men.or, Why Do I Dig Tony Stark When In Real Life I’d Probably Want To Kick Him In the Balls?
I have a thing for assholes, apparently. Tony Stark is only the latest instantiation of this. I’m also a fan of Bernard from Black Books, and he’s an utter wanker. I adore the titular character of House, and he’s an asshole. There are others.
I watch them in action and cheer for them, admire them, gasp approvingly at their audacity. In real life? I’d hate them. They’re disrespectful, hateful, bitter people. They treat those around them very badly, often in direct proportion to how important those people are to them.
But, but, but: they’re all brilliant. They’re all damaged. And, which is probably the best thing, they are equal-opportunity assholes.
I’ve seen a lot of whinging about Tony being a misogynist asshole, but if you actually pay attention to Iron Man, he’s an asshole to everyone. It’s not misogyny, it’s misanthropy — and it’s rooted in his own issues. As Rhodey puts it, “you don’t respect yourself, so I know you don’t respect me.” Oh, sure, Tony’s a jerk. He has loads of every sort of privilege in the world. But calling him a misogynist misses the big picture: he’s an egalitarian douchebag. He’s so douchey that it transcends the realm of the aggravating and becomes charming again (at least, if you’re me).
I think part of the reason I enjoy characters like Tony and Bernard and House is that I admire them. I have a great deal of misanthropy going on in my head (nobody’s as bitter as a disappointed optimist, after all, especially one who used to be a substitute teacher), and some days it would be thoroughly enjoyable to give in entirely and just go the full-on-snarktastic-asshole route. I just don’t quite have the chutzpah. But they do. So I live vicariously through them and admire them and fangirl over them, and hope that it gets the misanthropy out of my system.
On the bright side, if it doesn’t, if it’s just cultivating my misanthropy, maybe one of these days I’ll break down and become a snarktastic asshole. And then I’ll get fangirls of my own, right? So that’s not all bad.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Attractive Power of the Asshole