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"Assholes"­ by Aaron James

for the September meet-up we will read and discuss the book "Assholes" by Aaron James, suggested by member Megan. Aaron James is a Professor of Philosophy at the University California Irvine, his Research Interests, Ethics, and Political philosophy and author of the book "Assholes". In one review this book has been called the definitive guide for survival in the twenty first century. In the book James discusses "the phenomenon of the asshole", his definition being " a person with an entrenched sense of entitlement and feeling of superiority—and gives us, the more cooperative members of society, some hints at identifying and dealing with those who routinely inconvenience us while rarely giving us a second thought".
Has American culture with its emphasis on individualism produced an upsurge in assholes? James would argue that it certainly hasn’t helped. The “dampening effects” of family, religion, and a societal emphasis on working toward the collective good seem to be waning. The “Cable News Asshole” fans the flames of discord to create smokescreens of division (where none may actually exist) so that other assholes may flourish. A most telling example comes from the “Delusional Asshole Banker” who after taking billions of dollars in bail-out money due to his reckless behavior asks what his bonus will be. He then argues that the government bailed him out because he is “smart” and worthy of special treatment. Assholes in political office reinforce this dysfunctional mindset through legislation which rewards future asshole behaviors.
Well does this guy know what he is talking about, is it a bunch of garbage or does it make us think, anyhow the thinkers will figure it out. This sounds like it might be a lively one and I hope I can attend via SKYPE, I will be out of the country, if someone would be kind enough to bring a laptop. and if not tell me all about it.

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  • Ian Y.

    Maybe once construction is completed, i can make it out of downtown in time for a meeting again. The book was an enjoyable read though i had a couple of minor points. I don't see why he listed Ralph Nader as an ahole in running for the Presidency in 2000 and being a "spoiler". I don't remember anything about that being his intent. In any case, if Gore would've won his home state, Gore would have had the electoral votes to be elected President. I may have missed it, but i think "emergent behavior" combined with a positive feedback loop of aholes making the rules beneficial for aholes may be responsible for the rise in the number of aholes.

    September 3, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ian, we do miss you. You are one of the few that don't blame Nader , and neither do I. Hope to see you soon. Karen

      September 11, 2014

  • Paul

    Usually the Local History conference room in the middle of the building, but check the events screen as you come in for exact location.

    September 3, 2014

  • Kristina1023

    Hi. Do you reserve a meeting room in the library?

    September 3, 2014

  • Cliff

    Hope to make this one, but I'm iffy right now.

    September 1, 2014

  • Mike W.

    This should be a great discussion. I also thought the "Asshole Banker" or "Economic Asshole" as an especially interesting description/classification.

    I am a little concerned what passerby's at the library might think with us yelling "asshole" every couple minutes. So far we have avoided saying that out loud.

    August 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just started this book and am blown away....thought it would be one of those two hour not worth the time's profound and funny.
    Get yourself a copy.

    August 13, 2014

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