Tuesday, June 20, 2017

ARE YOU A JERK?

Are you a jerk? No, you say? How do you know? Not surprisingly, it is hard for you to tell if you are a jerk. Identifying others as jerks is a lot easier. To that end, jerk expert (hey, someone has to do it) Eric Schwitzgebel, a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, has created a five-question quiz for each of us to privately test our level of "jerkitude." We know a jerk when we see one. He's the guy who abruptly and rudely cuts you off in line, the teacher who casually humiliates her students and seems to take pleasure in it or the know-it-all co-worker who turns every staff meeting into a battle. But how do you define a jerk? It is "someone who culpably fails to appreciate the perspectives of others around him, treating them as tools to be manipulated or fools to be dealt with rather than as moral and epistemic peers," explains Schwitzgebel in academic terms. "The jerk faces special obstacles to self-knowledge of his moral character, partly because of his disregard of the opinions of people who could give him useful critical feedback."

Take the five-question official Jerk Quiz if you dare:

1. You're waiting in a line at the pharmacy. What are you thinking?
Did I forget anything on my shopping list?
Should I get ibuprofen or acetaminophen? I never can keep them straight.
Oh no, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to bump you.
These people are so damned incompetent! Why do I have to waste my time with these fools?


2. At the staff meeting, Peter says that your proposal probably won't work. You think:
Hmm...good point, but I bet I could fix that.
Oh, Loretta is smiling at Peter again. I guess she agrees with him and not me, darn it. But I still think my proposal is probably better than his.
Shoot, Peter's right. I should have thought of that!
Peter the big flaming ass. He's playing for the raise. And all the other idiots here are just eating it up!


3. You see a 30-year-old guy walking down the street with steampunk goggles, pink hair, dirty sneakers and badly applied red lipstick. You think:
Different strokes for different folks!
Hey, is that a new donut shop on the corner?
I wish I were that brave. I bet he knows how to have fun.
Get a job already. And at least learn how to apply the frickin' lipstick.


4. At a stop sign, a pedestrian is crossing slowly in front of your car. You think:
Wow, this tune on my radio has a fun little beat!
My boss will have my hide if I'm late again. Why did I hit snooze three times?
She looks like she's seen a few hard knocks. I bet she has a story or two to tell.
Can't this bozo walk any faster? What a lazy slob!


5. The server at the restaurant forgets that you ordered the hamburger with chili. There's the burger on the table before you, with no chili. You think:
Whatever. I'll get the chili next time. Fewer calories anyway.
Shoot, no chili. I really love chili on a burger! Argh, let's get this fixed. I'm hungry!
Wow, how crowded this place is. She looks totally slammed. I'll try catch her to fix the order next time she swings by.
You know, there's a reason that people like her are stuck in loser jobs like this. If I were running this place, I'd fire her so fast you'd hear the sonic boom two miles down the street.


How many times did you answer "d"?

0: Sorry, I don't believe you.
1-2: Yeah, fair enough. Same with the rest of us.
3-4: Ouch. Is this really how you see things most of the time? I hope you're just being too hard on yourself.
5: Yes, you are being too hard on yourself. Either that, or please step forward for the true-blue jerk gold medal.

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