21st Century Jerks

Webster-Merriam defines “jerk” (the personality-type) as:
a) an annoyingly stupid or foolish person (eg, “was acting like a jerk”), or
b) an unlikable person, esp. one who is cruel, rude, or small-minded

But, look at the second definition. It is based on a social norm (“unlikable”). So, if, in the first place, the group norm is that of being cruel, rude, or small-minded, then what?

In that case, it seems to me that the folks who are actually acting polite or professional or compassionate would then be considered the ‘jerks’!

Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem,
first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”
― William Gibson (Author)

So, I don’t know, can we think of any contemporary movements—say, political in nature, for example—where the social norm is “cruel, rude, or small-minded”? What about geographic areas?

I can certainly hearken back to my 7 years in Kentucky. Here are some Randy Newman lyrics that sum that up pretty well.

Turpentine and dandelion wine
I’ve turned the corner and I’m doin’ fine
Shootin’ at the birds on the telephone line
Pickin’ em off with this gun of mine
I got a fire in my belly
And a fire in my head
Goin’ higher and higher
Until I’m dead

Sister Sue, she’s short and stout
She didn’t grow up – she grew out
Mama says she’s plain but she’s just bein’ kind
Papa thinks she’s pretty but he’s almost blind
Don’t let her out much ‘cept at night
But I don’t care ’cause I’m all right

Oh, the sun shines bright on
My Old Kentucky Home
And the young folks roll on the floor
Oh, the sun shines bright on
My Old Kentucky Home
Keep them hard times away from my door

Brother Gene, he’s big and mean
And he don’t have much to say
He had a little woman who he whupped each day
But now she’s gone away
He got drunk last night
Kicked mama down the stairs
But I’m all right so I don’t care

“Old Kentucky Home” (1970), by Randy Newman

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