Introduction & Part I: Adam & Eve Were the First Assholes can be found here.
Part II: Portrait of the Asshole as a Young Artist can be found here.
Part III: Dudes (with thanks to Ian Orti) can be found here.
Many of you have written and asked what it is that makes me such an expert on Assholes. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that I am an Asshole, and that the whole series is some sort of therapeutic exercise designed to relieve guilt, I suppose making me a Self-Loathing Asshole. To those people, I say: “Thanks for your care packages and angry notes. A signed copy of Distillery Songs is in the mail.”
I don’t have a degree in Asshole, but I do have an MA in English Literature and I apprenticed under an Asshole for many many many years, so until DeVry starts handing out certificates in Asshole Studies, I’m as close as you’re going to get. So in the meantime, please find below the next step in the Evolution of the Asshole, which journeys from the Big Bang to the Apostles to Jonathan Franzen: The Egotistical Asshole.
Part IV: The Egotistical Asshole
The Egotistical Asshole has been around as long as life itself. I’m sure that right after the Big Bang, our universe was having beers with the other universes and was all, “See how big I banged there? I bang that big every time I create life,” and some other universe was all, “Oh, I was banging that big centuries ago. I’ll probably bang bigger next week,” and some other universe still was all, “I know God. We play backgammon on Thursdays.” Whatever.
It may seem at first that the idea of multiple universes is out of synch with my biblical lineage model for the discussion of the evolution of the Asshole, but not so. Bishop Étienne Tempier of Paris ruled in 1277 that God could create many universes, and in doing so overturned Aristotle’s teachings on the notion of multiple worlds. That’s some Egotistical Asshole business right there, calling bullshit on Aristotélēs.
But where do we find the first Egotistical Asshole? As with previous parts of this discussion we look to the Bible, and as with previous arguments the easy choice would be to say that Jesus was the Egotistical Asshole. It would be a reasonable assumption, given that he embodies all of the elements of the Egotistical Asshole: vanity, narcissism, open toed footwear.
But the first Egotistical Asshole was not Jesus, but rather his three buddies in the back of the crowd whispering, “Fuck that. I mean, anyone can preach. I can preach. I know all this shit. I own a robe. I own sandals. I actually told him all this shit. I wrote half of this preach yesterday while we were drinking this wine that J made.” The three were, of course, the Apostles Peter, James, and John, who along with Jesus were the cool kids back in the Golden Age of new Christianity. The four were inseparable, an entourage before anyone even had entourages. They were the perfect quartet, the ideal number for a game of euchre, good young boys rocking Jerusalem out with their cocks out. Their parents were proud (well, maybe not Joseph so much.) When the four of them went to parties, they always snuck into a backroom to drink the good wine, not the horse piss vinegar that Jesus made from water. Then, we all know that happened: