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 could not have been completed without the invaluable input and collaboration of Ian Orti, the author of The Olive and the Dawn and L: and things come apart. He can be found here. You want to go to there. He’s giving stuff away.
A quick review for those who have just joined the discussion (though if you weren’t such an Asshole, you’d click the links above and read the first two essays. But, whatever. Asshole.) Adam and Eve were in the garden, they were assholes, then some asshole started painting on cave walls and writing poems and dancing, then came the Renaissance, then Foucault birthed MFA programs, pulling all sorts of Assholes from their parents sweaty basements and into universities where their Assholeness was given a diploma.
So, where to now? Evolution is a scattered beast. Even Darwin will tell you that back in the day amoebae were popping out of the ocean and becoming monkeys all over the place. That’s why we have different races and animals. And Russians. While some breeds of Asshole were popping up in 14th century France, there were different species of Assholes pulling their DNA from apes all over the planet, and perhaps on Mars. Of particular note were well known Assholes such as the Kangaroo Island Emu, the Pallid Beach Mouse, the Stephens family of Crawfordville, Georgia, and the aforementioned Russians.
But when considering the Asshole, it’s important that we discuss Assholes that were evolving simultaneously around the world, not just in Russia. One of these species of Asshole, though showing origins in many different locales, became a prominent Asshole in the west, and in particular in the past half-century in the United States, Canada, and parts of Colombia. Its origins are muddled. Some in the scientific community believe the first evidence can be found in non-avian theropod dinosaurs. Other contend that it can be traced to dolphins, orcas, lions, the Harris Hawk, or perhaps crocodiles. All can agree that this species of Asshole is a pack hunter. I am speaking, of course, of Dudes.
Part III: Dudes
It’s very important that we are able to differentiate between a dude, or the dude, and Dudes. Separate the dude from the dudes, the wolf from the pack, the man from the men, the Jeff Lebowskis from the Jackie Treehorns. Intriguingly, they have very little in common besides etymology. A dude is your buddy who feely buys rounds of drinks, reads Yeats, and digs Uncle Tupelo. A dude is a girl friend who sets you up with her cool friend and tells you your poetry is boss. A dude takes you to the bar at two in the afternoon on a Tuesday because you need it. A dude abides. Dudes travel in packs and treat objects like women, man.
The first evidence of Dudes is likely in the first Asshole Adam and the serpent. It’s hard to know for sure. It’s pretty much universally understood that Dudes travel in at least packs of three. The Magi were certainly Dudes. Back-up singers. Blind mice. And of course are prominent in Arthurian legend.
King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table were Dudes, evidenced by their perpetuated and exaggerated existence through folklore. Also, they dug hanging out in a group, had their own clubhouse, and wore similar outfits. The Knights of the Round Table were the house league hockey team of its day, and participated in activities of Dudes such as homoerotic hazing, watching pornography as a group, and eating fried foods. King Arthur was their Alpha Male, and within most construct of Dudes, and Alpha Male can be found. And, it goes without saying but, Alpha Males are Assholes.
“Three Blind Mice” is the nursery rhyme of Dudes, and represents one of the first known gospels of Dudes. The rhyme’s inspiration was born of the reign of Queen Mary, and specifically her burning the Oxford martyrs at the stake for heresy. Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, were all Dudes. They were Dudes in that they were enablers, promoting and supporting the activity of Dudes such as philandering, divorce, Royal Supremacy, clerical celibacy, and incorrectly citing the Bible to make your point. These activities became the foundation for many contemporary elements of being Dudes.
Furthermore, the passing down from generation to generation of “Three Blind Mice” is a manifestation of the folklore nature of the Dudes, for Dudes require lineage and tradition as both an affirmation of their Asshole ways and a means of perpetuating the species. (This is why the modern Dudes can be found in frat houses, Boston Pizzas, and on hockey teams, but more on that below.) Consider:
Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?
The mice, traveling in threes as Dudes, need to be seen, and celebrated for simply being. “See how they run, see how they run,” is documentation of how Dudes need attention. Additionally, they’re after the farmer’s wife, because Dudes are philanderers. Fortunately, the farmer’s wife (read: Queen Mary) is a dude and takes care of business.