Sunday, September 21, 2008

Are you, or have you ever been, a douchebag?

Everyone knows one. Some of you may even be one. A douchebag. A douchebag is a guy who, well, you know, is a douchebag. Sort of hard to put into words. You sort of know one when you see one. Well, stop wondering. The b (a free tabloid put out by the Baltimore Sun) is here to aid you. They researched the topic well beyond anyone's expectations and have come up with in-depth article titled "Anatomy of a douchebag."
    The b offers examples of "entry-level douchebag," which includes:
  • You’ve officially dubbed your friends “my boys.”
  • You name your dog after a character from “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
  • Polo shirts are two times too small.
  • Celeb soul mates: Wilmer Valderrama; Keith Olbermann; Colin Farrell; Brody Jenner; Mario Lopez

    The b offers examples of Mid-grade Douchebag
  • Tattoos include a bald eagle, Chinese characters you can’t translate.
  • You wear sunglasses indoors
  • Two words: trucker hat.
  • Celeb soul mates: Carlos Mencia; John Mayer; Matthew McConaughey; Ty Pennington; Ashton Kutcher

    The b offers examples of the Extreme Douchebag
  • You have a Bluetooth headset. When people look at you inquisitively as you talk to yourself, you point quickly to the headset and mouth, “I’m on the phone.”
  • You use the word gay in a derogatory sense — after doing a workout with your heterosexual life mate.
  • Celeb soul mates: Spencer Pratt; Dane Cook; Donald Trump; Ryan Seacrest; Adam Levine; Criss Angel; Nick Lachey
For the full list, check out The b. So, in review, odds are great that you know a douchebag who identifies with Keith Olbermann, has a tattoo with Chinese characters and uses a Bluetooth headset.

Now this all leads to another story. Was it right for the Baltimore Sun's publication (The b) to use the word "douchebag" in a headline? The b's editor (Anne Tallent) wrote a memo defending the use of the word douchebag, which she describes as meaning " a particularly lame type of guy." Part of her defense included:
    The conclusion that our readers find the term commonplace is borne out by the feedback we've gotten outside the Sun newsroom -- complimentary/amused. b's readers aren't contesting the appropriateness of the term in general, but rather, "Does it apply to Dane Cook fans? Yankees lovers? Bluetooth users?" The term is part of their media diet: Gawker has a douchebag hall of fame; sites such as, and let users identify and/or rate douchebags; Details magazine quizzes readers on douchebag tendencies.
Uh, she forgot to mention Deadspin, The Big Lead and many, many more bloggers. And, to make matters worse, Tallent ends here memo with the words "Cheers, Anne." Now, if she were a guy, using the word "Cheers" would make her a douchebag.

John McIntyre, an affiliate faculty member at Loyola College of Maryland, responded with the following:
    I asked my copy-editing class today about douchebag, with these results: They gasped and snickered; they know the origin of the term as well as its contemporary use; they would not have used the word in a headline. Not a significant sampling, I concede, and it’s possible that they were telling me what they imagined I wanted to hear. But still.

    I don’t think that we have got quite so far beyond shock as Ms. Tallent thinks.
So what does all this mean? Well, one could say if you weren't offended by the use of the word douchebag, then maybe you are one. Or maybe you're one if you were offended. Or maybe everyone has a little bit of douchebag in them. The latter is probably the most true.

1 comment:

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