September 2, 2010

On being a twat

In this paper, I shall show that the nature of being a twat, twathood, is a state of being that exists as a continuous property of an agent that manifests itself through certain behavioural characteristics to a lesser or greater degree by an agent (s). Invoking the sprit of Kant’s categorical imperative, I shall argue that, a priori, twathood is something that, by its nature exists in us all. Whilst this may be the case, I endeavour to offer some suggestions as to what may be done to limit the expressions of twathood in oneself and others based on collected empirical examples, and offer a sociological management solution, which utilises established social networks to mitigate against expressions of this state of being.

What is twat?

It is uncontroversial to assert that if one has, or takes the name ‘Piers’, they will have the characteristics of a twat, they will, in essence, be a twat. Clearly stated:

‘If his name is Piers, then he is a twat’.  The beauty lies in the inability to find either a logical riposte or an empirical counter example to disprove the assertion.

So how can we define and therefore identify twathood? What is its essence? Does it have a form? Can it exist without the person? Perhaps it is like colour. The yellowness of the flower exists in some way, but we cannot take the yellowness from the flower. We cannot divide the yellowness. The flower has the property of yellowness but it is not something we can quantify or extract. And yet we are acutely aware of the colour and its impact upon us. We may like yellow flowers or not, and we will have a reaction to it, even if it’s indifference. Of course the flower will die, and will decompose, and we say that the stem has rotted, the buds have withered and we may say that the flower has changed colour, but the property of ‘yellowness’ has not died.  We will see examples of ‘yellowness’ all around us in any number of other agents.

I argue that twathood has a similar form to colour. Colour is around us, it is a formless property, and yet it inhabits so ubiquitously the material world. Colour would not exist without a host on which to be, in the same way that twathood requires an agent to manifest itself.  And just like the flower, there is an impact on the witness. And curiously and overwhelmingly the reaction of other agents to twathood is one of dismissal and disdain. Or is it?

It’s easy to say, ‘Look at him, he is a twat’. And yet this agent is with others who display behaviour as though they are of some close relationship to this person. This leads, perhaps to the conclusion from the observer, that instead of seeing one twat, you are seeing a collection of twats. Put simply:

‘He is a twat. He is with other people who appear to be friends. Therefore they are all twats.

Does being with a twat necessarily imply twathood in that accompanying agent?

It’s a tempting argument. However, what if the observed agent is thinking the same thoughts? We could all then be twats. Of course one may then recoil to the argument that they are the better judge of such matters. And yet how so?  To make these judgments begins to sound like Plato’s philosopher Kings, passing judgment on the masses as they alone have the ability to witness the Platonic forms. This is not a satisfactory response in that it relies too heavily on the judgment of a person or a persons who themselves may well be twats. We must therefore consider the indicators on which we can make such assertions. We know already that anyone who is called Piers is a twat. But what else?

Consider a collection of characteristics from recent sample data (Woolley, D. Urban Sociological Perspectives – case study Broadway Market E9, 2nd edition, 2009):

  • Wearing hats at jaunty angles
  • Not listening to other people
  • Wearing sunglasses indoors
  • Being self obsessed
  • Up speak
  • A disregard for established social etiquettes e.g. round buying in public houses (UK), ‘necking scooners’ to order (Australia)

Whilst these indicators do not tell us a great deal about the nature of a ‘twat’, they do provide us with good examples of outward expressions of a beings’ latent state.

What then, can then be done to mitigate against us, and indeed others falling foul to ugly expressions such as those above?

In short, it is not easy but it must require an acceptance of the nature of twathood as a state of being that manifests itself to a lesser or greater deal through a range of identified behaviours. In essence, we are all twats. The challenge is to be aware of this fact and implement checks and measures against its dominance in the behaviour of the individual. Friends, families, guardians and close social networks can support this process on a day to day basis by making use of phrases such as ‘stop being a twat’ when certain twat like behaviours manifest themselves. This goes some way to helping the offender keep the disharmony to a minimum.

In this way, whilst we will never escape the fact that we all possess twat like elements, it is of crucial importance, with the help of trusted advisors, to make those changes. An agent avoiding twathood does well to be aware of the advisors that he chooses and of the key indicators, as these are the imperfect methods we have as a way of controlling a spiral into the black hole of twathood where these behavioural manifestations become majority behaviour traits as opposed to a minority.

Next: ‘The 21st Century Numpty’

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