Everyday Activist - Assholes: A Theory

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 06:00 PM

Assholes: A Theory

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Luckily, this is a documentary film blog, otherwise the title may suggest a myriad of issues from Premier  Kenny's latest budget to dealing with insurance companies. Nothing more asshole-like than privileged politicians, making well over $100,000, saving money by not keeping up with inflation for Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) recipients, who only receive $1,600 per month. I digress. This NFB and Documentary Channel film is based on a book by associate philosophy professor, Aaron James, written in 2012.

Director John Walker begins to interview people, including Dr. James, gathering their collective opinions about assholes. James defines assholes as those that allow themselves special advantages in co-operative life out of an entrenched sense of entitlement. The young men find that being an asshole awards them more attention, because they appear more confident than others. In speaking to older men, the consensus is that assholes are actually unhappy people as they don’t know how to interact with others in a healthy way.

Then Walker examines the unhealthy effects assholes have on society, inclusive of the bullying within the Canadian institution of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk ended up leaving the force and writing a book about her mistreatment during her time as an officer, because she followed her conscience (and the law) rather than cover up for a fellow police officer. A former Marine talks about how disturbing fraternity life was, allowing men to objectify and possibly harm women. Because the book was written before Trump came to power, Italy’s Berlusconi’s asshole behavior was profiled instead.

Providing some light at the end of the tunnel, Walker also reveals the effects of standing up to assholes. My favorite example is of a financial company in the US that works together to support each other and their clients. When they hire people, they ask the receptionist about the person’s manners. The results were that even as their competitors laid off many people and lost clients during the 2008 financial crisis, they had developed such a level of trust that they were able to weather the storm. Across the pond, in Europe, Vladimir Luxuria had people bullying her throughout her life. As luck would have it, a reality television show in Italy, Le lene, allows people to confront their cyber bullies in person. Luxuria conversed with a prominent cyber hater only to end up feeling sorry for him, affirming that assholes are unhappy.

The film contained so much more great information that it took me a while to pick my highlights. Assholes: A Theory was at the Calgary International Film Festival 2019. If you missed it there, then you can catch at the Calgary Public Library in the Patricia Whelan Center on November 12th, 2019 for free as part of the 14th Marda Loop Justice Film Festival 2019. And since you’re at the library anyway, it might be worthwhile to check out the book too!

Calgary Showtimes: Assholes: A Theory >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.