A good way of differentiating between assholes and decent people is their use of their life experience – whilst decent folks, after going through a string of successes but also failures, tend to become more tempered and humble, assholes who manage to improve their condition develop an arrogance which escalates into bigotry.
Despising those who live in poverty after having risen out of it yourself is generally frowned upon, and for good reason. The same principle applies to any disadvantage one can think of, from lacking resources to being duped by a political ideology out of naivety.
In other words, the I used to be you and now I’m much better mentality.
In my view, a decent person is likely to regard anyone in their previous situation with more understanding and compassion, as they have an insight into where the person is at that point in time, in that particular aspect of their life. An asshole, on the other hand, will gloat, claiming the other is weak and should just follow their example in order to get out of their pathetic state (which might only be that bad in the eye of the beholder).
Recently, I stumbled upon a blog post which got me thinking about the times we live in.
Having been fat himself in the past, a blogger took the time to observe an unknown woman’s food preferences in public, to then shame her on the internet. Appalled by the overweight stranger he spotted in a restaurant, he took note of what she and her friends were eating, later writing he regretted his camera hadn’t been up to the job, to capture the food on the table, apparently enough for an entire battalion. By sheer coincidence, the next day he spotted her again on the subway, showing photos of her night out to a friend (including of what she’d stuffed her face with, which was noted by our amateur detective as incriminating evidence).
He then followed her around; to his outrage, the bitch decided to get a sandwich (which was to be used as further proof of her unbelievable depravity). He then proceeded to photograph her in the street, as she was casually walking with her mates, unaware of being stalked or the public embarrassment this gentleman was preparing. It’s beside the point to mention she was only a bit bigger than average, which wouldn’t have warranted the words he wrote there.
The psychological aspect is truly disturbing. Focusing his attention on a complete stranger who was enjoying a night out, scrutinising her, following and photographing her with the precise intention of online shaming. He even mentions “I managed to get a picture when…” which means he was bent on doing this; it wasn’t just a spur-of-the-moment idea. Because, in his own words, he’s obsessed with overweight people due to his past, which apparently gives him the right to use innocent, unsuspecting folks in such ways in order to feel better about his achievement.
For some, I guess the hatred of their former selves is enough for them to project it onto everyone else, joining the ranks of bullies, and proudly so. Some people do it on a lower scale; I’ve seen formerly fat people tease others with the pretext of being well-meaning. I’ve even seen them lash out at others on this subject. But this is just too much; the entitlement is baffling.
It’s comparable to the SJW mentality of wanting every individual to perfectly fit into the mould they have designed, or else (the “else” being scorn and vitriol by the bucket). Although this guy is definitely anti-SJW, the drive is the same – an unhealthy obsession with negative feelings, past or present, whether they were caused by others or not, which generates universal mandates for them to formulate and spread with evangelical devotion.
To be honest, I don’t think these people are in a good place with their self-esteem, or they wouldn’t feel the need to do this.
This drive seems so deeply rooted it overshadows any concerns of inappropriateness, of behaviour that borders on illegal (in this case, chasing strangers to take their picture) or the lack of positive consequences their actions are likely to have.