Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's in D-Bag

At a new online journal called Wag's Revue, a piece that traces the etymology of douchebag and opposes it to hipster. It turns out to be a pretty thoughtful and nuanced essay. Here the author, Robert Moor, who begins by acknowledging that he himself has on occasion been judged a douchebag, thinks about the term in relation to The Office:

Though television is chockablock with douchebags and people calling each other douchebags, and thus is a ripe hunting ground for examples, the douchebag posture is for me perhaps best typified by Andy Bernard (as played by Ed Helms) from the NBC version of The Office. You can read him from his smirk—that unique mixture of unflinching entitlement, measured success, and undue sense of self-worth. When he opens his mouth, his words only confirm what his posture telegraphed. "I went to Cornell. Ever heard of it? Yeah, I graduated in four years..."

But that's just me. Someone else might say that Ryan is the biggest douchebag on the The Office, while someone else might say it's Michael. (The show, it turns out, is positively rife with douches.) Part of what makes the show so successful is that each character represents a different facet (indeed, archetype) of the mainstream—the preppy mediocrity, the arrogant 20-something, the desperate corporate clown—which correlate to figures in our lives. As to which of those people you perceive as a douchebag, well, that depends on who you are. A true hipster might look at The Office and declare that they are all douchebags, none more than Jim, because he alone had the potential to be something else. 

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