(I’m still in “can’t be bothered” territory with blogging, so here’s another post from earlier in the year.)
People With Arsehole Syndrome Need To Be Understood, Not Judged
13 March 2011
If you read Michael Laws’ latest column in the Sunday Star Times today you may have concluded that Laws is a revolting human being. Brian Edwards has described Laws’ comments in that column as being “worthy of Joseph Mengele.”
I confess that I have expressed a lot of ill-will towards Mr Laws in a few of my own posts. And for that I wish to apologise.
In my defence, however, I didn’t realise until today that Michael Laws has a disorder that affects his brain, and makes him behave in a manner that “normal” people generally find uncomfortable.
Michael Laws has Arsehole Syndrome.
The most important thing to understand about people who have Arsehole Syndrome is that they do not experience the world as the rest of us do. Arseholes (as people with the syndrome are commonly called) can find it stressful and difficult to function in environments that most of us take for granted. The urge to abuse, demean and vilify can quickly become overwhelming for an Arsehole when they are put in an unfamiliar situation, especially if the people around them are not exactly like them and don’t subscribe to their narrow range of beliefs.
It is true that an Arsehole will usually understand the difference between right and wrong. But the wiring of an Arsehole’s brain isn’t like your own. Arseholes are compelled to repeat behaviours that the rest of us find bizarre or even disgusting.
That is why Arseholes come across as socially stunted and unlikeable.
It is notoriously difficult to diagnose the syndrome. I suspect this is why Laws’ compulsion to put the boot into anyone who can’t defend themselves was misdiagnosed for so long. Most people who read or hear a Laws diatribe aimed at Maori, solo mothers or the disabled will just assume they are dealing with a gutless coward.
Arseholes almost always have terrible trouble when they try to enter the workforce. To those unaware of the syndrome, the behaviour of an Arsehole can seem loathsome and offensive. Arseholes have particular difficulties with understanding the nuances of social intercourse. The reaction of an Arsehole when put into any environment they are unfamiliar with can be difficult for their co-workers to make sense of. When confronted with uncertainty, an Arsehole will spew obscene hatred at anyone and anything. An Arsehole will continue with a rant long after the other person has lost interest in the topic.
That is why most Arseholes try to avoid social interaction, preferring instead to write columns for Sunday newspapers.
But there is a place where Arseholes can feel safe, and where people with the disorder can communicate and have their opinions validated. The medium of talkback radio is enormously important for many Arseholes, because it allows them to feel as if their lives have some meaning. Denouncing people of other ethnicities and the disabled, and people who are different, is an well-recognised therapy for Arseholes.
That is why we need to cut Michael Laws some slack. He can’t help the way he is. You may be sick of reading or hearing what he thinks about people who dare to be different to him, but he’s an Arsehole. What else can you expect?