What Makes A Fuckhead?

by David R. Kendrick

Ever since the dawn of time, Humankind has been divided into two camps: Those who were welcome in the camps, and those who weren't. Stanley Kubrick's film classic 2001: A Space Odyssey best depicts this early schism in human ancestors: At the side of the communal water stream, the social apes whacked the antisocial apes over the heads with bones.

Over time, religious tradition, social science, and human evolution have recognized the basic division of mankind into social and antisocial camps. The antisocial have been shunned, excommunicated, pressed into exile, and even hunted as the social group has forced the antisocial from its camps, cities, and homes.

With the advent of the Internet as a force in popular culture, this schism has not only survived, but become stronger and more readily acknowledged. In the new Information Age, the antisocial face new pressures, such as flaming, Usenet death penalties, and being netcopped, and they even have a new name.

They are called Fuckheads.

But what makes a person a Fuckhead? You cannot tell a fuckhead just by looking at the e-mail address, or the Web site, or even by the newsgroups the individual frequents. A fuckhead is a person who, through the pattern of repeated behaviour when dealing with other Netizens in IRC and Usenet, demonstrates certain characteristics and a repeated inability or unwillingness to change or modify his/her behavior to conform to the social code of conduct called "netiquette."

These are the characteristics that make the Fuckhead:

A Fuckhead Must Have An Exaggerated Sense of His/Her Own Importance

The Internet fuckhead will come to the table insuperably convinced of his/her own correctness and of his/her immediacy in any debate or discussion. For example, the non-fuckhead will join a discussion cautiously, reading over the prior correspondance and offering an opinion thoughtfully. The fuckhead will come plowing in without regard to the established parameters of the debate and without regard to the existing participants.

The fuckhead, when challenged, will then state some fantastic-sounding credentials to justify and bolster the strong opinion. When challenged further, the fuckhead will usually display anger and refuse to further substantiate the presented credentials, some sort of "I already said so, and that should be good enough for you!"

At this point the Fuckhead has demonstrated an exaggerated sense of his/her own importance: He has presented an overriding opinion which, in the fuckhead's mind, should be definitive and cease all debate, and the fuckhead will be unable to understand why the other Netizens will not accept his/her opinion on sight.

A Fuckhead Must Refuse to Abide By Common Social Rules

One of the most common traits of the on-line Fuckhead is the absolute refusal to follow common social rules. For example, the fuckhead will use racist or sexist terms, will use inappropriate references to bodily functions, or will otherwise not respect the rules of society.

Fuckheads will frequently use a persecution defense when they are asked to cease their antisocial behavior. They may claim that they are being singled out because of their unpopular viewpoints, or that they are victimized by the nebulous "political correctness" movement. These claims attempt to avoid the obvious cause of the challenge, which is the antisocial behavior itself, by demonizing the reaction to the behavior.

The Fuckhead's refusal to abide by common social rules is therefore manifested. In the early chapters of history, such refusal to abide by the rules of the group would lead one to be unwelcome by the fire, or to be tarred and feathered. Now, though, it is just one more characteristic in the profile of the Fuckhead.

A Fuckhead Must Never Back Down When Caught In A Lie

It is so easy to obtain all sorts of facts on the modern Information Superhighway that it is hard to imagine anyone attempting to lie, simply because it is so easy to get caught in a lie and therefore have your credence demolished. That does not stop the on-line Fuckhead.

The on-line Fuckhead will lie about where he/she is, what he/she does, who he/she is, and what he/she knows. For example, a Fuckhead will claim to be an attorney, even though there are several on-line directories of attorneys which do not include the Fuckhead. A Fuckhead will claim to be in a certain geographic location but not be able to provide details such as the street on which he/she is located, yet the Internet provides many detailed maps and guidebooks and even services which tell you how to drive from your location to any address.

Yet this abundance of proof and truth does not deter the Fuckhead trait of mendacity. "I never said that," claims the Usenet fuckhead, yet the Usenet archive can give you chapter, verse, and message ID. And, as befits the Fuckhead, when you challenge the Fuckhead and prove that the Fuckhead has lied, the Fuckhead will usually respond with a completely irrelevant ad-hominem attack. Such is the way of the Fuckhead.

A Fuckhead Must Keep Coming Back Without Mending His/Her Ways

"Don't you ever learn?" This question is one of the most frequently asked of wayward children or oft-injured adults. But when asked of the Fuckhead, the answer is always, "No." The Fuckhead does not learn.

"Why must you come where you're not wanted?" This question has been asked of the socially deviant and challenged since the dawn of time. Yet the Fuckhead will keep coming back, over and over again.

The Fuckhead will defend his or her inflexibility by saying, "I have every right to my opinion," and "I have every right to participate in this discussion." And, in the egalitarian world of IRC and Usenet, the Fuckhead is correct. But the Fuckhead will find that other participants, who do not appreciate the Fuckhead's presence or contributions, will make use of tools such as "Ignore" commands or killfiles. These tools would not exist if it weren't for the Fuckheads.

You can count on the Fuckhead to shriek "Censorship!" when you tune out their input. You can count on the Fuckhead saying rude things about you when he/she is sure you're no longer listening. But it will never occur to the Fuckhead to approach topics and people differently, and never, ever occur to the Fuckhead to avoid venues where the atmosphere is unfriendly. This inability to exit gracefully is a distinguishing mark of a Fuckhead.

A Fuckhead Will Change His/Her Beliefs To Suit The Situation

Fuckheads are dedicated to one cause, furtherance of self; and they are committed to only one opinion, superiority of self. All other causes and opinions are secondary to the Fuckhead. The non-Fuckhead may change his/her opinions from time to time, or support or abandon causes throughout life, these changes usually come about when new information is learned, or when circumstances change. The Fuckhead, however, changes opinions and causes as readily as a non-Fuckhead might change shirts.

A good example of this change of opinion was shown by a notorious net Fuckhead in relation to a specific issue. Originally, the Fuckhead held that unsolicited commercial e-mail was evil and a nuisance. The Fuckhead put himself on the record as holding that opinion on more than one occasion. However, when the Fuckhead and his Web site were dismissed from one ISP after another for rules violations, the only ISP left over which would host the Fuckhead's Web page was a widely-reviled purveyor of unsolicited commercial e-mail. The Fuckhead then, as circumstances dictated, reversed his opinion on UCE and became a booster of that method of advertisement.

Fuckheads change friends as needs dictate, aligning themselves with and against other Fuckheads seemingly without regard to history or common sense. In fact, it is not uncommon for Fuckheads to be at war in one Usenet newsgroup and aligned in another. Rational people may agree to disagree, but the Fuckhead's limited focus and lack of loyalty allow the Fuckhead to fight with friends and agree with foes so readily that there is almost no distinction between the two. But this changeability makes the individual an unworthy foe and an untrustworthy ally -- and hence, a Fuckhead.

What Makes a Fuckhead?

The Fuckhead may display all of these characteristics, or some of them, or only one. Some may love a Fuckhead like a brother, some may think their brother is a Fuckhead. What is incontrovertible is that for all of humanity, there are people that you would rather not have to deal with, and those people, throughout history, are the Fuckheads.

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