“My autobiography is more the stuff of pamphlets than of memoirs.” – T. J Kirk, The Douchebag Bible
The Douchebag Bible is a compilation of three books by TJ Kirk (The Amazing Atheist), a fat guy with a YouTube channel with a little bit more than a million subscribers that in my own opinion makes mostly trashy content these days but occasionally manages to struck a cord with me. One of his good videos for example would be this Dennis Pager's argument that murder would not be wrong in an atheist world.
The Douchebag Bible lives up to the first half of its title. It’s far too short for a bible, and its title seems to leach on the popularity of the bible but aside from my gripes about its length and its title it’s a fine little book. And I appreciate the juxtaposition, or I should say convergence of ‘douchebag’ and ‘bible.’
I think that the Amazing Atheist is a better writer than a speaker. I find most of his videos where he is rambling seemingly without a script or that much editing to be boring, although I do briefly glance at his choice for “Butt of the day” I find them far less interesting nor do I watch his podcast. And this shows from the second book onwards, the first is quite crude as he himself describes in retrospect in the short introduction but it’s also the most amusing in my opinion.
In the conclusion to the book he takes on George Carlin’s line that we might as well enjoy the show that is humanity and amuse ourselves having realized that we cannot really affect events and that we may as well not tie our personal well-being to them. I myself feel very conflicted about this, on the one hand the only hope that we have to effect events is that we live our lives ‘as if’ it mattered what our opinions were about them, but it would also mean subjecting ourselves to a constant sense of cognitive dissonance, stress resulting from overestimating out own importance. I will concede that it is unhealthy to tie our personal well-being to things we cannot change often times when these things do not have an immediate bearing on us. As TJ points out our immediate surroundings, our lives, are what ought to matter to us the most. However the very opposite view is also wrong, that it doesn’t matter at all what our individual views are because we are individually insignificant, TJ himself indirectly reveals this when he tries to end the book on a positive note by citing the need for better education in America and claiming that if this were fulfilled then things would get substantially better. It has been made abundantly clear from his recent video that TJ has decided to settle to being a paid jester, which is fine, though personally, I think it is a waste.
Some of it is nothing I haven’t heard before, for example about how using complicated words can make someone look smarter, a dubious claim I heard been thrown around too often, if what someone says is empty then it will be too obvious to appear to be smart though I cannot recommend academics more not to use jargon unless necessary, however the point seems to be directed more at the working class, an attempt at forcing the working class to speak a certain way, I am not accusing TJ of this as I doubt he has thought about it too much and merely assumed it to be true, but those who insist on a more limited vocabulary often do so because their identity feels threatened by those who that by attempting to speak in an articulate manner and by trying to be more well-read cease to be like them signalling to them that it is preferable not to be like them and thus the insults of being ‘pretentious’ and pretending to be smart are used to enforce to hold everyone in line. TJ himself, in this same book complains about badly spelt comments by his fans (and opponents) and voicing his disappointment about such stupid people watching and liking his videos
The book lives up to the title because it is clear that its author is an unrepentant douchebag.
It’s a rather short book for a bible.
I am also not convinced by some of his arguments, for example his ‘fallacy of fallacies’ by which he claims that all disagreements once all fallacies are removed are disagreements for the sake of disagreements. Though I like the term ‘fallacy of fallacies’ I would rather use it to describe those instances in an argument when people will bring up ‘fallacy X’ or ‘fallacy Y’ when it is really irrelevant to the argument to be had and serves nothing more than to derail the conversation once those who use it realize that they are running out of good points assuming they have any.
I would hesitate to call his attitude defeatist as some will just say that it is realist and so on.. but I know that he was wrong when he claimed that he has never being able to change anyone’s mind about anything no matter how much he argued with them because he was one of those who helped to change as well as shape my opinion about Christianity, Islam and the United States.
Another point he made I would disagree with, even though I too want there to be a British republic instead of a monarchy, is his uninformed attitude towards the British monarchy as a waste of tax-payer money (on a purely materialistic basis it brings more in) and as a powerless puppet for the masses to worship. I won’t deny that the queen does also serve the purpose of a palatable human being to be worshipped, fortunately it is impossible for most British people(excluding the British media) to respect prime ministers the way that Americans respect their presidents and so the monarchy is sustained by populism but not populism alone, it is not powerless (though I will not go into that in this review, anyone who is interested can use wikipedia). Of course I will agree with TJ on the principle that the ruling class should not be an aristocracy, and of course pointing out that the United States has failed to achieve this does not invalidate the principle of any one being able to hold any position in office provided that they are capable of it and are a citizen. It feels as though TJ hasn’t done that much research about the actual situation on the ground but only speaks out of it in terms of his principles just as he in effect criticizes Libertarians for their blind adherence to their absolute principles and inflexibility whatever the reality on the ground may be. Of course this is a tricky subject and I am sure he would say that on certain things he is not willing to give any ground and that’s fair, I don’t want there to be a British monarchy either but I would caution him in dismissing those in favour of it off-handedly. I should warn you that he says very little about Britain, such as making a couple of un-witty jokes about British teeth but Britain is one of my areas of interest, thus this paragraph.
TJ also claims that since he cannot believe in himself, he believes in facts, for instance the example he gives is that instead of listening to anyone’s diet advice, he follows the simple the scientific principle that by in-taking less calories by forgoing some things he would otherwise eat, this is all fine and well, but the facts are often unavailable and that is where the need to trust ourselves and in others comes.