Last week we wrote about Larry Summers calling the rowing brothers assholes. His remarks were pretty funny, actually. Now they’re fighting back, which I’m sure surprises no one, by releasing a statement directed toward the current president of Harvard. This behavior makes me feel that asshole is the wrong word for the twins. I think they’re more like douchebags.
If you consult Urban Dictionary, as I so often do, you’ll notice that “asshole” carries with it a connotation of arrogance and self-importance—but sometimes the arrogance is actually merited. An asshole can be cool. No. 5 definition of asshole: “An obnoxious, arrogant, self-centered male who women can’t seem to get enough of.” Much as we’d like to deny it, assholes can be attractive, smart and compelling. Not so with douchebags.
Douchebags are losers. They’re whiny, embarrassing sad sacks who try to be cool but can’t be because they’re too douchey. They’re often behind the times in terms of fashion and pop culture. They’re cringe-worthy. They don’t have the finesse to be assholes, nor the personal power. They’re pathetic.
In my mind, it’s the difference between Christian Bale and Tom Cruise.
Perhaps when Larry Summers met the Winklevii, they were assholes. But with each subsequent legal action and public statement, they have descended lower and lower into what Dante called the Seven Circles of Douchebagdom. (Joe Dante, that is. He lives in South Philly and posts on Rants and Raves.)
Today’s best headline about the douchebag twins comes from IT World’s Chris Nerney: “Winklevii bring a thesaurus to a knife fight.” For a full explication of the letter the twins wrote in response to Summers, check out Nerney’s post, in which he says they’ve “act[ed] like prissy dorks. No wonder Mark Zuckerberg walked all over them.”
They really need to disappear if they want to cling to any measure of dignity at this point. That wouldn’t be hard; they’re Olympic athletes. But they’re acting like pissy Tonya Hardings. Their latest suit against Facebook was dismissed last week by yet another judge who was probably wondering why in the hell these douchebags were in his courtroom in the first place.