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2009: Year of the Douchebag

Tiger Woods. Joe Lieberman. Kanye West. Balloon Boy’s Father. Timothy Geitner. There are more douche bags that stood out this year than can possibly be named in one blog post.

Months before Kanye West douched up the VMAs, well before “You lie,” was shouted at the President from the Congress, and even prior to Serena Williams offering to orally apply tennis balls into a line judge, douche-baggery has been sweeping the nation. From tea-baggers and birthers to Glenn Beck and beyond, 2009 has been the year of the douche bag.

Colorado gained national attention when a douche father pretended his son was in jeopardy to get some TV time. Douchetastic Joe Jackson talked about how much more money his son Michael was worth dead than alive. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart questioned which World Series Baseball teams had the douchiest fans.

Indeed, Douche-baggery has been celebrated on high all year long. Here in Colorado, our lottery people aired a commercial featuring a Broncos fan being bullied out of his seat at Investco Field by three douchebags. The fan relocates to the very back of the stadium, where he wins a prize and immediately begins acting like a douche bag himself. He doesn’t look genuinely happy, ecstatic, or even relieved that things worked out in his favor. He begins flaunting it and dancing like a fool. It turns out that every character in the commercial is an asshole. We are shown by our State lottery that douche-baggery is rewarded, either with better seats or cash prizes. That was the lesson of 2009. Ask not what you can do for others, but what acting like a d-bag can do for you.

The year began with a financial meltdown caused by the douche bags on Wall Street. Their selfish, immoral, brash practices brought our country and much of the world to near economic collapse. Were they called out for being d-bags? No. They were rewarded with a multi-billion dollar bailout. We reward bad behavior in our society, especially those who practice douche-baggery.

It’s a phenomenon that’s invading every aspect of modern life. The douche bag is rising. No matter what culture or clique, the douche bag is everywhere these days. Who among us hasn’t been enjoying something, somewhere and had it completely ruined by a complete douche bag. Most of us have even acted like a douche bag at some time. It is after all, the new American way.

Maybe I’m being a douche for bringing this up. Possibly I’m bitter. In 2009 I was denied a job because I “wasn’t cocky enough.” I also worked for an organization that cut 25% of staff due to recession, somehow keeping all the most ineffective, horrible people. This all made me realize that in our troubled economy, it’s the douche bags who are getting all the work.

Some of you unfamiliar with the vernacular may be wondering what exactly being a douche bag means. Clearly I’m not referencing the debatable technique of rinsing one’s vagina with vinegar and water. The lexicon speaks of someone who is an asshole, so much so that it’s become their way of life. They take so much pride in being a jerk that they don’t even know that they’re being one anymore. They think they’re being cool.

And ladies, this national tragedy of douche-baggery is YOUR fault. You’ve dated them for years and started the reward system that has bred this new army of D-bags. That reward system has grown leaps and bounds in recent years. Until you women started dating them, and giving them worth, the only reward for being a douche was an occasional venereal disease. Now douche bags are rewarded on a much greater scale. Douche bags are no longer just dating skanks, selling used cars, and living off of trust-funds. Douche bags get the best women, the best careers and make the most money.

Barack Obama took the Whitehouse partially by calling health insurance companies out on their douche-baggery, and saying that he would set out to fix their behavior. But once Congress, the body of government supposedly based on a representation of our populace and culture got involved in writing a bill, it became a reward system for the douche insurance companies. In exchange for a little regulation, their customer base was expanded. Once again, Congress rewarded douche bags with billions of dollars, just like the financial bail-out.

Senator Joe Lieberman is currently celebrating the power he has as a douche bag, reversing positions he held just 3 weeks ago for the sake of delaying progress in Congress. With great douchiness comes shunning great responsibility.

When Serena Williams threatened a line judge, critics compared her to John MacEnroe, never once reminding the public that he was well regarded as a douchebag, only that he was one of tennis’s greats. When Joe Wilson shouted, “You lie,” to interrupt the President’s address to both houses of Congress, he was rewarded with millions of dollars of new campaign funds. When Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift at the MTV awards show, he was rewarded with a special appearance on the new Jay Leno Show, and a higher profile for his upcoming tour with JZ. After televising what a douche John Gosslin could be, he was rewarded by dates with models, getting paid to party at certain clubs across the country, and endless attention in the media. After it was revealed that Tiger Woods wasn’t only cheating on his wife, but cheating on his many mistresses too, he was named greatest athlete of the decade by many publications.

There was no better local display of douche-baggery than this year’s Monolith Festival at Red Rocks. It was Colorado’s own perfect douche storm. Even the weather acted like a douche. An MC insulted the audience from one of the stages. Red Rocks staff yelled at little girls, making them cry, before pushing them outside into the cold, pouring rain. Method Man and Red Man fans blew blunt smoke directly into the faces of strangers. Young hipsters treated the natural wonder amphitheater as if it were their own personal garbage can. The festival seemingly celebrated self-centeredness more than music.

Last month, I was on the 16th Street Mall in LoDo. “No wonder you’re homeless. It’s because you’re an asshole,” is what one douche bag decided to yell at the gentleman selling newspapers to benefit the homeless. He was rewarded for his unsolicited d-baggery with a round of laughter from some nearby police officers who were observing. Great, some of the douche bags have guns.

How do you identify a douche? There are many types of douche bags, and some blend in with regular culture more easily than others. Some cliques of people identify people who are different that them as douche bags. While yuppies and hipsters are calling each other douche bags, in truth, there’s not just one type of douche.

There are certain traits which are universal amongst douche bags. Not all douche bags exhibit all of these traits, but if someone exhibits them, they may be a douche. There are traditional douche bags, who go for the stereotype with great effort. Going shirtless where it isn’t appropriate to go shirtless is universally the largest identifying trait of a standard-issue douche bag. Other traits include, chewing gum with your mouth open, popping your collar up in an un-ironic way, and oversized white sunglasses.

Making fun of strangers in public is a clearly douchey way to act in public. The guy who’s always texting or talking on his phone, especially when it’s rude to do so, say while holding up the line at a coffee shop is a douche. The jerk who berates his girlfriend, loudly and in public is a giant douche. The dude who dresses like a preppie from a John Hughes movie in 2009 is likely a douche. The asshole who grabs strange girls in dance clubs and basically molests them is a douche. The bootie dance is a form of this, people. The loud talker in the quiet place is acting douche. The overly drunk person who thinks they’re the life of the party while everyone else is giving them a dirty look is a douche bag. Bad tippers are douches, especially the demanding customer variety. There are many, many ways to be a douche bag.

The online resource for slang, the Urban Dictionary, lists well over 400 varieties of people who act like douches. There are nearly 1,000 definitions. The phrase itself took to the cultural landscape in the late 60s. Despite what varietal of douche you may be referring to, the basic intent behind the term remains true today. A douche bag is someone who is brash about being a jerk, and thinks they’re superior for being such an asshole.

What are we as a people supposed to do about the rising levels of douche-baggery? How can we make sure 2010 is less full of water and vinegar? We’ve failed at health care reform. We’ve failed at stopping global warming. How will we ever put an end to douche-baggery in our lifetimes? Possibly we can’t, but until we stop rewarding these assholes for their doucheyness, we’ll never break this cycle. Ladies, this all starts with you. Dump your douche today. For all of our sakes, please don’t give douche bags anymore sex. Employers, fire your douche bags. Parents, smack your douchey kids in the back of the head. Together, we can end douche-baggery in our lifetime, or at least make 2010 a little more friendly.

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