Magazine November 21, 2016, Issue

Jerk Logic

Am I a jerk? You may find this an odd question for a person to ask himself. But when you’re in my line of work — which, broadly speaking, is called punditry — complete strangers on social media have little compunction about pointing out all your disagreeable character traits.

Since these drooling halfwits have been impugning my magnanimous disposition for years, I finally decided to investigate the matter. Self-examination, as Socrates might have said, is the hallmark of an enlightened man.

The first step is defining your terms. A “jerk,” according to the dictionary, is a contemptibly obnoxious person. But, as anyone

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