If the Shoe Fits

John A. Giacobbe (Catalinus@AOL.COM)
Fri, 20 Oct 1995 20:08:12 -0400

The following is excerpted from The Journal of
Irreproducible Results, Volume 40, Number 3, pp.11-
12. I thought it appropriate to distribute in light of
some of the discussions that have appeared on this
list of late. I have substituted chaste dashes for the
A-word, in keeping with the no-obcenity rule, but I
urge you to get the original. It's VERY funny, not
less for being right.

Title: The A--hole Quotient: Transcending Ethnicity in
Anthropology and Daily Life.
Author: Eugene Cooper, U. of Southern California.

"...For too long, anthropologists and practitioners of
its sister social science disciplines have allowed the
concept of ethnicity to become incorporated into the
lexicon of "science", giving undeserved credence and
legitimacy to the politically tainted categories of
popular consciousness. Happily, a new, more critical
perspective lies within our grasp...
...The A--hole Quotient hypothesizes that the
proportion of a--holes in any given population is a
constant (A) which is equal to the number of a--holes
(n) over the total population (t):
(A) remains constant regardless of how one might
choose to define the population -- by race, language,
nationality, religion, or even occupation, age, gender,
or shoe size. Thus, one would be equally likely to
encounter an a--hole in one's interactions with, say,
dentists, or French speakers, or Jews, or Ecuadoreans,
male or female, of dark or light skin, large or small
...The theoretical implications of this finding are
genuinely revolutionary in the social sciences...
...The irrelevance of "ethnic" distinctions having been
established from the outset, we might not only
dispense with any number of professional journals
which address the issue by merely restating what
every layman believes anyway, but might also come to
understand "ethnicity" as the phenomenon of popular
consciousness that it is, rather than continue to
misconstrue it as an objective analytical category. We
might even come to see it for what it often ends up
being, a device employed by demagogues to divide us
from one another politically...
...As the beguiling simplicity of the finding captured
the imagination of larger sectors of the world's
population, each of us would be more inclined to
approach our interactions with all comers with only one
thought in mind, "Is this person an a--hole or not?
Having made the assessment (sic), we would proceed with
the business at hand, or not, without prejudging our
opposite number on the basis of his or her superficial
"ethnic" attributes."

Hi ho.

John A. Giacobbe
Western Archaeological Services, Inc.