Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
What is a Dickhead?
illustration by Henry Vandyke Carter
A pothead is someone who smokes lots of weed. A Deadhead is
a someone who likes the Grateful Dead, who listens to their recordings, attends
their concerts and was infatuated with Jerry Garcia when he was alive. The
thing that potheads and Deadheads have in common is an addiction to mind
altering forms of substances (if we look at music as having the same properties that drugs do
with regard to consciousness). A Dickhead similarly gets off on works like Minority Report and The Man in the High Castle written by the science fiction master,
Philip K. Dick. Of course a dickhead is also a person who is a dunce, a person
who just doesn’t get it. Dickheads are unavoidable. They’re the people you
can’t get through to, no matter how hard you try. If you are an Enlightenment
rationalist, a follower of Voltaire, Locke or Hume, you’ll be especially
confounded by dickheads, who demonstrate the limits of human reason. A dickhead
can also be a person who’s actually malevolent. Such a person possesses ratiocinative abilities which
they choose not to employ for opportunistic and often expeditious reasons. They
know exactly what you’re saying, but they play dumb because they don’t want to
listen to reason. A dickhead is someone, for example, for whom the ends justify
the means. When it’s pointed out to a dickhead that the American judicial
system depends on due process and individual rights such a dickhead will simply
give one of those chuckles which is supposed to indicate we’re all in agreement
about the real truth— which is that none of these things, which are ultimately
the groundwork upon which democracy is based, really matter.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.