Subtle-Assholism is the art of being an asshole, whilst at the same time being so subtle about it, as to be such that people can not acertain whether the individual truly exerts assholish tendencies. It is often linked witn an individual known as a smartass.

The term was articulated and defined by the following definitve linguistic essay from which the present term derives its meaning.

The Middle Class Renaissance: Otherwise Known As The Rise of Subtle-Assholism.


As my friends and I have demonstrated, due to the intellectual empowerment of the middle class, in fields of philosophy, history, and social theory.... what society has produced is an entire generation that not necessarily learns more, but one that has found itself more willing and more able to articulate itself more eloquently than previously imagined.


This invetibly produces are limitless sophisticated ways to express oneself. As this article itself gives testimony to, and subsequently reinforces. Inevitably, through the practice of public school conditioning, (in which we are taught to produce fluid and articulate essays) what we find is that this produces an entire culture of smartasses who apply not only philosophy, history, and politics to everyday life circumstances, but do so everywhere simply because they cannot as of yet be applied to any other function. It is dormant information that is aching to be unlearned, or utilized so as to make sense of the many hours placed into such a horrid institution. Slackers, once considered to be useless pseudo-intellectuals, have now come to the realization that their pseudo-intellectual tendencies are merely based on the previous discoveries and innovations known to mankind over the past two-thousand years. They are manifestations of the peak of human intelligence, finally trickling down the lowest aspects of societies, as much anticipated, and greatly feared by those in power. Pseudo-intellectualism it most certainly is not, but it presents itself as a more dangerous threat to society and social order within academic institutions than has ever been seen.


Instead of teaching children or individuals to be better citizens, adults have taught them to apply what the children have learned to their own way of childish thinking. For example, the phrase "I don't want to study" becomes "It find studying restrictive of my intellectual development, for the memorization of basic facts does not necessarily apply to my present lifestyle, nor benefit me in any way as far as intellectual development is concerned. It doesnt nearly do as much for me as does this magnificent book of Aristotles Poetics, and this Simpsons comic book recommended to me by the gentleman at BigLots, which is full of social satire and political undertones."


This brings forth the birth of subtle-assholism. Which is the idea that one can be an asshole and be non-conformist in their self-professed conformity. The genius of this system is that those in power can still sense the individual's subtle-assholism, but cannot place a name on it and thus cannot punish you or label you with any direct insubordination. It is the guerilla warfare of verbal disobedience and self-expression. This technique found itself a new home nestled within the lower confines of the present day educational system in the face of, and much to the dismay of, the new suburban bourgeosie, or ruling class. This includes hawkish republicans, coporately funded liberals, bus drivers, instructors and of course, the parental units. It is important to distinguish between the term and expression of sublte-assholism from the concept of placating individuals. Subtle-assholism, in its purest form, is barely recognizable and is usually entirely present in the subtext of any given hostile yet controlled conversation. It is not what is said necessarily, but in many cases what remains unsaid.


Insulting an ex-girlfriend manifests itself in bizarre compliments, a few well placed questions, and certain type of smile and tone. A kind of subconcious critical way of looking at individuals as to lower their self-confidence. Individuals around one practicing the art of subtle-assholism can even feel the boiling hostility as they remark that one could 'cut the tension with a knife' whenever the two practicing the art are in the same room together. One can feel the aura of hatred and disdain, with the twist of a smile, and the flare of a half-squinted eye.

What is essential to subtle-assholism, a trait one manifests over time and practice, is the idea that subtle-assholism would not survive without the character of being a smartass.

A smart ass is comprised predominately of two parts of naturally acquired or genetically inhereted traits (perhaps from an uncle or a father).

1. He must be smart.
2. He must be an ass.

These two things granted, the advocate of subtle-assholism finds it easy to shake the yoke of outright-assholism, which has become so mainstream as to be so looked down upon, that nobody finds it funny any longer, unless it is manifested to the extreme in an attempt at sarcasm or at trying to project one's personality far enough as to be "ridiculous".


Unfortunately for most, if one is trying to reject his or her present advocacy of subtle-assholism, he finds it much more difficult to shake the yoke. This is the present dilema for many individuals, and varies on a case by case basis. It has been determined and theorized that one cannot shake the yoke as easily merely due to the fact that it permeats every aspect of one's being. Since everyday conversation provides limitless opportunities to practice subtle-assholism, one finds himself constantly fighting the urge to yield such tremendous power for not only social interation, but groups building tendencies, as well as the need for social survival.


Ironically enough, advocates of subtle-assholism sometimes find it difficult to find a mate, but this is only present in guy or girls who are "needy" and/or "messed up". The majority of the male and female population however, finds subtle-assholism charming and downright sexy in its most innocent form.
His use of subtle-assholism allowed him to be an asshole, while everybody still believed him to be a charming gentleman.
by yossarianspenser October 7, 2005
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