From a piece about Internet trolls we found this reference to Assholes: A Theory, a book which we admittedly have not read (we read enough on the topic in our day-to-day job). Apparently that book contains this helpful definition – as if we really needed it defined:
1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically; (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people. So, for example, the asshole is the person who habitually cuts in line. Or who frequently interrupts in a conversation. Or who weaves in and out of lanes in traffic…. An insensitive person—a mere “jerk”—might allow himself to so enjoy “special advantages” in such interpersonal relations. What distinguishes the asshole is the way he acts, the reasons that motivate him to act in an abusive and arrogant way.
This reinforces the point that we were trying to make but were perhaps unsuccessful at recently, in our lament about some BSer behavior that we’ve observed. Much (all?) can be interpreted about a person based on their actions. This is true even when those actions are only reflected through pieces of paper submitted in an app.
Much of what colors EssaySnark’s impressions of a person are the same inputs that a bschool adcom will be using to make judgments about you. No, they won’t know that you switched up your career goals six ways to Sunday in an effort to game the system, or that you “borrowed” ideas from other people’s essays to incorporate into your own. But they’ll get plenty of input about who you are, based on how you present yourself on the page. This comes through in word choice and in language used, in what details you focus on in how you talk about stuff — and even in seemingly unrelated things like are your essays way overlimit.
We’ve mentioned before the thing that irks us perhaps the most: How sometimes when we get a revised Draft 2 back from a BSer, after they’ve received our critique on Draft 1, the events they’re describing will miraculously change, and suddenly, the issues we’d pointed out about suitability of the story and why it might not fit the question or how it could create negative impressions of the BSer are amazingly moot. Draft 2 has different events happening than what had been related in Draft 1.
We don’t approve.
The purpose of getting feedback from us is not so you can modify the facts of the situation in order to make it sound better. The purpose is understand how others might perceive you, and make sure that the stories you’re preparing are showing your best self – but if they’re not, you’re not supposed to make up new stories. The EssaySnark process is about guiding you to do some soul-searching and figure out where you’ve been the best example of a productive member of society, and use that in your essays.
If your first draft makes you sound like a dolt, then there are two possible conclusions available to us:
a. You lack self-awareness in how you are presenting yourself in writing
b. Or, you really are a dolt.
If your second draft shows that you manufactured lies in order to not be a dolt, well… see definition at the top of the page.
How someone reacts to the feedback provided and the course of action they choose in their next drafts communicates a lot to us. If the adcoms really wanted to get to know a candidate, they should go through an essay-revision cycle with them – the personal insights are tremendous.
Apparently we like this phrase; we wrote an earlier post titled “don’t be that guy” back in 2011. That one was about bad interviewing etiquette.