The “I’m not a bad guy” is probably a bad guy

July 06, 2017
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Trump is going to build a wall. And the wall is going to be “uuuuge”. Problem is no one wants to pay for it and it’s hugely unpopular. Trump’s solution? Cover the wall in solar panels. It’s inherently offensive, but if someone is going to build a 1600km long wall in the middle of a Mexican desert, it might as well produce economically profitable solar energy, right? 

When a guy says “I’m not a bad guy”, this is essentially the same as covering a shitty wall in compensatory solar panels. On the surface, it might seem as though he’s trying to satisfy your concerns and address your hesitations with phone calls in the early hours of the morning but, underneath that, it’s still a wall (symbolic, or otherwise) designed to to keep you out. Trump and Not-A-Bad-Guy guy are both willing to say what’s necessary to sell it to you, but a closer look reveals that things couldn’t be further from the truth.

Since when is this the new metric?

Imagine if you could get into an Engineering degree by saying “I’m not bad at math”. Or telling your lecturer that you didn’t intentionally try to forget to do your assignment.

If you’re trying to justify your ineptitude to be a decent person, saying “I’m not a bad guy” is step one to making me doubt you were ever anything but a bad guy in the first place. It’s not an excuse or a way out, nor is it a substitute for apologising. If anything, a statement like that needs to be academically referenced and peer reviewed. Come back to me when I can cite you on Google Scholar pal.

Trump and Not-A-Bad-Guy guy are both willing to say what’s necessary to sell it to you, but a closer look reveals that things couldn’t be further from the truth.

If Game of Thrones has taught us anything…

Even if you aren’t technically a ‘bad’ person, as Stannis Baratheon once said, “A good act does not wash out the bad, nor a bad act the good”. But his daughter would probably protest about his understanding of a good act.

Being an adult and participating in an adult interaction means being open to learning from mistakes and acknowledging slipups, big and small. If someone has convinced themselves of their own goodness and believes they’ve only acted with kindness, that does not exclude their wrongdoing. Putting on the “I’m not a bad guy” blinders is not helping anyone, especially when you call them out on their BS.

Imagine if you could get into an Engineering degree by saying 'I’m not bad at math'.

I’m the crazy one for doubting you

So its 2am. I’ve had my rant at you. You’ve listened. But at the end of it, you’re “not a bad guy” so I’m to blame for the miscommunication. I’ll take my fair share of responsibility for thinking you’re anything other than a normal guy taking things slow. But I am not solely responsible for this angst. And your insistence of your purity is going to make things worse because now you’ve got me (over)thinking about why you needed to say it in the first place. You think I’m crazy, and I think you’re lying to yourself so maybe it’s best you reconsider your approach to conflict management.

So the next time a guy says “I’m not a bad guy… I don’t want you writing articles about me”, tell him that 1. That’s just asking for it, and 2. You’re probably a bad guy for needing to say that in the first place. After all, a wall is still a wall – and the solar panels will only make it bigger, shinier and a whole lot more noticeable.

Danica Lamb

Danica is a Laws Masters kid at UWA. She enjoys cheap coffee and 80s pop music.

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