Ways of the Badass

Ways of the Badass - Ways of the Badass: Katz Chapter 3 In...

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Ways of the Badass: Katz Chapter 3 In this chapter, Katz describes the process of becoming a badass or adolescent tough guy willing to use violence to harm others. Katz breaks it down into three aspects, all of which must be present for the youth to be recognized as a badass. 1. He must appear tough and unwilling to be changed or dominated by the opinions of others. He must appear in command of situations and unwilling to back down from a chosen course of action. 2) He must make himself appear alien and not part of civilized society. His dress, demeanor, and behavior must reflect this. He wants his very presence to be unnerving for others 3) He must appear mean. He must be willing to back up his meanness with violence if the situation requires. However, he can't simply fly off the handle and explode or he risks being labeled a "punk" (and in need of psychiatric care). The first is accomplished in a number of ways, one of the most important being dress. Leather clothing, black clothing, heavy boots, metal adornments, dark sunglasses are preferred. He can stare at you with impunity, but you dare not stare back at him. Also important is the use of language or lack of it. Silence is a trademark of the tough guy. He is unwilling to communicate what he thinks or feels. When he does speak he mumbles, doesn't make eye contact, or is chewing gum. Rather than saying hello the first greeting may be a punch or hand slap. Verbal exchanges that resonate in guttural sounds may mark the beginning and ending of an encounter. He doesn't follow the proscribed greetings and closings that are considered the hallmark of civilized conversation. The first word to start a turn of conversation may be "shit" or some other profanity. (Katz is the only author I know of who analyzes the meaning of "shit" in the context of an ongoing conversation--see page 87). Being Alien:
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Being tough is not enough to be considered deviant. Football players, cops, ruthless businessmen or politicians can all appear tough. Katz goes on to identify further elements of style that serve to set the badass off as alien. These include body language, especially walking postures. He moves more of his body, arms, etc, thus taking up more space than the natural walker does. Others may have to back off to give him room to pass by. You dare not invade his space. (Katz is using a great deal of Irving Goffman in this chapter.) Touching one's own genitals in public, an act ethnic comedians have made much of, is another alien posture. Tattoos or body piercings set off the individual as having embraced a deviant identity. Cross-cultural evidence supports this. To have gotten a tattoo demonstrates that he has suffered and survived pain. Deviant forms of talking are also frequently employed. Sometimes toughs develop an idiomatic way of speaking that only they can decipher. The use of argot allows them to understand the larger society, but be unfathomable by it. Gangster rap uses such language liberally.
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Ways of the Badass - Ways of the Badass: Katz Chapter 3 In...

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