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The Theory of Badass

By Staff | Aug 25, 2010

(Ed. note: Ms. Fronk is neither a doctor nor a scientist; however, she is totally badass and that makes her an expert on badassness.)

Science (and experience) has proven that, independent of reality, it takes very little hormone to fuel the feeling of badassness in a human.

For instance, ponder the main mode of transportation on an average day in the life of you. Most will picture an automobile, but city-dwellers consider the subway or city bus while farm folk perhaps picture a tractor, as the eco-conscious cycle away.

Regardless of transportation type the resulting feeling is similar. The smugness of the biker as she darts between vehicles and potholes to slide through the red light leaving everyone else behind. The superiority of the automobile driver as he guns past the city bus honking at the lack of signal. The unicyclist who receives unsolicited praise off the street for his balance and grace…They all smirk and think, “Yes, I am a badass.” 

There is a hierarchy to these things, though. Not everyone can be at the top of the badass scale. Testosterone and adrenaline cloud reality as they course through moving bodies.

To truly evaluate badassness we must look to science. The Theory of Badass states that there exists a direct correlation between one’s badassness and the two factors: Speed (how fast one is traveling through space) and Vulnerability (how susceptible one is to the external surrounding). Therefore, the faster one goes and the more vulnerable one is to the elements, the closer one comes to reaching maximum badassness.

 Applying this principle to daily motion we find it now easy to determine the hierarchy of transportation modes (please refer to Badass Hierarchy, fig. 1).

This objective chart plots several common modes of transportation. Note that there are two descriptors commonly confused with being badass: douchebag and dumbass.

While not unreasonable to confuse these two traits — also born out of the feral and relentless need to assert and prove — they reveal a weakness in one factor or the other, which limits the capacity to achieve badassness.

Therefore, when looking at fig. 1 we see that the ultimate douchebag is composed of one who maintains high speed and very low vulnerability (Dodge Neon SRT4 driver). Conversely, one who maintains maximum vulnerability with very low speed is a dumbass (24" Schwinn unicyclist).

And there in the upper right-hand reaches of the figure, science confirms what we all knew to be true: no transportation machine is more badass than a motorcycle (Ducati Desmosedici RR). No driver, no cyclist, no skater, nobody can claim to be as badass as the motorcyclist because no one rides faster or more exposed, no one tests the limits of body and soul more than the one who urges the speedometer closer to top speed of 220 m.p.h. with every inch tearing through the raw wind.

Contact Katharine at letters@graffitiwv.com