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assholism definition: Noun (countable and uncountable, plural assholisms) 1. ( slang, vulgar) Consistently English Wiktionary. Available under CC-BY-SA. A condition in which an individual is a chronic asshole and feels that he/she cannot stop. Dictionary: assholism – ✓ meaning, ✓ definition, ✓ synonyms, ✓ origin. assholism (English). Alternative forms. arseholism.

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For the Greeks and Melville these characters served a didactic purpose to warn against hubris. It’s a valid question, but the phenomenon itself isn’t new. A look at one of society’s favorite swear words”. Ascent of the A-Word: Its middle chapters return a profit tracing the historical evolution of the word’s meaning. If assholism is the witting provocation of one’s adversaries, then its defining characteristic is not obtuseness so much as the effective opposite: He says it’s assholism because of its tone and method of delivery — because we’re uncivil in new ways.

Assholism, the First Sixty Years is a book by the American linguist Geoffrey Nunberg which analyzes the history of the epithet ” asshole “. Asshole or the Word for It? San Francisco Chronicle reviewer Glenn C.

Nunberg himself invokes Shakespeare’s Malvolio. He also served as the expert in the American Library Association’s legal challenge of the Children’s Internet Protection Act, which mandates the use of Internet filtering software in all libraries that receive the engliwh subsidy.

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This signifies an unprecedented occurrence: Why are characters such as these so compelling, then as now? Retrieved September 13, It’s that we as a culture would need such a word in the first place.

This is the discussion, fascinating on its own, that leads him to his grand theory of assholism today. Untilhe was a principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, working on the development of linguistic technologies. But, ultimately, what’s most interesting isn’t that “assholism” might encapsulate early 21st century life.


Perhaps we all have an asshole id in need of succor.

Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years

Nunberg calls one who does englosh an “anti-asshole, the person who can violate bourgeois conventions and social norms in the cause of punishing offenders”. Let’s agree that the man with the Hertz Gold Card is probably an asshole here the word has a kind of verisimilitude, or as Nunberg puts it, it’s just the “shoe that fits” ; but if that’s assholism, it isn’t the same thing as what so many politicians, media personalities and their followers do.

Nunberg also argues that this is the Age of the Asshole because we now “find the phenomenon and its practitioners so interesting. But he is at pains to distinguish assholism from that tired old saw, “incivility,” which he admits is nothing new.

‘Ascent Of The A-Word: Assholism, The First 60 Years’

Descriptions and Beyond, Oxford, His book Talking Right: Nunberg’s diagnosis of public life seems unnecessary. Retrieved from ” https: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Assholism, the First Sixty Years”What I’m interested in isn’t a distinct species of congenital jerks, but a social condition and a disposition that everyone is liable to on trying occasions. Or maybe assholes behaving badly aren’t what’s compelling at all.

The woman who just walks to the front of the line. Never was a word that you’re not supposed to say naturalized in such a way.

It took to literature in Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, then was adopted by the counter-culture of the 60s, by country singers like Willie Nelson and David Allan Coe, by the feminist movement, and so forth.

No doubt about it, the world is full of, well These days, if you’re not a socialist then you must be a fascist; but we’re assholixm assholes now.

Got something to say about assholes?

assholism meaning and definition

Nunberg asserts that the nature of our politics, the media and the Internet have “created a host of new occasions for acting like assholes and new ways of performing assholism,” which constitutes a new age. There are plenty of assholes, boring as a doorknob, who get no more attention than anyone else.


What void did it fill in our shared consciousness, our exchange of ideas? Fair enough, but it must be said, his book dedicates much ink to bolstering the word’s distinctions. Nunberg argues that the use of the term generates a sense of solidarity among those who are not they believe assholes themselves; directing the epithet “asshole” towards a perceived asshole, though insulting, is tolerated: The book is far more interesting as a linguistic study.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Aren’t they just engaging in plain old partisan dog-whistling, central in any democracy? Perhaps the answer lies with George Orwell, who, in the same decade that asshole began its ascent, lamented the bleeding of all meaning from words of former force and import.

As one example, Nunberg mentions Ann Coulter’s Muslim-bashing, which he suspects she does for the sole purpose of rallying her fans and enraging “the libs.

It’s because it’s one of the few words left that we all seem to actually understand. The self-assured, the snotty, the blowhards, and the all-around jerks are everywhere, whether its in our daily life or in the media. Assholism, the First 60 Yearsdocuments the cultural history and significance of “asshole,” as an insult, a personality, and a phenomena of American popular media. He is a contributor to the blog LanguageLog. Popularized in part by author and Army veteran Norman Mailer in his novel The Naked and the Deadthe term continued to spread into popular culture via the works of Woody Allen and Neil Simon.