Dec 27, Lyn rated it really liked it Assholes, A theory was published by Aaron James, a Harvard educated philosopher and surfer, in I have to admit that when I picked up the book, I was amused by the title and considered that it might be a one trick pony, sort of like a Saturday Night Live skit stretched out into a book, funny at the beginning and then petered out towards the end. I was pleasantly surprised and more than amused, I was engrossed by the authors well thought out and intelligent ideas. First, James defines what it Assholes, A theory was published by Aaron James, a Harvard educated philosopher and surfer, in First, James defines what it means to be an asshole. His working definition: In interpersonal or cooperative relations, the asshole allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically, does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement, and is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.

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Within a generation it had become a basic notion of our everyday moral life, replacing older reproaches like lout and heel with a single inclusive category--a staple of country outlaw songs, Neil Simon plays, and Woody Allen movies. The asshole has become a focus of collective fascination for us, just as the phony was for Holden Caulfield and the cad was for Anthony Trollope. From Donald Trump to Ann Coulter, from Mel Gibson to Anthony Weiner, from the reality TV prima donnas to the internet trolls and flamers, assholism has become the characteristic form of modern incivility, which implicitly expresses our deepest values about class, relationships, authenticity, and fairness.

We have conflicting attitudes about the A-word--when a presidential candidate unwittingly uttered it on a live mic in , it confirmed to some that he was a man of the people and to others that he was a boor. His previous books include Talking Right and Going Nucular.

Nunberg lives in San Francisco. When did the epithet come to prominence as a social and now political invective? Who are some of the biggest assholes in the public eye today? The author avoids many potential hazards, including an overly academic and pretentious tone or, conversely, an exceedingly snarky or droll satire. In other words, he avoids, by his own surmising, being an asshole himself, thereby rendering a skillful narrative…. A witty and politically charged analysis of a potent obscenity in its modern and contemporary context.

Sure, it uses the A-word a lot, but this is no cheap attempt to get laughs written by a B-list stand-up comic. The author … undertakes a serious examination of not just the word, but also the concept surrounding it known as assholism, a type of behavior with, it seems, pretty clear markers ….

An intelligent and wide-ranging study of linguistics, ideas, and social trends. Nunberg dissects his subject with style and surgical precision. Ceaselessly entertaining. Rich and educational. Perhaps the most acute pleasure of Ascent of the Aword is having people labeled as they really are.

Quirky scholarship at its best.


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

Subtle-Assholism unknown Subtle-Assholism is the art of being an asshole, whilst at the same time being so subtle about it, as to be such that people can not acertain whether the individual truly exerts assholish tendencies. It is often linked witn an individual known as a smartass. The term was articulated and defined by the following definitve linguistic essay from which the present term derives its meaning. As this article itself gives testimony to, and subsequently reinforces. Inevitably, through the practice of public school conditioning, in which we are taught to produce fluid and articulate essays what we find is that this produces an entire culture of smartasses who apply not only philosophy, history, and politics to everyday life circumstances, but do so everywhere simply because they cannot as of yet be applied to any other function. It is dormant information that is aching to be unlearned, or utilized so as to make sense of the many hours placed into such a horrid institution. Slackers, once considered to be useless pseudo-intellectuals , have now come to the realization that their pseudo-intellectual tendencies are merely based on the previous discoveries and innovations known to mankind over the past two-thousand years.


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


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