"There are many species in the asshole kingdom."
January 6, 2013 10:04 PM Subscribe
"So what is an asshole, exactly? How is he (and assholes are almost always men) distinct from other types of social malefactors? Are assholes born that way, or is their boorishness culturally conditioned? What explains the spike in the asshole population?"
posted by bardic (71 comments total)
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-- The Chronicle
talks to two professors, linguist Geoffrey Nunberg
and philospher Aaron James
, about their recent work on, well, assholes.
"James argues for a three-part definition of assholes that boils down to this: Assholes act out of a deep-rooted sense of entitlement, a habitual and persistent belief that they deserve special treatment. (Nunberg points out that use of the phrase 'sense of entitlement' tracks the spread of 'asshole'—both have spiked since the 1970s.) How to distinguish an asshole from a scumbag, a jerk, a prick, or a schmuck? Assholes are systematic. We all do assholeish things, but only an asshole feels fully justified in always acting like an asshole. As James puts it, 'If one is special on one's birthday, the asshole's birthday comes every day.'"