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Ascent of the A-Word

Assholism, the First Sixty Years

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


An attention-grabbing, thought-provoking exploration of the life of the word "a*****e," by a renowned linguist and author

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 30, 2012 – Tellingly, Nunberg's study of the word "asshole" begins with the observation that half of the people profiled in Barbara Walter's 2011 "Ten Most Fascinating People" feature could be considered assholes. What follows is an engaging blend of linguistics, analysis, and social commentary that breaks down the important place the word "asshole" occupies in our language and culture. Nunberg begins by charting the rise of "asshole" from its origins as WWII barracks slang, to its popularization in post-war literature (as in Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead), to its eventual adoption as part of Standard English in the 1970s. Nunberg then describes the various roles that "asshole" plays in society, detailing the formation of pop culture "anti-assholes" like Dirty Harry, musing on it as a psychological reclassification of a "heel," and charting its relationship to similar concepts of narcissism, inauthenticity, and incivility. The last of these relationships proves most fruitful to Nunberg as he spends a good amount of the book outlining "assholism" in the political realm, both as a quality popular in political commentators and as an insult when linked with incivility and lobbed across the aisle. In the end, Nunberg makes an entertaining and thought-provoking case for the importance and power of a "dirty" word.
Ascent of the A-Word
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: Aug 14, 2012
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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