From a review of Ascent of the A-word by Mark Judge, at the conservative acculturated site:
Let me lay out my theory for why the term asshole is derogatory. Doing so will explain why I think I can’t find much sense in Geoffrey Nunberg’s new book. For me, calling someone an asshole is an insult for pretty obvious reasons. Human beings equate virtue and civilization with cleanliness…. To refer to someone as an asshole is to equate them with filth and disease, and thus to make them seem uncivilized and not virtuous. Its’s pretty simple: filth and bacteria equals decay and sloth. That’s my reading, based on common sense. Calling people these kinds of names hasn’t changed in human history, even in the digital age.
Well, that’s a theory, but it leaves you with several questions; for example, why don’t the Italians and French use their words for the anus as a term of abuse? And then it hits you: Well, of course — they have bidets!
An inaugural post, eleven year after I wrote, in a Fresh Air piece on the new phenomenon of “blogging,” that “the only thing bloggers seem to have in common is that they have a lot of time on their hands and an exhibitionist streak.” It was the first, certainly not the second, that kept me from going there — the internet is full of author blogs that were abandoned after a few weeks or months of sporadic activity.
As my mom said when I asked her if we could get a dog when I was about eight — “Who’s going to walk it every day?” (She was right, but caved anyway.) On the other hand, it would be nice to have a venue where I could discharge thoughts that are too idiosyncratic for LanguageLog and too verbose for Twitter. And if you had to pick a promising point of departure, you could do worse than the topic of assholes and assholism, which comes in over the transom every morning without benefit of an RSS feed. So watch this space. For a while, anyway.