asshole
Posted: 20 September 2012 08:08 PM   [ Ignore ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1256
Joined  2007-03-21

A marvelous conversation at Slate’s Lexicon Valley with Geoffrey Nunberg about his new book, Ascent of the A-word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years, at Slate.com.

The phrase emerges in Post WWII America:

It’s hard to believe that that word as an epithet for a person is only about 60 years old. As we’ll talk about in a few minutes with Nunberg, the word emerges from the rubble, so to speak, of World War II, hangs around during the 1950s and ‘60s and then explodes in the lexicon in the 1970s.

And then the marvelous distinctions between profanity, obscenity, and vulgarity. The Slate conversation is able to delve into this in a way that mainstream journalism cannot because of our latent Puritanism I suppose. And is wonderfully funny.

At the above link there is both the mp3 version as well as the text.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 September 2012 01:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4651
Joined  2007-01-03

It is a fun interview and I look forward to reading the book. And as I’ve mentioned before, I recommend the Lexicon Valley podcast. It’s quite excellent. I’m glad they’re back from their hiatus.

But I thought the low point of this episode was the distinction between profanity, obscenity, and vulgarity, which they pretty much mangled. They pretty much missed the class distinction present in earlier uses of the term vulgarity and the fact that obscenity now carries a legal distinction, at least in the United States. (I’m confident Nunberg and the two interviewers know the distinctions; it just didn’t come across well in the conversation.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 September 2012 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1256
Joined  2007-03-21

But I thought the low point of this episode was the distinction between profanity, obscenity, and vulgarity, which they pretty much mangled. They pretty much missed the class distinction present in earlier uses of the term vulgarity and the fact that obscenity now carries a legal distinction, at least in the United States. (I’m confident Nunberg and the two interviewers know the distinctions; it just didn’t come across well in the conversation.)

Exactly, Dave. They brought it up and then dropped it (not Nunberg’s fault). But it sounds like a brilliant book that will likely not get mainstream exposure (for obvious reasons).

Profile
 
 
   
 
 
‹‹ dumpster fire      HD: The Writing Revolution ››