Wed, Aug 15 2012 - 6:00pm
Adjunct Full Professor, UC Berkeley School of Information; Author, Ascent of the A-Word: A--holism, the First Sixty Years
Robert Sutton, Professor, Management Science & Engineering, Stanford University; Author, The No A--hole Rule - Moderator
It went from the mouths of WWII servicemen to the typewriter of a young Norman Mailer. By the 1970s it had become a staple of Neil Simon plays and Woody Allen movies. In 2000, George W. Bush accidentally uttered it on a live mic and sparked a debate about whether that made him a man of the people, or just an a--hole. Ours is the age of a--holism. Over time, the word has become an expression of contemporary American values – about civility, about relationships, about pretension, about class. Yet the media are obliged to bleep it or disguise it with asterisks. And we use it unreflectingly and give it no attention. Nunberg takes us behind the slur.