The Commonwealth Club
the nation’s premier public affairs forum
MODERATOR: Robert Sutton, Professor,Management Science & Engineering, Stanford University; Author, "The No A Hole Rule" (Moderator)
DATE : Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
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NPR’s “Fresh Air” contributor and Professor of Linguistics at UC Berkeley and Stanford University, Dr. Geoffrey Nunberg, will discuss the importance of the term “a-hole” to today’s society. He will examine how we have made the “a-hole” an object of obsessive collective interest, akin to the “phony” of Holden Caulfield’s time, and how the word reflects contemporary American values about civility, relationships, pretension, and class.
In addition to his teaching and radio features, Nunberg is a frequent blogger and a contributing columnist for the LA Times and the New York Sunday Times. He is considered an authority on the cultural and social implications of the Technological Revolution. His books include The Years of Talking Dangerously (selected as a Notable Book of 2009 by the San Francisco Chronicle), Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show (chosen as one of the Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 2006 by the Washington Monthly), The Way We Talk Now and Going Nucular: Language, Politics, and Culture in Controversial Times (named one of the Ten Best Nonfiction Books of 2004 by Amazon.com and one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the San Jose Mercury News.) His most recent book, Ascent of the A-Word: A-holism, the First Sixty Years, is scheduled for release in August. A Bay Area resident, Nunberg also works as usage editor and chair of the usage panel of the American Heritage Dictionary. He is a winner of the Linguistic Society of America's Language and the Public Interest Award.
Nunberg earned his BA from Columbia University, his Master’s degree from Penn, and his Ph.D from CUNY.
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