Perusing the online blogopolis today, I saw that Xeni over at boingboing has proposed a new greeting card that would thank the recipient for “not douching out.”

“Douchebag” was a fairly common insult back when I was in high school – in the ’80s, but it seems to have made a comeback. Jon Stewart uses it fairly regularly, and I even used it in a blog post a while back to describe how I feel about Chad from those Alltel commercials.

I don’t remember hearing the word much or at all between, say, 1988 and 2005, so out of curiosity I did a Google Trend search for it:

Apparently I’m right. As you can see, the word is virtually nonexistent in searches before around the fall of 2005, and then it suddenly leaps back into the vernacular. I wonder what happened in 2005. What kind of douchebaggery was it that made people reach back in the collective consciousness and pull ‘douchebag’ out of the mothballs.

I don’t know, but if I were to put on my CSI hat, I’d probably start my investigation in Austin TX, where there seems to be a concentration of doucheness:

UPDATE: In September 2005, during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, George Bush congratulated then FEMA director, Michael Brown with the now infamous line, “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.” If that’s not douche-worthy, then I don’t know what is.

As a final thought, I’ll share my own opinion on ‘douchebag’ and its return. I like it. It just seems to be the perfect term to describe a certain collection of human qualities. Just what those qualities are is something we were talking about at work a few months ago, and we didn’t come up with an answer beyond ‘you know doucheness when you see it.’

We did agree that ‘douchebag’ describes a collection of qualities as opposed to a type of behavior. As an example of a behavior-describing word, we thought of ‘asshole.’

So, if you make a reckless move and cut someone off in traffic, you’re definitely an asshole. If you’re driving a Hummer and talking on your cell phone, then there’s a good chance you’re also a douchebag.

Make sense?

2 thoughts on “Return of the Douchebag

  1. During his talk at Wordcamp 2007, John C. Dvorak mentioned how it wasn’t libelous for a reporter to accuse a person of being a douchebag. In print, you can’t call someone a crook unless they’ve been convicted, but you can call them a douchebag for any reason whatsoever.

  2. Hi Shawn!

    I figured “Return of the Douchebag” would be the perfect post title under which to make my first comment in years on your blog (or any other meaningful contact.)

    Google Trends is a lot of fun. Let’s play “Biggest Splash in the Pan.” Try to find the highest peak in Google Trends. It’s a sad commentary about our world (maybe just the parts with high Net activity) when the winners of this game all appear to be tragedies. My current high score is for “Virginia Tech” ( http://www.google.com/trends?q=virginia+tech ) with a peak in the low 60’s.

    Also… it appears our Christmas Spirit is fading ( http://www.google.com/trends?q=christmas ) … I know! Someone should write a really cheesy movie about how nobody believes in Santa anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *