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.