What evokes disgust can vary from person to person, but there are some familiar themes when trying to depict someone as unclean and less than human: vomit, excrement, and animals are routinely chosen.
This kind of verbal abuse typically isn't meant literally, of course. It's a metaphor, or perhaps "comparing" rhetoric: "You're as bad as something disgusting and not even human." But, even if it's not meant literally, it's still unacceptable to describe people as something filthy or vulgar that needs to be cleaned up.
EXAMPLES AND ANALYSIS
TRUMP: I'm not looking for credit. But what I don't want is when I raise millions of dollars, to have people say – like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC. He's a sleaze in my book.-- Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, May 31, 2016, referring to Tom Llamas of ABC News. Trump accused Llamas of misreporting the amount of money Trump raised for veterans.
LLAMAS: Why am I sleaze?
TRUMP: You're a sleaze, because you know the facts, and you know the facts well.
Comment: “Sleaze” is an example of “disgusting” rhetoric. If misreporting facts about Trump is grounds for Trump to use this kind of language against them, does the same standard apply to Trump himself? If Trump makes a false statement about somebody, are we justified in referring to Trump as “sleaze”?
Trump:-- Political consultant Jon Favreau, May 20, 2016, referring to Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.
1) Profited off of 9/11
2) Rooted for the housing crash
3) Ran a fraudulent university
4) Sued for tax dodging
5) Is a dick
Comment: Favreau's fifth point is name-calling, perhaps of the "disgusting" variety, but certainly vulgar.
@neeratanden @joanwalsh Scumbag Neera uses welfare when she needs it then takes away from others when they need it. Disgusting.-- Blogger Matt Bruenig, May 19, 2016, referring to activist Neera Tanden.
Comment: Bruenig is using "disgusting" rhetoric.
"There are a lot of Republicans, including myself, who find him morally repulsive. And he’s just not — there are some things more important things than winning an election. And supporting a guy who tears at the social fabric, who insults the office of the presidency by being completely unprepared for it, who plays on bigotry and fear, who is the sort of demagogue our founders feared would upset the American experiment in self-government, well, that kind of guy, you just can’t support, even if it means a defeat."-- Pundit David Brooks, March 18, 2016, referring to Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.
Comment: Brooks is accusing Trump of being a bigot and a demagogue who uses scare tactics (he is also perhaps using the language of disgust: "morally repulsive").
Actor and activist Sean Penn told an audience of security geeks Friday that "the defecation on America that is the Republican debate" is making him nostalgic for President George W. Bush, something he finds amazing.-- Actor and pundit Sean Penn, March 4, 2016, as related in a story by Elizabeth Weise of USA Today. Penn was referring to Republican presidential contenders Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Penn spoke on the final day of the RSA computer security conference, an annual event that was especially newsy this year due to the ongoing battle between Apple and the FBI.
He was asked by RSA program chair Hugh Thompson who he backed in this year’s presidential election.
Penn grimaced, then said maybe he’s simply not being democratic enough in how he thinks about the election because he's clearly not taking into account "the true interests of my fellow Americans."
“So many of them truly want to hate each other, want to bottom out their community so they can rise up in it, want to really devastate the rest of the world and maybe get into a civil war,” he said.
If that is what the mass of Americans want, “I’m going to have to consider Trump-Cruz,” he said.
Comment: Penn is demonizing, saying that Trump and Cruz (and/or their supporters) intentionally want to destroy their communities and start wars. He is also using "disgusting" rhetoric (i.e., "defecation on America").
"Patrick Leahy looks like E.T. all grown up, about 10 times more unattractive."-- Pundit Mark Levin, February 24, 2016, in the 3rd hour of his radio show, referring to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and the alien in the film "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial".
Comment: This is name-calling, I'm guessing of the "disgusting" variety.
Ted Cruz is the definition of sleaze.-- Republican presidential contender Donald Trump, February 11, 2016, referring to Republican presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Comment: This is "disgusting" rhetoric.
Donald Trump, who has been the talk of American politics for months, made an appearance of sorts at the Rose Parade.-- From a January 1, 2016, story by Richard Winton of The Los Angeles Times.
At least in the sky.
As the parade was ending, a small plane began to fill the sky with puffs of white smoke. At first it spelled "America is Great," but then it continued with a different message: "Trump is disgusting."
Comment: This is "disgusting" rhetoric which perhaps also suggests that Trump is un-American.
Don’t worry I won’t make any exceptions, there are none to make.-- Pundit LaFeminista, November 21, 2015, in a post entitled, "Republicans Are The Scum Of The Earth".
The lowest of the low in my book, oh, I might offend some of these mouth breathers; so what, fuck em.
Watching the pigswill that is the GOP debates where the vilest, nastiest and most demeaning piece of drivel gets wild applause. If you want to appeal to the dregs of the earth, then go for it, don’t expect my analysis to be bipartisan.
I don’t want to get to know you better, in fact I don’t want you anywhere bloody near me. Vote for this trash and I will regard you as such.
There are not two sides to the debate there is no common ground, we have gone way beyond that, vileness is their motto, hatred their raison d'être.
Greedy, spineless cowards, fearful of anything that moves, hateful of anything different and proud of their ignorance. Proud unreasoning bigots all.
They live in their own vile pool of ingrained mindless doctrine where belief trumps fact, where ignorance is praised as a virtue.
There are those that exploit the fear, loathing and ignorance and they are the worst of the lot, where denial is easier than facing up to the truth.
To those who would send others far braver than themselves into our mindless wars I have nothing but sheer contempt.
You are scum.
Comment: This is "disgusting" rhetoric. LaFeminista also accuses Republicans of being bigoted, not caring about truth and reason, and exploiting fear.
Calls U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota Andy Luger "loogie", and says he is "disgusting".-- Pundit Mark Levin, November 3, 2015, during the 2nd hour of his radio program.
Comment: Levin is using the language of disgust to deride Luger.
Marco Rubio wants no part of Donald Trump’s “freak show,” the Florida senator said in an NPR interview aired Monday.-- Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), September 28, 2015, as related in a Politico article by Nick Gass. Rubio was discussing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“I’m not interested in the back and forth — to be a member or a part of his freak show,” the Republican presidential candidate remarked. “I would just say this: He is a very sensitive person; he doesn’t like to be criticized. He responds to criticism very poorly.”
Comment: It's one thing to say he doesn't want to get into a visceral back-and-forth with Trump, but the term "freak show" is derisive name-calling (perhaps an instance of "disgusting" or "subhuman" rhetoric?). Also, it seems like the rhetoric is going to incite exactly what Rubio says he wants to avoid.
"I don’t know what happened to the good people of Connecticut to be voting for a piece of crap like this."-- Pundit Mark Levin, August 28, 2015, during the 2nd hour of his radio show. Levin was referring to Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who had criticized Congress earlier that day for being "complicit" in mass shootings.
Comment: It's fair for Levin to criticize Murphy's remarks, but he can do that without resorting to the language of disgust (i.e., "piece of crap").
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley apologized “like a disgusting, little, weak, pathetic baby” for his remark that “all lives matter,” Donald Trump said in an excerpt of a new interview aired Friday on Fox News.-- Presidential candidate Donald Trump, August 21, 2015, as related by a story in Politico by Nick Gass.
In an interview with Jeanine Pirro for her program “Justice” set to air Saturday night, Trump said that the former Maryland governor did not need to say he was sorry.
“And then he apologized like a little baby, like a disgusting, little, weak, pathetic baby. And that’s the problem with our country,” Trump said, according to a clip aired on “Fox and Friends.”
O’Malley, in fact was “politically incorrect” with his apology, Trump remarked.
“How can you apologize when you say black lives matter — which is true — white lives matter, which is true — all lives [matter] — which is true. And then they get angry because you said white and all…we don’t want you to mention that. What’s he need to apologize for?” Trump asked.
Comment: Trump can criticize O'Malley's behavior without resorting to the language of disgust.
"Jerrold Nadler is a Marxist, he is a complete puke. Party before country."-- Pundit Mark Levin, August 21, 2015, during the 2nd hour of his radio show. Levin was criticizing Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) for supporting the nuclear deal with Iran.
Comment: First, Levin is deriding Nadler as disgusting. Second, while Nadler is a liberal, what is the evidence that he is a Marxist? This sounds like an exaggeration to the point of demonizing. Lastly, in saying that Nadler puts party before country, Levin is demonizing Nadler by questioning his patriotism.
Pathetic turd FrankLuntz begged @realDonaldTrump for corporate polling work - trashes Trump only after Trump declines-- Pundit Roger Stone, August 18, 2015. Stone's tweet referred to Republican pollster Frank Luntz.
Comment: "Turd" is Stone's way of saying Luntz is disgusting.
"This guy's quite the puke. … He looks the part."-- Pundit Mark Levin, July 15, 2015, during the 1st hour of his radio show. Levin was referring to former United States National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Comment: Levin is using the "disgusting" form of name-calling against Brzezinski.
RUSH: Here's Tom in Orlando. Great to have you on the program, sir. I'm glad you waited. You're up next. Hello.-- A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show, June 1, 2015.
CALLER: Hey, listen, I walk dogs for a living. I'm out walking dogs, and you might hear 'em pulling me or yanking me, but I clean up after 'em, too. I call 'em little piles of liberals.
RUSH: (laughing) Yes.
CALLER: I clean 'em up every day, piles and piles of 'em.
Comment: The caller is name-calling, using the language of disgust.
Clinton Aide Sid Blumenthal is the Human Equivalent of a Semen-Stained Dress-- The headline of an article by pundit Nick Gillespie, May 20, 2015, referring to Sidney Blumenthal, who was once a political aide to President Bill Clinton. The headline alludes to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
"One man, one vote. People are comin' in this country across the borders like rats and roaches in the wood pile. We've got a state like Minnesota that says it's not our business to check 'em out, we just register 'em. We've got to get control. That's what they need to know."-- The mother-in-law of Citizens United president David Bossie, May 9, 2015, during a focus group at the South Carolina Freedom Summit.
"Marie Harf -- or "Barf" whatever you prefer …"-- Pundit Mark Levin, March 24, 2015, referring to State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf.
Comment: Levin is name-calling, using a term of disgust to refer to someone he disagrees with. There has to be a way to care about and fight for the Constitution and conservative values – as Levin does – without referring to other people as vomit, doesn't there?
"Get out of here, you low-life scum."-- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), January 29, 2015. McCain was referring to Code Pink protesters, who had interrupted a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Republicans are immoral scum-- The headline of an article by pundit "old mark", November 15, 2013.
Referring to TV pundit Melissa Harris-Perry, Doyle says the "bitchy broad factor" is on show at MSNBC. He says of the "self-absorbed ninny" Harris-Perry, "She's just a steaming turd on the side of the road of life … Something you get on the bottom of your shoe and you can't scrape off".-- Radio pundit Jerry Doyle, November 21, 2012. Doyle was responding to Harris-Perry's commentary on Thanksgiving.
Comment: This is just name-calling. If Doyle disagrees with Harris-Perry's views about Thanksgiving, then he should explain why. But he can do that without resorting to the language of disgust.
The Scum of the Earth: GOP Senator Blocks Bill to Increase Benefits for Veterans-- Headline to an article by pundit William Rivers Pitt, September 27, 2012.
Sherrod Brown, another puke-- Pundit Mark Levin, September 7, 2012. Levin was referring to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), whose reelection campaign that day released an ad criticizing his opponent, Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R). The ad referred to an August 19, 2012, column by Joe Hallett, senior editor at The Columbus Dispatch, accusing Mandel of adopting "big lie" theory.
During the Holocaust years (1933-1945), the Nazis frequently referred to Jews as germs, bacilli, cancer, vermin, parasites, and lice. … During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the Hutu commonly referred to the Tutsi as Inyenzi or cockroaches. During the genocide in Darfur, Sudan (2003 to present [late 2007]), the black Africans of Darfur have been referred to as "dogs" and "slave dogs." In that region of the world dogs are seen as some of the lowliest creatures on earth and the term "slave" is the worst slur that can be used against another human being.-- From the Dictionary of Genocide, by Paul R. Bartrop and Samuel Totten, published November 30, 2007.
Comment: This is a good survey of "disgust" rhetoric from recent history.
Republican scum of hollywood-- Title of a list of conservatives and Republicans compiled by pundit "Christ was Socialist", May 4, 2004.