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A bureaucracy is like a tree full of monkeys.

Looking down, you see nothing but smiling faces.
Looking up, you see nothing but assholes.

Father, forgive them, for they do not know their ass from a hole in the ground.

Asshole, or ass, is a slang term for the anus,[note 1] an orifice on the bodies of more complex animals for the purpose of purging waste. British English speakers tend to use the equivalent terms arsehole and arse.

It can also be an extremely apt metaphor for an individual who is extremely arrogant, or just regularly spews forth bullshit. I.e., "they're talking out of their asshole", or "they've pulled that fact out of their asshole", or "they do not know their ass from a hole in the ground".

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  1. Well, the "ass" is the whole ass, the "asshole" is just the hole.
  2. Now we’re at the door. And he’s still got me in the bro hug. And he says, 'Come on, those are nothing. Those are softballs.' And he says, 'One more for the road. Give me something with some mustard.' And this is what I said: 'Well, OK, fair enough. My wife and I watched The Apprentice for the first time the other night in preparation for coming over here. And, honestly, the question that kept popping up in my head is: are you as big an asshole as you seem? Or do you just play one on TV? And this is what he did. He dropped my arm like it had caught fire spontaneously, stepped back at least a yard, made that kind of constipated furious pig face he makes, slapped my back, doubled over and popped up laughing like you can't believe and declared, 'Yeah, it's fun, isn't it?'
    —James Dodson, a golf writer and reporter, interview with Donald Trump.[1]


  1. A Day (And A Cheeseburger) With President Trump by Bill Littlefield (May 05, 2017; Updated 2017-05-08 11:00:17) WBUR.