July 6, 2012

"I enjoy your ideas and content, but mostly avoid your blog because of the juvenile vulgarity that appears all over it."

Email from a guy who signs his name with Ph.D. after it, quoting somebody somewhere who wrote "Sorry, I have to call BS on this" and adding "This is how an adult with class handles this phrase in a blog." In other words, this is somebody objecting to my use of the word "bullshit" when calling bullshit.

Adult with class.

Actually, I don't think it's classy to say "BS." Either say bullshit or don't. It's like telling someone who announces "I've got to take a piss" that he should have said "I've got to go pee pee." Either say "bullshit" or don't, but I'm calling bullshit on the candyass substitute "BS."

Once again, I will recommend the serious philosophical book "On Bullshit," by Harry G. Frankfurt. Frankfurt identifies "humbug" as the closest polite alternative to "bullshit." Also: balderdash, claptrap, hokum, drivel, buncombe, imposture, and quackery.

He doesn't mention "BS," which I think is embarrassingly prissy and unnatural. I've never been around people who say "BS." Maybe somewhere, there are the "adults with class" who say "BS." If you find them and like them, go ahead and read their blogs. I'm sure they're fucking scintillating.

128 comments:

Icepick said...

Either say bullshit or don't.

Fuckin' A, Professor. Fuckin' goddamned A.

cubanbob said...

Oh my! We are feisty this morning!

Portia said...

Ph.D. means 'phuckin dork' doesn't it?

Bob Ellison said...

And profane!

Some people don't like profanity that much, though. I have grown more fond of it in recent years, but I still filter my speech and writing.

In other words: let the man have his preferences. You're being too harsh.

SteveR said...

That's "frickin" right

EDH said...

Hell, I come here for the "juvenile vulgarity".

God, An Original A-hole said...

I went to buy that Bullshit book at my local Barnes & Noble. It was tiny! I thought, "This should be a fucking blog post, not a book! Bullshit!"

Bought a large Iced Mocha instead, browsed the many explicit "sexuality" books, and left...

EDH said...

And notice from yesterday Chris Christie has decided that "Hell" is now in the okay column for political speech, at least when you're cutting through the BS, er, I mean bullshit.

Marshal said...

Did you choose this philosphy of expression so when the the academic left attacks it you can mock them with the same taunts they use on people who prefer not to discuss their thoughts while masturbating? Or is that a fortuitous byproduct?

Scott M said...

There is an entire raft of "shock" jocks around the country, working on rock, alternative, or active rock formats, that have been using "effing" on the air as a substitute for "fucking", going so far as to say "mother effing".

To me, this is far more prissy and sackless than BS as opposed to bullshit. A different context, but in this example, the people in question are TRYING to sound edgy and provocative (read as juvenile) and being forced to censor themselves due to broadcast rules.

My broadcast days ended just before this trend. We were incredibly juvenile, but didn't resort to what amounts to a lazy way of being filthy. The fun was in being completely and utterly graphic without hitting the listener over the head with a frying pan. double entendres were the rule and, frankly, more subtle and more fun than "effing".

Who in their right mind, in the middle of an organic flow of emotionally charged words, would stop and consciously insert "effing" when "fucking" is more natural.

Frankly, when I hear it, I think the jock is a fucking tool.

Kit said...

There's a card game my in-laws like to play, called 'Bullshit'. My MIL also had a cuss-cup, which, of course, got quite full on late-night card games.

(Also, baloney.)

jacksonjay said...

Is it vulgarity or profanity?

Tom Spaulding said...

My next paycheck that Dr. PhD voted for "Health care is a big fucking deal" Obama/Biden and not 'Clymer is a major-league asshole" Bush/Cheney.

Double your standards, double your fun.

MadisonMan said...

There's is absolutely nothing more puncture-worthy than a person who throws their PhD around when it's unrelated to what they're talking about.

Sincerely, Dr. MadisonMan

Ann Althouse said...

I would never say "bullshit" in class, by the way.

And I only say "fuck" when I'm quoting the Supreme Court.

And it's part of the quote.

I don't quote the Supreme Court and then, on my own, comment "fuck."

Even though it would sometimes be apt.

Because I don't like to state my opinion. I like to leave it to the students to draw the conclusions.

Chip Ahoy said...

I too mostly avoid your blog. Then I'm drawn back to it. Like a vortex.

So that it's the first thing I open.

See, like right now, I'm being all avoidy and yet I am forced to say this. Forced, I tell you. Like a compelling force that forces me to put up with all the bs all over the place.

A woman said that to me, I swear too much, and that did have an impact and it did change the way I talk over there. So I use sweary words here so I can be normal and try to keep it clean over there abnormally. Sorry. You can do the same to me if you like, to make it even.

Rohan said...

It's interesting how some swear words have acronyms now. BS, SOB, FU, etc.

In the past, it seems like people would substitute words to render them acceptable: "son of a gun", "dash it" for "damn it", etc.

I wonder if the amount of other acronyms or technical talk in our speech has influenced this development.

syd B. said...

When I see "BS", my inside voice says, "Bullshit". When I see "WTF", same thing. So, to the offended poster, FU and STFU.

Palladian said...

I'm so fucking genteel I could shit.

Regards,
Palladian, BA, BFA, MFA

t-man said...

You need a new tag "Bullshit Civility".

Ann Althouse said...

My mother used to exclaim "fudge!"

Eventually, I realized it meant "fuck."

I'd thought it meant "shit."

ndspinelli said...

Bullshit is a great word. But my fav is horseshit. I coached boys baseball for decades and horseshit was an intricate part of my vocab. It's good because it just describes an action, not a person. "That was a horseshit call", "That was a horseshit pitch, etc.

When my daughter played softball in high school she asked me to coach her summer team but asked me to abandon my favorite word. She swears, but said you just can't do it w/ most girls and I trust her judgement. As I coached softball a couple years I saw she was correct. I let a horseshit fly once and it was like I kicked a puppy.

So, I applaud great words like these and I respect you trying to toughen up women on this issue. You have a long way to go however.

t-man said...

Is all vulgarity juvenile?

I suppose that vulgarity was normalized by the Baby Boomers, who are perpetual juveniles. But what would be adult vulgarity?

AJ Lynch said...

An actress in a sitcom exclaimed "shut the front door" the other night. I thought that was cute.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wbP-ng6u_A

Ann Althouse said...

There's also chickenshit.

Shades of meaning, depending on the animal.

But it's funny that we don't specify even more.

After bull-, horse-, and chicken-.... where do we go? What would it mean?

Saint Croix said...

My mother used to exclaim "fudge!"

Eventually, I realized it meant "fuck."

I'd thought it meant "shit."


That's a good cheer if you're playing against Green Bay.

"You say fudge! I say packer!"

"Fudge!"
"Packer!"
"Fudge!"
"Packer!"

tim maguire said...

My favorites are hokum and buncombe (though I often misspell it bunkum [a close cousin of hokum]).

I do type "BS" from time to time as a sop to the tender sensibilities of my fellow blog readers, which may be cowardly, but not prissy.

Scott M said...

But what would be adult vulgarity?

Vaudeville?

edutcher said...

Actually, I've heard the BS substitute, usually in a professional setting when they figured saying it outright wouldn't sound right.

Also, there were ladies present.

Chivalry lives, it's just on the critical list.


Ann Althouse said...

I would never say "bullshit" in class, by the way.

And I only say "fuck" when I'm quoting the Supreme Court.

And it's part of the quote.


That's just acting in a professional manner.

Lyle said...

Use balderdash instead of bullshit maybe?

Balfegor said...

I've never been around people who say "BS."

People who say "BS?" That is me! Actually, I don't know that I've ever said it more than once or twice ("drivel," "rot," and "rubbish" are my go-to words in spoken speech), but I am certainly the prissy type.

I even blush when cuss words come up as homophones in other languages. One I particularly remember is stammering through 많고 (manko, conjugation of a word meaning "many") in a Korean class, because it sounds the same as a rude Japanese word for a vagina.

Prissy and effete. That's me.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Shades of meaning, depending on the animal.

But it's funny that we don't specify even more.

After bull-, horse-, and chicken-.... where do we go? What would it mean?


Oh, crap who knows where it all will end.

;-)

Joe Schmoe said...

I've used dogshit a lot. Batshit crazy is a good one that I've heard in multiple regions around the country, so it's not too provincial.

ndspinelli said...

Pigshit is a seldom used term but it is pretty much limited to olfactory references. A variation of pigshit is "a pig in shit." It shows our dislike for pigs more than bulls, horses or chickens. Ironic because pigs produce the gateway drug for vegans..BACON. I imagine PETA hates all these words.

Titus said...

My dad called me a suck a titty when I was little.

He would say, "you are such a little suck a titty".

I think it is now what would be called fag.

hugs and tits.

Joe Schmoe said...

I guess I've used dogshit mostly to describe a bad taste; 'this tastes like dogshit'.

Balfegor said...

It's interesting how some swear words have acronyms now. BS, SOB, FU, etc.

My favourite is SOL. Because it doubles with "Statute of Limitations."

Smilin' Jack said...

Who in their right mind, in the middle of an organic flow of emotionally charged words, would stop and consciously insert "effing" when "fucking" is more natural.

Probably Christians. I think they have some kind of proscription against using Jesus' middle name.

deborah said...

I'm so fucking genteel I could shit.

I know. I can feel it all the way over here.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, yes, batshit.

As for dogshit... it doesn't mean anything. You might say something smells like dogshit, but it has no established metaphorical meaning. There's no "dogshit crazy" or "your argument is complete dogshit."

Am I missing something?

DADvocate said...

Hee, hee! Everyone here's saying bullshit, fuck and other naughty words. Giggle.

t-man said...

Pandashit? (I'm working hard to come up with a usage, but I think the mental image is funny.)

smitty1e said...

Pettifoggery.

Saint Croix said...

Frankfurt identifies "humbug" as the closest polite alternative to "bullshit." Also: balderdash, claptrap, hokum, drivel, buncombe, imposture, and quackery.

Nero Wolfe could get away with that. Out of me it would sound pretentious. And none of those words are a proper substitute, because none of them are scatalogical.

Except maybe "claptrap," which the more I think about is really vulgar!

I'll bet I could start a fight in a bar using the word "claptrap."

"Your mother's a claptrap."

Actually, that's a pretty good bar bet. Bet the guy a dollar that I can start a fight in the bar just by using the word "claptrap." And then call his mother a claptrap.

John M Auston said...

My rule is something along the lines of this: the retort should have a shock value about equal to the transgression.

In this light, I applauded the "You lie" shouted at Obama. Much more appropriate than would have been, say, a more respectful "not true".

So if its a mild falsehood, OK to say "BS", else "bullshit" would be preferred.

My actual favorite challenge doesn't even have swears in it:

"That, sir (madam) is a bald-faced lie!"
You can feel the challenge and electricity in the air if you say it with the right inflections.

virgil xenophon said...

This all reminds me of a little HS ditty from the 50s that went(sung to the tune of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"): "They asked me how I knew, that Raccoon shit was blue--Horseshit I said, bullshit you've been fed, Raccoon shit is red" LOL, nothing like juvenile humor..

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"banana oil" "cheese and crackers" "sugar in the mornin' " are all good as well.

I also like using foreign swear words and insults.

A. Shmendrik said...

"Well, then call me sometime when you have no class."


- Thornton Mellon

Irene said...

Piled higher and deeper.

Saint Croix said...

I'm calling bullshit on the candyass substitute "BS."

I'm sure I've said BS before. You've never said BS? Ever?

Sometimes you just want to flirt with vulgarity. Sometimes a poo is all you need.

Patrick said...

I use "BS" all the time.

Steve Koch said...

"I'm sure they're fucking scintillating."

Awesome sentence (and that is no bs).

Joe Schmoe said...

Am I missing something?

As I said, to me it connotes a bad taste, but that could be particular to my own idiomatic usage. Not sure if it's viewed that way by others.

The etymology, for me, derives from how many human cultures use 'dog' as a pejorative term when applied to one's social status, such as insulting someone by saying they are a dog. I believe that comes up in native American culture. Probably biblical as well.

Jay Vogt said...

"Batshit" seems to have carved out its own unique and useful niche.

Anyway, I see as much that's batshit crazy as I do bullshit lying. But, maybe I'm just lucky that way.

Quaestor said...

In case I haven't mentioned it before I'm a great fan of Penn & Teller's late great Showtime series Bullshit! They did eight seasons, hardly scratching the surface of the ocean of bullshit out there, and then got cancelled. Penn explained how they chose the series title:

"You'll notice more obscenity than we usually use, not just because it's on Showtime and we want to get some attention, it's also a legal matter. If one calls people liars and quacks one can be sued and loose a lot of one's money. But motherfuckers and assholes -- it's pretty safe. If we said it was all scams we could also be in trouble, but bullshit, oddly, is safe. So forgive all the bullshit language, we're trying to talk about the truth with spending the rest of our lives in court because of litigious motherfuckers."

Ph.D = piled higher and deeper.

Comanche Voter said...

Huey Long had "class" of the sort that Mr. PhD is peddling. He said that he offered high cockalorum in one end of the state of Louisiana and low cockahirum in the other end.

You see how you can turn two syllables--whether BS or the earthier bull shit" into five syllables? Only a PhD or a master politician--each purveyors of the same barnyard excrement (five, count 'em five syllables) can turn two perfectly understandable syllables into five.

Your Mr. PhD is Huey Long come back to haunt us all.

dbp said...

Using abbreviations is sometimes apt. For instance, it is quite common in dinner table conversation that I would want to communicate the word Shit out of Luck to my wife, but not offend my children. So I use SOL and if they ask, I'll say Short on Luck. My wife knows what I mean and the kids are mollified.

t-man said...

Expanding the discussion, there's the phrase "Does a bear shit in the woods?" to mean "Yes, of course, you dope." This phrase is, of course, an earthy alternative to "Is the Pope Catholic?"

I like to mix up the phrases and respond to a stupid question where the answer is obviously yes: "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" This leaves the questioner puzzled for just an instant and eases the insult to the his intelligence.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I think it's Larry Niven in whose science fiction "censored," "unprintable," "bleep," and the like had been used so long in place of profane language that they in fact became profane language, so that saying "unprintable" then was just like saying "fuck" today.

(Actually, I think Heinlein does this too. I could swear that there's a terrific example in Farnham's Freehold, but I can't find it quickly.)

Colonel Angus said...

I can understand and appreciate the individual who emailed you. Juvenile vulgarity has no place on a blog of this calibre. The only thing more offensive is sexual innuendo.

Lauderdale Vet said...

:: stands ::

:: clap, clap, clap ::

Freeman Hunt said...

I use "quackery" often.

My husband and I have trained ourselves to use only G-rated interjections. I favor the unremarkable "shoot" and "darn." My husband, when pressed by a particularly stressful moment, will come out with the very entertaining "dadgummit."

Ann Althouse said...

The OED on "humbug":

Etymology: A slang or cant word which came into vogue c1750.

(An earlier date has been given in several Dictionaries, on the ground of the occurrence of the word in the title of F. Killigrew's Universal Jester, which the Slang Dictionary dates ‘about 1735–40’. But the earliest ed. of that work is dated by Lowndes 1754; see below.)

Many guesses at the possible derivation of humbug have been made; but as with other and more recent words of similar introduction, the facts as to its origin appear to have been lost, even before the word became common enough to excite attention. Compare the following:

1751 Student Jan. II. 41 There is a word very much in vogue with the people of taste and fashion, which though it has not even the ‘penumbra’ of a meaning, yet makes up the sum total of the wit, sense and judgement of the aforesaid people of taste and fashion!..I will venture to affirm that this Humbug is neither an English word, nor a derivative from any other language. It is indeed a blackguard sound, made use of by most people of distinction! It is a fine, make-weight in conversation, and some great men deceive themselves so egregiously as to think they mean something by it!

Quaestor said...

Saint Croix wrote:
I'll bet I could start a fight in a bar using the word "claptrap."

You could well start one here. Perhaps I'll throw the first punch. Your use of claptrap implies a meaning the word doesn't possess. (I get it -- claptrap, contagion, STD, your mother is a trojan horse of disease, etc. -- a weak pun nevertheless)

According to Wiktionary claptrap means empty verbiage or nonsense. A person may speak claptrap but cannot be claptrap. Ergo your bar fight trigger, your mother is a claptrap, is not so much an insult as nonsense, an example of claptrap itself.

Wiktionary also gives an interesting etymology. Claptrap derives from 18th century theatre slang referring to theatrical techniques or gags used to incite applause, which instantly reminded me of the execrable Norman Lear.

Henry said...

I think it's Larry Niven in whose science fiction "censored," "unprintable," "bleep," and the like had been used so long in place of profane language that they in fact became profane language, so that saying "unprintable" then was just like saying "fuck" today.

My 10-year-old son thought he could walk around yelling "F WORD" and get away with it. Not so.

Even quite innocuous words have been struck from the 10-and-under lexicon in our house, based on intent.

Someday the rules will fade away. Once they get a handle on managing intent, I don't care what words they use.

campy said...

I wonder what Dr. Classy thinks of The Won flippin' off people in debates?

davis,br said...

Althouse goes Ace of Spades?

+1, Professor, +1.

Jason Keenan said...

Althouse descends into profanity-laced madness. Readers rejoice.

Synova said...

I got in trouble for saying "pissed" in front of my parents. (I was explaining that something happened and my horse was "pissed.")

And I grew up understanding that some people disapproved of "gosh" and "gee whiz" because choosing a different word to use to replace "God" or "Jesus" was still swearing.

Grammatically, of course, this is true. Saying "fudge" instead of something else, or "gosh darn it", is still using the linguistic formulas of cursing. If you replace a curse word with a nonsense word, everyone understands what was replaced. The meaning is derived from their placement.

In some ways the words themselves, particularly *those* words, are irrelevant.

The arguments I grew up with not to use bad language seem sound to me. You don't take the name of God in vain because it's a sin, and as for the potty language, it signifies a sad lack of vocabulary. Also, if all the bad words are taken up in day-to-day expressions, it leaves nothing for emphasis when events are unusual.

Pissed just means annoyed. Why not say annoyed instead?

Instead of exchanging BS for bullshit to avoid vulgarity, why not say this is all a lie? If one is aiming for a measure of loftiness, BS doesn't do it. If the situation calls for a "lower" register, just use the lower word. If the situation calls for emphasis, use the more emphatic word.

Synova said...

Penn: "So forgive all the bullshit language, we're trying to talk about the truth with spending the rest of our lives in court because of litigious motherfuckers."

Ah, yes. This would be a good reason not to simply say "this is a lie".

Sumbunnyluvsu said...

My late father's favorite joke - two men meet who haven't seen each other for a while. Bob asks Tom how he's been - Tom goes on and on about how successful he is, how beautiful his wife is, etc. All the while Tom is boasting, Bob is commenting "Fabulous!" When Tom finally gets around to asking Bob what he's been up to, Bob divulges that he's been attending finishing school. Tom asks Bob what he's learned - Bob says for one thing, he's learned to say "Fabulous!" instead of "Bullshit!"

So people who know me well always get a good laugh when I say "Fabulous!" to someone who is seriously pissing me off with their bullshit.

Quaestor said...

I think [Christians] have some kind of proscription against using Jesus' middle name.

Jesus fuckin' Christ. I've heard that before, the last time from my own lips when I tried to tried to import Fireworks HTML into Dreamweaver and discovered the Javascript didn't go with it. Jesus fucking Christ, that was frustrating! But I don't think "fucking" is his middle name. Whatever it is it starts with an S.

furious_a said...

I double-darn-dare you to call *this* guy juvenile.

Quaestor said...

Penn: "So forgive all the bullshit language, we're trying to talk about the truth with spending the rest of our lives in court because of litigious motherfuckers."

Jesus S. Christ! I misquoted Penn via a stupid typo. The quote is "So forgive all the bullshit language, we're trying to talk about the truth without spending the rest of our lives in court because of litigious motherfuckers."

... motherfuckin' typos will be the death of me.

furious_a said...

I think they have some kind of proscription against using Jesus' middle name.

All we know is the middle initial -- "H".

WTF aka 'Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot'.

MartyH said...

I had an epiphany regarding the word "shit" when I was visiting relatives in Wisconsin. One of them had to muck the barn after milking and said "I've got to go clean up the shit" as matter of factly as saying she had to do the dishes. To me, "shit" was an abstraction and a profanity, and had a certain power; to her, it was something she waded into and cleaned up twice daily, and was just part of her life.

Basically, I concluded that I didn't know shit.

God, An Original A-hole said...

@ Synova -

If the situation calls for a "lower" register, just use the lower word. If the situation calls for emphasis, use the more emphatic word.

Because, when choosing the appropriate language, there are more considerations than those-- conveying spontaneity and raw emotion, for example.

Quaestor said...

All we know is the middle initial -- "H".

Yeah, there is the H theory. Come to think of it, He looks like a Harold.

Whiskey said...

Do you every apologize for anything, Ann?

furious_a said...

"You might say something smells like dogshit..."

Good theeng we don' step in it.

Ann Althouse said...

I'll tell you who they were, this female pair,
Lest they should seem princesses in disguise;
Besides, I hate all mystery, and that air
Of clap-trap which your recent poets prize;
And so, in short, the girls they really were
They shall appear before your curious eyes,
Mistress and maid; the first was only daughter
Of an old man who lived upon the water.

Ann Althouse said...

"Do you every apologize for anything, Ann?"

I try to get it right the first time.

But I apologize for typos, for messing up a link, for things that cause readers trouble, etc.

I don't apologize for offending somebody after I've made the conscious decision to write something. I commit, and I defend my decision.

As for my style choices in writing, these are artistic. There's nothing to apologize for. If you don't like my writing, you wouldn't be reading. Who would I even be talking to?

Joe Schmoe said...

My friend's South Korean wife confirms that 'dog' is a vile insult in many Asian countries.

t-man, LOL, but you didn't need to explain it so thoroughly. It's not rocket surgery.

roesch/voltaire said...

Calling something BS makes for a short rejoinder that doesn't require much effort, but then some of the thinking on the right doesn't require more than using the word goofy" instead. As judge Posner recently remarked, “I’ve become less conservative since the Republican Party started becoming goofy,”

Balfegor said...

Re: Quaestor:

According to Wiktionary claptrap means empty verbiage or nonsense. A person may speak claptrap but cannot be claptrap.

No, no, I think the joke was that someone has the clap so she's a . . trap for anyone who . . oh nevermind.

Re: Synova:

Pissed just means annoyed. Why not say annoyed instead?

O I am vext! I am sore annoyed! O fie!

I didn't have quite your upbringing (I am not a Christian and my upbringing was essentially irreligious), but swear words were never part of my parents' vocabulary, and I never really picked them up from my friends. Indeed, I can say that it is only very, very recently (as in, in the last few months) that "fuck" has entered my operative vocabulary of swearwords. And even then, only in private.

Balfegor said...

Re: Joe Schmoe:

My friend's South Korean wife confirms that 'dog' is a vile insult in many Asian countries.

I don't think this is limited to Asian countries -- wasn't it an insult in the West for a long time too? E.g. calling someone a "dog" or a "cur." It survives, partly, in "bitch," I think.

Roger J. said...

I defer to no one in my command of anglo saxon four letter words--you dont spend 25 years in the cavalry without learning every permutation and combination. That said, the words really dont have to be said in polite conversation.

Strelnikov said...

In this context, I believe the proper presentation of the phrase is "fuckin' scintillatin'".

YoungHegelian said...

All this talk about Jesus' names!

Well, the only question I've got is, if Jesus was Jewish, then why does he have a Latino name?

Answer me that, Mr. Smarty-Pants New Testament scholar!

rcocean said...

Its interesting how things have changed. People are now PROUD of profanity. When young, older people swore but regarded it as a bad habit. People who swore in public were regarded as low class losers or vulgarians who couldn't control themselves. Now everyone, even women, think using 4 letters words is some sign they are big bold thinkers who aren't that most awful of things -PRUDES.

Hell, who wants to be a PRUDE? No, everyone wants to be the honest, brave spirit who calls BS - BULLSHIT. NTTATWWT.

Paul Zrimsek said...

And I only say "fuck" when I'm quoting the Supreme Court

Your restraint does you credit. I often say "fuck" when I'm merely thinking of the Supreme Court.

jimspice said...

Fine. ApAps stats are bullshit.

Bob said...

When I'm being profane I'll say horseshit instead of bullshit just to be a little different.

A couple of genteel synonyms for bullshit is rubbish and the late Christopher Hitchens's favorite, piffle. In fact he once referred to something as sinister piffle, which amused me so much that I named a Guild Wars gaming character "Sinister Piffle."

Ann Althouse said...

Posner was always completely different from Scalia. They've always been rivals for what it means to be conservative. Nothing new happened in the Posner-related category.

For the record, I've always thought Posner made more sense than Scalia.

YoungHegelian said...

Here's the real story on how Jesus got his name.

On Epiphany day, the Three Wise men visited the manager. Balthazar steps forward first and lays his gift of gold before the manger. Then, Gasper steps forward and lays down his gift of frankincense beside. The last wise man, Melchior steps forward with his myrrh, but stubs his toe on the corner of the manger. He jumps up and down, holding his hurt foot, screaming "Jesus Christ!". Mary then turns to Joseph and says "So, Joseph, waddya think? It sounds better than Irving!"

Roger J. said...

re the use of Dr for PhDs and MDs--a learned MD once told me that when making that distinction, an MD removes appendices whereas a PhD inserts them.

Chris said...

Am I missing something?

Apeshit, indicating rage.

Chip Ahoy said...

Jeff said also like using foreign swear words and insults.

Sometimes coincidentally the substitution is worse.

The Americans in Japan taught us the word for 'butt' is 'oshiti' which amused us kids greatly because it gave us a pass to say a really super bad word in substitution for a not so bad word, and they still do say that, I think, but it is wrong. There is no 'ti' in Japanese. Until recently by action of Parliament and for the purpose of writing chi is changed ti. But even there it is still wrong because the word for butt is oshiri, which in the new Ramazi is osiri.

Never mind, we said oshiti. MUM! Beverly hit me on the oshiti. hehehehehe

Palladian said...

For the record, I've always thought Posner made more sense than Scalia.

I think both of them are pretty senseless.

William said...

It's not what you say. It's who you say it to and where you say it. In the context of delivering the euology at mom's funeral, I would recommend using BS instead of bullshit and, of course, not wearing shorts. In the context of a blog, we are all pixels in cyberspace and, so far as language goes, nothing is forbidden. I think emoticons and expressions like lol are far more offensive than vulgarities.

AllieOop said...

The German word for fuck is fick. Just thought I'd pass that on.

Balfegor said...

Re: Chip Ahoy:

oshiti

It's oshiri. R not T. In Japanese, the "r" is often an alveolar flap, though, which can sound like a "t" or "d" to American ears. Wikipedia tells me it is common in North American English dialects, which is news to me; I thought it only showed up in RP and other British dialects (this is reflected on their table too).

LordSomber said...

I am loath to cuss around people I don't know. Online, I suppose, is a different matter for a lot of people.
People cuss too much trying to appear edgy, or just rely on it like a crutch in conversation.
If you're gonna cuss, use it to make a fucking point already.

Balfegor said...

Re: Chip:

Oh, should have read further. You explained it right there. Oops.

AllieOop said...

I think the Dutch version is fock.

Ficken Fucken Foken A. What does the A stand for?

Balfegor said...

Re: LordSomber:

People cuss too much trying to appear edgy

I think this is a big thing, especially for young people from posh backgrounds. A lot of them think cussing makes you sound more authentic.

Rusty said...

Well he can kiss my shiny metal ass.

Joe Schmoe said...

Allie Oop, if you read Frank McCourt's memoir Angela's Ashes, he pens the Irish elocution phonetically as 'feck' and 'feckin'.

ndspinelli said...

Prosecution: Objection your honor, the witness, Ms. Althouse was asked if she apoligizes fOR ANYTHING. That requires only a yes or no answer.

Court: Objection sustained. The witness will answer yes or no.

Witness: But your honor, the question was in the context..

Court: Ms. Althouse, this is a courtroom. I've been told you teach law. I sustained the objection and now you need to answer, yes or no.

Witness: But your honor, it's complicated, I..

Court: No, Ms. Althouse it's really quite simple. You are a complicator, but it's not complicated. Answer yes or no or you'll be held in contempt.

Witness: No, I don't ever apologize.

Court: Thank you. Next question counselor.

TomHynes said...

I prefer "For the birds" which is a nicer way of saying "horseshit". Birds prefer horseshit to cowshit because there are more undigested seeds.

traditionalguy said...

Just another word police stuck at toilet training level shame rules and acting as if he is the adult compared to juveniles who actually grew up past age 3.

AllieOop said...

Joe Schmoe, yes I did read it, thanks for reminding me. Okay, now we have Fuckin, Foken, Ficken, and Feckin. Any more?

Rusty said...

What does the A stand for?



Arschlochen(?)

Asshole(s)

Triangle Man said...

"Rat shit, bat shit, dirty old twat! Sixty-nine assholes tied in a knot! Hooray! Lizard shit! Fuck!"

--George Carlin

Rusty said...

People cuss too much trying to appear edgy


Well. Speaking for myself, I'm just fuckin' crude.

Fen said...

Anyone who finds it necessary to place PH.d after their name for a complaint letter should not be taken seriously.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

I am partial to the word balderdash. Just so happens that it was O'Reilly's "Word of the Day" yesterday and earlier in the day I had use of the word as my one word response to a comment full of bullshit.

Elliott A said...

Perchance the rich English of yesteryear obviated (nobody ever uses that word correctly) the need to include vulgarities in everyday speech. In the modern era, the fact that these postings turn up on google searches inhibits otherwise fanciful language from making its way into blogposts, lest some of your clients, patients, etc. take offense. Words out of colorful languages which relatively few people know can be much better than the BS circumlocutions and abbreviations. Yiddish is full of them, many are frequently spoken on radio and tv with the thought police none the wiser.

rcocean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

Just another word police stuck at toilet training level shame rules and acting as if he is the adult compared to juveniles who actually grew up past age 3."

Wrong. Most of the people who use & obsess about profanity (like the rotting in Hell George Carlin) are stuck at the age of 12, still thinking they're being "cool" and shocking mommy and daddy by saying pee-pee, poo-poo, shit, and fuck.

pst314 said...

"Email from a guy who signs his name with Ph.D. after it"

What is his degree in? Being an asshole?

Penny said...

My development was arrested, and formally charged with being juvenile.

I plead "GUILTY"! With pleasure.

ramcharanre said...

I spent a number of years as a Navy Journalist, so the use of gratuitous vulgarity doesn't bother me as much as it does some people. In a perfect world, one could be erudite without being potty-mouthed, but we don't live in a perfect world. Not everyone sees it the same way, so I always attach a "graphic language warning" when I link to her posts.

rasqual said...

I'm a big fan of "blatherskite."

Technically, you could even use "BS" and then if a real prude didn't like THAT, you could say "why? it stands for blatherskite. gotta problem with that?"

The Crack Emcee said...

He doesn't mention "BS," which I think is embarrassingly prissy and unnatural. I've never been around people who say "BS." Maybe somewhere, there are the "adults with class" who say "BS." If you find them and like them, go ahead and read their blogs. I'm sure they're fucking scintillating.

Atta girl!

And "On Bullshit" is brilliant. Glad you read it,...

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann,

After bull-, horse-, and chicken-.... where do we go? What would it mean?

The term is "Fucking-Fuck-Shit," and it means what you think it means - after, like, stubbing your toe or watching your horse lose a race or something.

I really do have to explain everything around here, don't I?

Charlie Eklund said...

Maybe it's time for a "BS bullshit" tag.

Richard Bublitz said...

Personally, I like the word "Drivel" the best. It sounds like something ugly and nasty falling out of ones mouth.