Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Food for Pejorative Thought

Real innovation in expletives and other such colourful and rich linguistic expressions is, unfortunately, few and far between.  Luckily, the varied array of expressions that we do have at our disposal for all manner of social interactions has not begun to stagnate.  Though, we must always be on our guards if we want to ensure that the wide selection of terms we have to express fear, anger, surprise, joy, or triumph; effectively congratulate or denigrate deserving parties in accordance with our best understanding of the principals of Social Karmic Justice; or simply enhance our everyday speech with precisely placed, expertly executed displays of linguistic diversity.

Fortunately, we have a solid base built upon strong foundation of expletives: from the classics fuck, shit, ass, bitch, cock, pussy, and cunt to those with a religious etymology like Jesus Christ or goddamn  all the way down to their milder cousins hell, damn, dick, and balls.  Douchebag has also made a well-documented comeback in recent times, for which, I'm sure, we are all now thankful.  From these basic building blocks, innovators the English-speaking world over have concocted devilishly creative variations.  There are, of course, countless well-known compound words building off of the basics: asshole, cocksucker, bullshit, horse shit, dog shit, etc.  From there, one can also go to "pure," expletive-only variants: "shitdick," "assfuck," "Jesus fucking Christ."  Then there are more advanced combinations. 

Take shit for example; it's one of the crown princes of swear words and practically an institution unto itself.  In addition to the various *insert animal name here* + shit variations, there are other combinations like "shitfaced" and even more advanced versions like "shit for brains," "shit out of luck," "full of shit," "shit-eating grin," and "built like a brick shithouse."   

Then, of course, there's a personal favourite of mine - fuck - which is an institution unto itself.  I mean, there are few phrases in the English language more void of ambiguity than the old favourite "Go fuck yourself!"  Then you have "fucker," "fuckwad," "fuckface," "motherfucker," "skull-fuck," "butt-fuck," "fuck you," "fuck off," and "fuck me."  Fuck is also a great tool to employ because not only can it be used as practically any part of speech, it can also be used to internally modify individual words, for example "fan-fucking-tastic" or "abso-fucking-lutely."  Truly a standout in the entire pantheon.

While the examples I've given are indicative of a much larger repertoire, it is important to continue to branch out and explore new alternatives and combinations.  There are two reasons for this.  First, just as with any linguistic interchange, a wide and varied range of vocabulary helps to keep the audience engaged by eliminating unnecessary or avoidable repetition.  Secondly, as is always the case with clear and effective communication, specificity is key.  Capturing the particular nuances of each situation is a challenge that even the most cunning linguist must constantly address lest he or she run the risk of falling behind the curve, metaphorically speaking.

That's why I'm always on the lookout for new innovations and variants as a way to more accurately match the infinitely variable situations that we can experience in the universe.  One of my personal favourites is the expression "like old people fuck," as in "You write an email like old people fuck."  It's a great descriptor that evokes some pretty poignant imagery.  Another personal favourite when describing my personal state of being is "I feel like 10 pounds of shit in a 5-pound sack."  One mainstay of my uncle's vernacular that stuck with me was "I wouldn't fuck her with your dick," indicating an individual so aesthetically repugnant that one wouldn't even feel the vicarious thrill of one's friends tapping said ass. 
I remember a particularly innovative variation from a former coworker who was describing how some musician or another dealt with a heckler thusly: "Hey, cocksmoker, why don't you go eat a bag of dicks?"  This is a particularly evocative epithet, as my coworker initially pointed out to me.  The variant "cocksmoker" as opposed to "cocksucker" implied not just an unnatural love of cock but also the individual's savouring of the flavour of cocks merely for flavor sake.  In fact, one might imagine the target of this vitriolic expression enjoying and handling a cock in much the same way Arnold Schwarzenegger or another fellow sophisticate relishes a fine Cuban cigar.  Eating a bag of dicks is even more evocative, perhaps bringing to mind an image of a variation on the glory hole, and incredibly effective in implying that the target enjoys cock so much that he indulges as casually as another might indulge in a bag of potato chips.

Though I wouldn't dare count myself among the top innovators of all time, or even of this generation, I have recently derived my own linguistic variation, a small contribution I would like to offer to others in the hope of - if at least in some small way - adding to the vast dialogue on the subject.  If I can help even one person in some small way by providing the singularly perfect vocabulary for a particular situation, then I will feel as though I have been able to touch the life or lives of a person or numerous people.  And in the end, isn't that what it's all about?

So here it is, my own linguistic variation on a beloved classic:

Shit McMuffin  

I originally stumbled upon this gem while discussing the culinary merits of my wife's meal choice one evening and in my frustration over the prospect of a mediocre supper I texted her something the long the lines of "You can keep your Shit McMuffin to yourself."  It wasn't until further reflection that I realized the wonderful implications of my newly minted phrase and its potential real-world application.

First, I will define its proper usage:

Shit McMuffin noun 

1. an ignorant, repulsive, disliked, or otherwise generally contemptible or worthless person 
(John ate the last Pop-Tart.  He's a real Shit McMuffin.)

2. a vitriolic admonishment to an offending party 
(Hey buddy!  Why don't you go eat a Shit McMuffin?!)

3. a difficult or unpleasant situation or event that one has been forced to endure whether by chance, through the direct intervention of a third party, or by one's own hand 
(Mark's wife has been fucking his brother.  That's a hell of a Shit McMuffin for anybody to swallow.)

4. as an alternative esp. to illustrate the contemptible or undesirable nature of the person or situation at hand (Listen to Garth Brooks?  I'd rather eat a Shit McMuffin.  
I'd rather eat a Shit McMuffin than be seen in public with Sharon.)

Again, as with some of my favourites, I feel that this expression conjures up some great imagery.  When written out, it needs to always be capitalized in order to match the pop culture reference of the McDonalds breakfast sandwich.  This is important in order for the audience or recipient to get the full effect of the visual of the greasy fast food sandwich now garnished with a steaming, oozing pile of shit dripping out from among the existing English muffin and other components.   This expression also conjures up notions of consumerism, in this case satirically represented as all parties involved are involved in a literal economy of shit.  A person or a situation getting called out as worthy of the Shit McMuffin honorific has paid for that classification in a currency of shit.  This makes it even more poignant for there is the implication that the object of this epithet has, in a very real, and conscious way, bought and paid for it of its own accord. 

(As a bonus, shortly after my initial exchange with my wife, I came up with a variation to increase the intensity of the expression: Shit McMuffin with a side of ass browns.  As in, "You fucked my wife and ate my Pop-Tarts all while listening to Garth Brooks?  Buddy, you can eat a Shit McMuffin with a side of ass browns!")  

If you're reading this, then it is my sincerest wish that you take what you've learned here and use it freely where appropriate and also that you continue to experiment in your own life and spread the word.  I would also urge you to send me your own linguistic innovations and variations to keep the metaphysical ball rolling.  Remember, innovation is the key to our survival and our ability to thrive as a species, so it's important to spread the word because we can never be sure what word needs to be spread unless and until we try.   


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