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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Today in Motherfuckers

posted by on March 27 at 12:44 PM

Part the Motherfucking First: Wikipedia says the earliest use of “motherfucker” was from the records of the Texas Court of Appeals in 1889. But the first usage cited by the Oxford English Dictionary is in 1918: “You low-down Mother Fuckers can put a gun in our hands but who is able to take it out?”

The sentence seems to be from a letter to Crisis, the journal edited by W.E.B. Du Bois, regarding an article about black American soliders and WWI.

Part the Motherfucking Second: From a photograph of a school, sent today by my friend Nevdon, who teaches the children of foreign ambassadors in India:


Part the Motherfucking Third: From DAMN! A Book of Calumny by H. L. Mencken:

Herbert Spencer’s objection to swearing, of which so much has been made by moralists, was not an objection to its sinfulness but an objection to its charm. In brief, he feared comfort, satisfaction, joy. The boarding houses in which he dragged out his gray years were as bare and cheerless as so many piano boxes. He avoided all the little vices and dissipations which make human existence bearable: good eating, good drinking, dancing, tobacco, poker, poetry, the theatre, personal adornment, philandering, adultery. He was insanely suspicious of everything that threatened to interfere with his work. Even when that work halted him by the sheer agony of its monotony, and it became necessary for him to find recreation, he sought out some recreation that was as unattractive as possible… Brought to bay by his human need for a woman, he directed his fancy toward George Eliot, probably the most unappetizing woman of his race and time. Drawn irresistibly to music, he avoided the Fifth Symphony and “Tristan und Isolde,” and joined a crowd of old maids singing part songs around a cottage piano. John Tyndall saw clearly the effect of all this and protested against it, saying, “He’d be a much nicer fellow if he had a good swear now and then.”

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Where does "cocksucker" come from?

Posted by elswinger | March 27, 2007 1:15 PM

I would never have thought that "Mother's Mount" was dirty, but then again I came of age prior to Beavis and Butt-head. Now every word is dirty thanks to them.

Posted by Matt from Denver | March 27, 2007 2:20 PM

During some installment of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour, el boba talks about "Spodieodie" as an early 20th century euphemism for "motherfucker." As in the Outkast song "Spodieodiedopaliciousangel," for a current example.

Posted by Travis | March 27, 2007 2:33 PM

The only usage I know of that word is from the Lionel Hampton version of the song "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee."

And I never understood what it meant.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | March 27, 2007 2:56 PM

I've got a couple versions of "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee-O" and in none of them could you replace that word with Mother Fucker.

Posted by elswinger | March 27, 2007 3:05 PM

Here you go, motherfuckers:


Listen to the May 10th show.

Posted by Travis | March 27, 2007 3:29 PM

Actually, in the Hampton version, he sings:

"Drink wine spo-dee-o-dee, drink wine.
And pass that bottle to me."

Which could easily be a euphemism for "motherfucker."

Posted by Brendan Kiley | March 27, 2007 4:35 PM

Check out the This American Life episode, "81 Words." "Motherfucker" has an extended cameo.

Posted by PBH | March 28, 2007 2:11 AM

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