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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

“You cunt-lapping dog!”

posted by on December 4 at 11:12 AM

Ah, our national pastime. Baseball, that is, not cunnilingus.

The quotation headlining this story comes from a memo written in 1898 for circulation among players in the National League. The issue: obscene language used by ballplayers within earshot of women and children, damaging the image of purity and cleanliness the game tried to promote. The memo recently showed up among stray items in a late baseball historian’s estate, and will be up for auction next year. Go here and click on the images for blow-ups.

Two things make this document remarkable: first, it actually quotes the objectionable language. Nowadays, any such official memorandum would use euphemisms or other double talk. But our forebears in the last Gilded Age knew better.

That such brutal language as “You cock-sucking son of a bitch!” “You prick-eating bastard!” “You cunt-lapping dog!” “Kiss my ass you son of a bitch!” “A dog must have fucked your mother when she made you!” “I fucked your mother, your sister, your wife!” “I’ll make you suck my ass!” “You cock-sucker!” and many other revolting terms are used by a limited number of players to intimidate umpires and opposing players is vouched for by the almost unanimous assertion of those invited to speak and who are competent to speak from personal knowledge.

Second, this memo reminds us that the Good Old Days were just like nowadays. The cultural myth that America in the past was a more polite, less conflicted place, is right-wing bullshit of the first order, and items like this that bring us back to the fulsome filthiness of the past are invaluable. Maybe copies should be printed up and handed out to the Politeness Police at Safeco when they eject hapless Mariners’ fans for the tame chant of “Yankees suck!” Which they do, the ass-sucking sons of bitches. And don’t get me started on the cock-sucking Red Sox either.

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The Red Sox kick ass.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 4, 2007 11:16 AM

I would probably have greater interest in baseball if it had (more?) cunnilingus in it.

Posted by Gloria | December 4, 2007 11:21 AM

Is that about fans being ejected for chanting "Yankees Suck"?

Posted by Mike | December 4, 2007 11:24 AM

The thought of guys with vandyke beards and round glasses shouting such insults from the stands is hilarious.

Posted by Greg | December 4, 2007 11:28 AM

> The cultural myth that America in the past was a more polite, less conflicted place, is right-wing bullshit of the first order, and items like this that bring us back to the fulsome filthiness of the past are invaluable.

Isn't that making the same assumption as the right-wing bullshit, i.e., that America used to be a certain way, and it should stay that way?

Posted by Andrew | December 4, 2007 11:42 AM



Posted by Mr. Poe | December 4, 2007 11:43 AM

My baseball roto team name for 2008 may just have to be "Cunt-Lapping Dogs"

Posted by Diane | December 4, 2007 12:04 PM

My 100 year old grandmother had the bullet casings from a school shoot out... Well it was more of a gun duel old-west-style in the middle of town where she was growing up in eastern Washington. Long before the invention of the High School Metal Detector. The way things were is over-rated - now you only have to go outside to shit if you're in a tent.

Posted by NOSaturn | December 4, 2007 12:04 PM

@7 : we still need a name for our new soccer club, no?

Posted by infrequent | December 4, 2007 12:10 PM

Au contraire @5:

Chicago Fan isn't making an assumption about previously held cultural norms, rather he's citing a specific, easily verifiable example to make the point that such idealization of our social, political, or cultural landscape is, at best naive, and at worst, an attempt to rewrite the historical narrative, just as when for instance, political candidates decry the diminishment of "civility" in contemporary political discourse, whereas the historical record in fact clearly indicates there has never really been any extensive period of time in which such gentility was actually practiced.

Posted by COMTE | December 4, 2007 12:28 PM

@9 - I thought we decided Green River Killers?

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 4, 2007 12:34 PM

A writer friend of mine was complaining that the dialogue in Deadwood wasn't period. I will have to show this to her to counter her assertion that people in the late nineteenth century wouldn't say "cocksucker" every fourth word like Al Swearengen does.

Posted by flamingbanjo | December 4, 2007 12:50 PM

and people say rimming and blowjob's started in the 60's

Posted by Jiberish | December 4, 2007 4:26 PM

@ 10

Okay, so Chicago Fan's old-timey America is more grounded in fact, but he's still assuming that because old-time America was a certain way, modern America should also be that way.

Posted by Andrew | December 4, 2007 6:07 PM

Where does he state that he believes it should be that way, instead of that it still is that way(so deal with it)?

Posted by Chris in Tampa | December 4, 2007 11:17 PM

@10 and 15

Thanks for perceptive reading.


Posted by Chicago Fan | December 5, 2007 11:55 AM

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