Johnson 'penis'

Patrick L. Courts courts at AIT.FREDONIA.EDU
Fri May 14 19:12:32 UTC 1999

JOHNSON as ' penis' was relatively common in my lower middle-class white
neighborhood on the Southside Chicago--circa 1958.

At 03:06 PM 5/14/99 -0400, you wrote:
>There is a whole famous series of semi-obscene tee shirts that play off on
>the double entendre of JOHNSON 'penis' and JOHNSON the brand name for an
>outboard boat motor. The folks depicted on the tee-shirts are all white. When
>I mentioned this semester that JOHNSON = 'penis' in AAVE, several of my
>students cited the tee-shirts as evidence that JOHNSON = 'penis' is now
>general American slang.
>The first time I ever heard JOHNSON = 'penis' was from a working-class black
>guy at a public meeting in Durham, NC; for him, JOHNSON seemed to be a polite
>euphemism for 'penis'.

NOTE: My carpal tunnel syndrome has forced me to use a voice program as
much as possible. Since computers are inherently stupid and language is
incredibly complex, voice programs make many errors. Many of the errors
they make are rather unusual: sometimes the program just adds words like
"to, of, the, are, etc." It also makes errors with there/their to-two-too
etc. I try to take care of this with proof reading, but I often miss them
in email. Please excuse such errors.

Patrick L. Courts
Dept. of English
SUNY--Fredonia, NY

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