"Shit Happens"

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 31 00:03:11 UTC 2004

Fred Shapiro wrote:
>The earliest hit on Nexis for "shit happens" is Washington Post, 8 June
>1988, referring to a bumper sticker.  There is some slightly earlier
>evidence on Google groups.
>Can anyone shed any other light on the early history of this expression?
>Jesse, what is the earliest evidence in the HDAS files? the OED files?

I moved from Florida to Connecticut in January 1988. Around the time
I was planning the move (fall 1987) a friend of mine in Florida had a
"Shit happens" bumper sticker on his pick-up (or was it "How's my
driving? 1-800-EAT-SHIT?). Around that time, there was a move in
Florida to ban "obscene bumper stickers".
<http://brechner.org/report_censorship.asp>, at the University of
Florida College of Journalism, lists a number of headlines concerning
this move, the earliest in May 1988. Perhaps the actual articles
(which there don't seem to be links to on the Brechner site) would
give examples of the bumper stickers that were deemed objectionable
enough to prompt such a proposed (and, I believe, ultimately enacted)

Alice Faber                                             faber at haskins.yale.edu
Haskins Laboratories                                  tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                     fax (203) 865-8963

More information about the Ads-l mailing list