Extension of Tourette's

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sun Apr 6 10:21:43 UTC 2008

On Apr 5, 2008, at 6:40 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Extension of Tourette's
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 4:43 PM -0700 4/5/08, Benjamin Barrett wrote:
>> In an interview of Chris Rock by Ed Condran in the Seattle Times (NW
>> Ticket & Movie Times, 4-10 April 2008), Rock uses the terms "a mild
>> form of Tourette's" and "comedic Tourette's".
>> -----
>> Q: You have a great way of saying anything. Where did you learn that?
>> A: I don't know. It's a mild form of Tourette's. I remember about a
>> year and a half ago. {sic} I went to a a Mets game. I was talking to
>> [Mets manager] Willie Randolph. The lineup is being made. I look at
>> the lineup. I see Moises Alou and Shawn Green. I say, 'What is this,
>> the '89 All-Star game?'
>> Q: What did Willie say?
>> A: He laughed. But it's comedic Tourette's. Sometimes it might be
>> best
>> if I keep my mouth shut.
>> -----
>> I wonder if the connection between Rock's comment to Randolph and
>> Tourette's is that Rock is "bad mouthing."
> I'd guess it's not quite that.  Actually, the familiar association of
> Tourette's with coprolalia (uttering strings of obscenities) is
> a...well, "misnomer" (cf. e.g.
> http://www.tourettes-disorder.com/symptoms/coprolalia.html), but
> there's a more general association of Tourette's with saying the
> first thing that comes out of your mouth without self-monitoring that
> I think is more relevant here.  After all, the Mets comment might
> have been impolitic (teasing Willie about his players' advanced age),
> but hardly obscene or even insulting.
> LH, a member of the TSA (Tourette Syndrome Association)

Thanks for the correction on this. I read the Wikipedia explanation of
Tourette's, but I was so focused on the idea of Rock being a comedian
and cussing, that I didn't consider this.

Uses like this can either enlighten people about Tourette's or mislead
them like I was, and is a possible source of change either way. BB

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list