Heard on Futurama: semantic drift?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 7 02:08:27 UTC 2008

Uh, did I mention that this was Futurama, on Comedy Central, a channel
which gives mere lip-service to censorship, only semi-hemi-arsedly
bleeping even "motherfucker" and "Jesus fucking Christ!"?


On Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 9:56 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> 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: Heard on Futurama: semantic drift?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 9:39 PM -0400 8/6/08, Wilson Gray wrote:
>>Robot BE-speaker:
>>"I ain't down with this 'Kwanzaa' _tip_ [there being only a single
>>Kwanzaa gift, a booklet entitled, "What Is Kwanzaa?"]!"
>>Presumably, "'Kwanzaa' _tip_ means "'Kwanzaa' bullshit" or some such.
> Just a substitution of "tip" for "shit" I'd guess, given the fact
> that even on (basic) cable you still can't use any of Carlin's seven
> magic words.
>>In 'Sixties Los Angeles,
>>"That ain't nothin' but a _bullshit tip_"
>>was a common expression meaning something like, "That's a dumb idea";
>>"You actually went for that okey-doke?!" etc. It appears that _tip_
>>alone has taken over the meaning of _bullshit tip_.
> Maybe, but I wonder whether that connection is really active here, or
> if it's just a simple euphemistic substitution.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
 -Sam'l Clemens

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list