that sucks

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Fri Mar 28 02:14:09 UTC 2008

"THERE IS NO GRAVITY--THE UNIVERSE SUCKS" is the way that I first saw
it, as a graffito in pencil on the outside wall of the mess hall at
Fort Devens, MA, in November of 1959. I took it as a pun based on
"suck" = perform fellatio. That is, gravity can be conceived of
literally as a form of sucking, but "sucking" brings to mind
"performing fellatio" and gravity *can't* be conceived of literally as
a form of sucking in *that* sense and, if you *try* to conceive of it
that way, you have to laugh.

You know, the *only* other place that I've ever come across this is in
any form is here in ADS-L discussions.



On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 8:07 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> 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: that sucks
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  At 7:55 PM -0400 3/27/08, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
>  >I'm not sure what it is that Dennis is remembering here from his adolescence;
>  >"X sucks" = 'X stinks' was not in use in the 50s, and not widely used until
>  >the late 60s and early 70s. Sounds like post facto codger
>  >etymoloogizing to me!
>  >
>  >If my memory is correct, people did sometimes say things like, "Does she
>  >suck?" meaning "Will she fellate one?"--but it was used only for people.
>  >
>  >I am about the same age as Dennis, and like him I remember being confused in
>  >the late 1960s at something someone had written on a bathroom wall: "The
>  >Universe sucks."
>  Wasn't the full quote
>  or "THE EARTH SUCKS", depending on your theory?
>  LH
>  >But not merely because I could not imagine the universe fellating
>  >someone--this use of 'sucks' simply did not compute with ANY of my known uses
>  >of "suck" ("suck up to," "suck the gravied finger," "suck eggs," etc.)--except
>  >that they all were pejorative. There was no reason for me to focus on oral
>  >sex (and I think I have as dirty a mind as Dennis!).
>  >
>  >
>  >In a message dated 3/27/08 6:39:47 PM, preston at MSU.EDU writes:
>  >
>  >
>  >>  Us 50's kids (well, teenagers) knew exactly what sexual act was
>  >>  referred to; the first time we saw "The earth sucks," we didn't know
>  >>  quite what to make of it.
>  >>
>  >>  dInIs
>  >>
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >**************
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>  >Home.
>  >       (
>  >ncid=aolhom00030000000001)
>  >
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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

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