Village Voice / "X sucks" (1967)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Aug 6 19:02:43 UTC 2009

On Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 2:54 PM, Benjamin Zimmer<bgzimmer at> wrote:
> I went looking for "X sucks" = 'X is bad' and found this article from
> 1967. I believe it may be the earliest known example from a publicly
> printed source. The earliest cites that I'm aware of come from a 1963
> letter by James Blake ("I wrote on the wall, ‘Franz Kafka sucks'") and
> a 1964 journal entry by Herbert Huncke ("Consuela sucks").
> ---
> "Scenes," _Village Voice_, Aug. 17, 1967, p. 8
> It was their big chance. The management of the Electric Circus was
> impressed with the Group Image as they played to thousands in St.
> Mark's Place Saturday night, and offered them an audition, in the form
> of a free dance, Sunday afternoon.
> The psychedelic tent was overflowing the next afternoon, but the Image
> was irked. The air conditioning, they complained was off and the
> bathrooms were locked. They paused to tell the audience that "the
> Electric Circus sucks."
> That blew the audition, but the band played on, pausing occasionally
> for another insult. It was getting pretty raunchy.
> But the Circus had the last word. A hastily lettered slide flashed
> onto the screen behind the stage. It read "The Group Image Sucks," and
> the Image, amidst a forest of erect middle fingers, packed up and
> left.
> ---

And from later that year...

1967 _Village Voice_ 7 Dec. 3/2 He was arrested for criminal mischief
after he painted "COPS SUCK" on the second paddy-wagon.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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