"congressional meat-puppet"..........!

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Aug 7 15:00:10 UTC 2009

To get back on topic...

Another meaty sci-fi putdown is "meatbag" -- as used by the robot
Bender on the show "Futurama". Discussed by Mark Peters here:

The most catchy and common insult debuted in the very first episode
“Space Pilot 3000,” when Fry questions the true shininess of Bender’s
hindquarters, who replies, “Shinier than yours, meatbag.” Then in the
third episode, Bender—ever the thoughtful dinner companion—said,
“Cheer up, meatbag. You barely touched your amoeba.” Much later, in
“Amazon Women in the Mood”, Fry’s probable death is pre-mourned by
Bender (“I’ll miss you, meatbag”) and Leela (“Me too, meatbag”). In
the most recent episode, the direct-to-DVD movie The Beast With a
Billion Backs, Bender uses the word three times, showing his
diabolical (“Too long have we been slaves to the meatbags!”) and
cuddly (“I love you meatbags”) feelings on the subject. And in the
preview for the next DVD release, Bender’s Game, he asks some kids,
“What you doin’, mini-meatbags, shootin’ craps?” coining the awesomest
nickname for kids since house ape.
Though this meaning is new, meatbag isn’t: an OED quote from 1848
shows it used to mean the tummy region: “Dick was as full of arrows as
a porkypine: one was sticking right through his cheek, one in his meat
bag.” Meat is the meat of many other Bender-propelled insults,
including slabs of immaturity that are linked by the word (meatloaf,
meatball) and the category (pork-pouch, pork pie, sausage link,
beefball). In Bender’s hard drive, human and pig and cattle and
breakfast are all part of one grossly mammalian family, as we are.

On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 12:45 PM, Dave Wilton<dave at wilton.net> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET>
> Subject:      Re: "congressional meat-puppet"..........!
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> And there is the 1994 SF short story, "They're Made of Meat," by Terry
> Bisson. This was an much-copied story on the internet about ten years ago.
> Very popular.
> http://www.setileague.org/articles/meat.htm
> Made into a video:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaFZTAOb7IE
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
> Benjamin Zimmer
> Sent: Friday, July 31, 2009 9:08 AM
> Subject: Re: "congressional meat-puppet"..........!
> On Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 12:01 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>> So where does the "meat" part come from?
> It's a pejorative for a human who acts like a puppet. "Meat" = human (or
> human-ish). Cf. "meatspace" vs. "cyberspace".
> William Gibson used "meat puppet" to mean "a person with a neural cut out
> chip;
> the chip allows computer software to completely control their actions":
> http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/content.asp?Bnum=1439
> --Ben Zimmer
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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