(Canadian) shit-disturbers

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri Sep 21 17:18:32 UTC 2012

On Sep 21, 2012, at 8:01 AM, Larry Horn wrote:

> I noticed this opener for an article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald (31 August 2012) when I was up there a little while ago:
> People don't recognize Evan Brown anymore. One of Canada's most famous activist shit disturbers and protagonist of the August 2000 pieing of then-prime minister Jean Chretien at the Charlottestown Civic Center during Old Home Week, he lives in a relative anonymity in Halifax working as a theatre technician.
> What struck me was
> (1) the apparent status of "shit disturber" (or perhaps "activist shit disturber") as a term of art for, essentially, 'gadfly'
> (2) the appearance of this phrase in the kind of newspaper in which I would not expect it to appear in the U.S.
> Googling for it, I find that indeed it is a Canadianism, as least insofar as its usage status of "vulgar [but] not thought offensive enough to be considered taboo"
> http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shit+disturber (quoting Collins English Dictionary)

i've been aware of "shit-stirrer" and "shit-stirring" for quite some time, but i judged them to be over the taboo line (by a little bit) and to be general English slang, not specifically Canadian.


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