[Ads-l] siftless

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 30 11:23:21 UTC 2015


A USMC veteran interviewed on the BBC series "The World at War" (1974)
recalled that his drill instructor during WW2 had told him, "If you're
looking for sympathy, look in the dictionary between 'shit' and 'syphilis.'"

It was the first "shit" I'd ever heard on TV.

JL

On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 2:39 AM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: siftless
>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 2:23 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:
> >
> > "You'll get no sympathy from me! You want sympathy, look in the
> > dictionary between shit and syphilis!"
> > --"Major Payne" (1995)
> > http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0110443/quotes
> >
> > Googling for "sympathy," "shit," and "syphilis" reveals many
> > variations on this theme. The earliest I've found is from Grover
> > Lewis's article, "Splendor in the Short Grass: The Making of the Last
> > Picture Show" (_Rolling Stone_, Sept. 2, 1971, reprinted in _Splendor
> > in the Short Grass: The Grover Lewis Reader_, 2005).
> >
> > "In a sudden hush, the cameras begin to roll, but Cybill blows the
> > take by missing her mark parking the convertible. When she stammers
> > out an apology, the sound mixer stage-whispers gruffly: 'Sympathy can
> > be found in the dictionary between shit and syphilis, sister.'"
> >
> > https://books.google.com/books?id=YvMhSH0x8voC&pg=PA27
> >
> http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/25/the-stacks-how-peter-bogdanovich-shot-the-last-picture-show.html
>
> Earlier still:
>
> "I didn't have to look in the dictionary between shit and syphilis for
> sympathy so long as he was available."
> --Hal Travers (pseud. for Gerald B. Lorentz), _Voyage Sixty-Nine_ (1967)
>
> And this cite suggests it's an old hobo maxim:
>
> "There is a saying on the rails: 'You find sympathy between shit and
> syphilis in the dictionary.'"
> --Tracy Kidder & Michael Mathers, "Hobo Convention," _Audience_
> (Sept.-Oct. 1971, Vol. 1, No. 5)
>
> > Garson has collected some other dictionary-order sayings on Quote
> Investigator:
> >
> > http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/10/20/dict/
> > http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/12/03/duty-pleasure/
>
> --
> Ben Zimmer
> http://benzimmer.com/
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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