Bart Simpson Catchphrases

Neal Whitman nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Mon May 24 02:44:09 UTC 2010

This might not be exactly what you're after, but possibly relevant. Though
Bart Simpson popularized these phrases, at least a couple of them didn't
originate with him. (Apologies if this is old knowledge.)

I was told by a guy in junior high school not to have a cow, back in 1982,
although not in the now-canonical form "Don't have a cow, man." It was more
like, "God, you don't have to have a cow about it!"

"Eat my shorts" was the title and refrain of a 1985 song by Rick Dees (who
hosted a Top 40 radio countdown show around that same time, and sang "Disco
Duck" in the late 70s). "Eat my shorts" was also spotlighted in the 1985
movie _The Breakfast Club_, in a line from Judd Nelson's character.

Bart Simpson pronounces and spells "caramba" as "carumba." I don't know why.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2010 8:05 AM
Subject: Bart Simpson Catchphrases

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Bart Simpson Catchphrases
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> When "The Simpsons" debuted in 1989, it seemed that Bart Simpson had a
> host of catchphrases that would become very popular.  My sense is that his
> catchphrases have faded in popularity since then, but I am still
> interested in trying to figure out which of them has had the strongest
> cultural/linguistic impact.  I would welcome any suggestions as to which
> of these has been the most important:
> Don't have a cow, man.
> Aye, Caramba!
> I'm Bart Simpson.  Who the hell are you?
> Eat my shorts!
> Fred Shapiro
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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