[Ads-l] "X sucks" in the East Village Other
thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 18 20:34:45 UTC 2020
As a lark, I looked to see how far back I can find "sucks eggs", and that
also goes back to 1966 in Google:
You Can Always Tell A Harvard Man
eNet Press, 1966
On Sat, Jan 18, 2020 at 1:36 AM Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> For a while now, I've been interested in finding the earliest print
> occurrences of "X sucks" = 'X is bad.' There are a couple of early examples
> that have been found in a 1963 letter and a 1964 journal entry, but 1966
> appears to be the year when the expression started showing up in print, at
> least in alternative newspapers. Previously I found a poem with the line
> "EVERYTHING SUCKS!!" printed in The Paper, a Michigan State publication, in
> its Oct. 13, 1966 issue (and reprinted later that year in The Screw from
> Univ. of Kansas):
> Now thanks to the Independent Voices archive, it's possible to find
> slightly earlier print examples in The East Village Other. The Oct. 1, 1966
> issue of The EVO has two examples where they say the actor George Hamilton
> "sucks." (I'm not sure why they had it in for George Hamilton in particular
> -- perhaps it had something to do with the fact that he was dating Lynda
> Bird Johnson at the time. Or maybe they had a premonition he would play
> Dracula in the 1979 movie "Love at First Bite.")
> The East Village Other, Oct. 1-15, 1966, p. 4
> George Hamilton (who sucks) says that "undesirable" stars should be weeded
> out to prevent further deterioration of the American image at international
> film festivals.
> The East Village Other, Oct. 1-15, 1966, p. 21
> George Hamilton sucks.
> Here's another example from The EVO later in '66, in an interview with
> fashion designer Diana Dew, conducted by Philip Proctor of Firesign Theatre
> The East Village Other, Volume 1, Issue 24, Nov. 15-Dec. 1, 1966, p. 9
> "Diana and her Electric Dress" by Philip Proctor
> EVO: And what do you think of organized religion?
> DD: It sucks.
> There are many more examples of "X sucks" in The EVO starting in early '67.
> The first issue of the year returned to the George Hamilton theme, followed
> by the punny use of "Dracula Sucks" in a headline for an article in which
> "the establishment" is depicted as a vampire:
> The East Village Other, Jan. 1-15, 1967, p. 2
> P.S. George Hamilton still sucks (but not well).
> The East Village Other, Jan. 1-15, 1967, p. 11
> DRACULA SUCKS, by Lorraine Glennby
> Two more examples from EVO in early '67 are notable because they appear in
> letters from soldiers criticizing Army life:
> The East Village Other, Feb. 15-Mar. 1, 1967, p. 2, col. 2
> To continue, may I say that the army sucks and bites.
> [letter from Randall S. Strome, U.S. Army Medical Command]
> The East Village Other, Apr. 1-15, 1967, p. 2, col. 3
> I wouldn't wish this fuckin life on anyone. It sucks. It's no fuckin good.
> [letter from Pvt. Jack G. Court]
> That usage of "sucks" (and "bites") is in line with Army graffiti
> documented from that time. Back in '05 I shared Vietnam-era graffiti
> examples written on canvas bunk bottoms in troop transport ships (as
> catalogued by Texas Tech's Virtual Vietnam Archive):
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
More information about the Ads-l