[Ads-l] Undocumentable Army graffito

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 12 20:42:32 UTC 2022

If only Army graffiti (or graffiti in general) were better documented!
Wilson, I recall you brought this up in an ADS-L thread back in 2005
(though you remembered it slightly differently, dating it to Nov. 1960,
with "the universe sucks" rather than "the earth sucks"). That thread was
one I started about the use of "X sucks" in graffiti that recruits wrote on
canvas bunk bottoms found on Army transport ships starting c. 1966 (as
recorded by the Vietnam Graffiti Project).


Thus far the earliest I've seen for the "earth sucks" joke in print is from
the Los Angeles Times, Nov. 3, 1967 (said to be on "a sign on a dormitory
window at UC San Diego"):



On Sat, Mar 12, 2022 at 1:59 PM Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:

> Seen in November, 1959, written in pencil on the outside wall of one of the
> mess halls at the now-defunct Fort Devens, Massachusetts:
> "There is no gravity / The earth sucks."
> In my experience, what the Army was said to suck was the "green weenie."
> The Army, anyone and anything connected with it, and any random
> unpleasantry were also said to "take the meat" or to "bite the big one" or
> to "bite" or to "take the gas pipe" or to "take gas,"  the last being
> sometimes hypercorrected to "take ass."

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list