There’s this twitter user you’ve probably heard of called “Shit My Dad Says.” He’s been on the scene since early Twitter. He tweets shit his dad says, and his feed was turned into a 2010 network tv show starring William Shatner.
Except, of course, it wasn’t called “Shit My Dad Says.” It was written “$#*! My Dad Says,” and pronounced “Bleep My Dad Says.” Because in 2010, and still now, you can’t say “shit” on broadcast television.
Why? Why is “shit” a bad word?
It’s the most useful word there is, because it can mean stuff, drugs, dammit, the best (as in “you’re the shit”), business (“all up in my shit”), and, of course, poop. That’s why it’s “dirty.”
But why is it dirtier than “poop?” It isn’t any poopier. We can say poop, poo poo, caca, doo doo, doody, crap, turd, and the textbook terms like stool and feces. Talk about dirty words. Those sound the filthiest. They’re so visual. You really picture something in a jar at the doctor’s office, or on the floorboards of an abandoned crackhouse, surrounded by flies. OK, maybe that’s just me.
So we can say any word for shit except “shit.” Really, still?
It’s so arbitrary. Which I guess the FCC is. But it’s all based on what we won’t say in front of kids. Someone decided that it’s ugly for a kid to learn and repeat the word “shit.”
“Fuck,” I get, if it’s ultimately about kids. Because that’s an adult concept.
If there’s any word an adult doesn’t want to hear a kid say, it’s “fuck.”
I learned this when I was eight. My friend Alex’s mother, Marsha, was driving us to ice skating lessons, and in the back seat I taught him the old trick of singing “Yankee Doodle” with every few words beginning in “f.” So the last line is “Fuck a feather in his hat and falled it facaroni…” We were gasping with laughter, of course, because it was hilarious.
Marsha stopped the car short, so our heads banged against the front seat. This was before the whole seatbelt craze. She screamed, “I DON’T WANT THAT CRAP IN MY CAR!!!!” I cried – both at the indignity of being hollered at, and the unfairness of her fuck/crap double standard.
Parents didn’t care for my vocabulary.
Around that same time, I taught my next door neighbor, Thomas, a game called “Rape.” It was simple, economical, and easy to play: all you did was run around the house and yell, “RAPE! RAPE!!!! RAAAAAAPE!!!!” I probably should have told him, “don’t try this at home.” Because when he did, his mother came over a few minutes later and informed my mother that Thomas and I needed some time apart.
Looking back, I can understand her objection. At least she wasn’t a hypocrite. She didn’t tell me to keep my dirty mouth the fuck away from her son.
Now, why can kids say “suck?” You can even say it on kid’s TV. We all know what “suck” means. Not suck a lollipop. Not suck ice chips, or suck wind. Do I have to spell it out for you? It’s dick. Another thing you can’t say, even though it’s just like “johnson” — a guy’s name used as a euphemism for penis.
We had a family friend named Richard, around my age, and my dad would come over to him, put his hands on Richard’s shoulders, and say, “Hey, Big Dick.”
That’s not really relevant, but it was embarrassing, and I needed to share it. Back when that twitter feed was a new thing and a big deal, I’d think at least once a day, Man, why didn’t I think of Shit My Dad Says?
What about Shart My Dad Says?
I bet you can say that on TV.