Re: America has culture, too! (was Re: Profanity versus Professionalism)

29 Aug 1995 06:33:44 GMT

Michael Bauser writes:

>There is a well-known (and researched, although I don't have any
>citations off-hand) traditon of insult-contests knows by names such
>as "the nines"

We called it "the dozens", or "shootin"

>(I have no idea what that's supposed to mean), "your
>mama", and probably some other names. Participants take turn insulting each
>other's mothers, displaying creativity, dominance, and all that other
>cultural/mental stuff.
>This contest is usually documented as an"inner-city"/"african-american"
>tradition, but I've seen teenagers doing it in the Taco Bell across the
>street from Kent State University. Trust me -- Kent, Ohio may be one of
>the "whitest" rural towns on the planet.

They probably have HBO and have watched Def Comedy Jam.

>Sometimes "culture" is right outside your window.

Hell, it's _inside_ mine.

>(Tangent: Actually, I think that U.S. Americans are strongly disinclined
>to see themselves as possible study subjects (to the point of fear), which
>complicates trying to study them, I'm afraid.)

We've been studied to death. Actually, I've been studying American culture for
forty years. I'm 41.

I love culture. Of all the strains of comedy in this culture, the black and
Jewish types are the best, closely followed by Ozark folk tales. All come from
people who've caught hell. The language used is a defense, with self-deprecation
defusing the fights that would inevitably follow. Major insults caused
side-splitting laughter. Usually, the teller intimated that the stories were

I worked on a trash truck in L.A. in the mid-70's when most trashmen
were black. Not a day went by that I didn't hurt myself laughing at the
observations of these guys. Most were in their 40's or 50's, and their
lives had spanned the migration from the rural South to metropolitan
Los Angeles. Their eye for absurdity sticks with me to this day. My
dad was one of them.

Profanity is the natural response to absurd or stressful situations.
It's like spice on food. It doesn't fit everywhere, but why do without

Wayne Johnson

"Quit lyin, sucka...don't talk about my daddy...I aint gon talk about
yo daddy...fuckit, yes I am...I SAW yo daddy...when he came outa
Georgia...ridin a mule...nekkid...wit some chitlins tied roun his ass.
Tryina bring you some lunch. Don't lie, chump...I saw you eatin em!"