Lion of the Blogosphere


Reading the following at an online news site:

In February Dick Costolo, Twitter’s former chief executive, admitted in an internal email that the company “sucked” at dealing with trolls.

reminded me of my previous blog posts about the word “schlonged.”

The word “sucks” was commonly used among kids my age when I was growing up. As far as I can tell, I am of the correct age for when this word became commonly used slang among kids and teenagers. Mr. Costolo is four years older than me.

Based on doing some online research and applying some hunches to that, I suspect that “sucks” being a synonym for “bad” was in use for several decades before I was born, but back then the people who used the word understood that it was vulgar. Back then, there was probably a perception that the only kind of woman who would suck a man’s penis would probably be a very skanky prostitute, and that’s why “sucks” became a synonym for “bad.” That was before the sexual revolution of the 1960s and before Monica Lewinsky made blow jobs an activity appropriate even for the Oval Office.

I don’t remember when kids started using the word “sucks.” It seems like it was always part of my vocabulary. It probably became popular in the late 1970s. I had no clue that the word had any sexual connotation. Back then, I couldn’t even imagine that a girl would voluntarily do something like that. I was embarrassingly old when I used the word in the presence of a guy who was about ten years older than me and he said it was vulgar because it was a reference to oral sex, and I was completely flabbergasted.

But as we see, “sucks” has now become established slang that can be safely used, even by the CEO of a major corporation.

* * *

There’s a point about Trump in there, which is that I can easily understand how Trump could have the word “shlonged” as part of his vocabulary and not be consciously aware that it refers to a man’s penis.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 27, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

38 Responses

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    • It’s gotten to the point where I hardly ever click on links to lists like “10 facts you need to know . . .” or “8 celebrities who have aged well . . . .” or “6 foods which help prevent hair loss . . .” or any kind of list.

      It seems like 90% of the time, it leads to a page where you have to click on a new link for each item in the list; and each new page is full of advertisements which clog up one’s internet browser.


      December 27, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      • Download and install Adblock Plus. It’s a free add-on that blocks ads. There’s a version available for every browser. You might take a look at Ghostery and NoScript as well.


        December 27, 2015 at 9:11 pm

  1. Only someone entirely under assault from the ruling class would have their words picked apart in such a way. There is something about Trump the ruling class doesn’t like. Could it be he might hurt profits by limiting cheap labor and growth in consumers with money to spend? Make corporations pay all social income transfers for immigrants during the immigrant’s lifetime and I bet the message from the media changes pronto.


    December 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm

  2. You also used to hear, “This blows . . . ” or maybe you still do.

    ice hole

    December 27, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    • Yes, I used to hear this more up until, say, about ten years ago. I still use this phrase once in a while.

      E. Rekshun

      December 27, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    • I also occasionally say, “it sucks to be you,” in response to complainers.

      E. Rekshun

      December 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm

  3. Now this really pisses me off to no end.


    December 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    • I’d rather be pissed off than pissed on.

      E. Rekshun

      December 28, 2015 at 3:44 am

  4. Disco Sucks — 1979!


    December 27, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    • good one, Tarl. this expression was very common in 1979 to me in high school, in the media, etc.


      December 27, 2015 at 4:20 pm

  5. I vaguely remember in the 1980’s having a conversation at work with a person prolier than I. I made the comment that such and such event was going to leave someone “sucking wind” as in leaving him winded from exertion. The woman was so “offended” that she called me very unprofessional, and was threatening to make a scene.

    I dared her to report me to HR (head of HR was male, but everyone else was female) fully knowing that the expression shouldn’t be seen as offensive in the least, as there were many areas, mainly sports, where the expression was used. Mind you, this was pre-Internet, but I was very confident in the use of the term.

    The woman had issues with the word “suck” without a doubt, despite not being religious.


    December 27, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    • I remember a woman programmer saying in a conversation while complaining about unfair trearmeant: ‘ I always get screwed!’ Then she looked at me and went: ‘Oh, I don’t mean literally.’ Why are they so stupid? Can’t they just talk normally without all these stupid words? The society is desensitized by the popular culture and mass mrdia, that’s what it is. They are primitive, senseless, brutes. This is my theory for now. Putin is fighting back, good man.


      December 27, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    • The other day, a female coworker complained to me that someone was “jerking her off” about some trivial work problem. I advised that maybe they were just “jerking her chain.

      E. Rekshun

      December 28, 2015 at 4:01 am

  6. I don’t understand you guys. I grew up in a working class neighborhood and till about the third grade I, like many kids around, used to curse like a Russian prole. In the first grade, yes I remember, I was suspended for using obscene language, the teacher was too embarrassed to repeat what I’d said and I wouldn’t say it again, so they had to let me in the next day. I never forgot what I said, it was actually a nice rhyme. About 3-4 grade I began to understand the meaning of the words and I gradually stopped. When I started going to boxing at 11, I wasn’t cursing and our coach would suspend for it. I don’t understand why people like constantly drawing attention to their most primitive physiological needs in a conversation. Did Freud or Jung had a theory? You guys feel a need to use these words? You somehow feel inadequate if you don’t? Less of a man or something? Or are you just animals?

    Also, English has a very poor vocabulary when it comes to cursing, if you curse in English you just sound like a primitive brute, I don’t understand why would you curse? Russian is very rich and their cursing is quite amazing, actually.There is a dictionary of obscene language with around 20,000 entries. Any Russian prole will schlong an American. But Duma is considering criminalizing using obscene language in public places, which is a good thing. The rebel commander in Ukraine banned cursing in the army, but the soldiers wouldn’t go alone. Here, I’m not sure, I can’t imagine Russian army without it. It’s just so much part of the army and actually makes commands easier to understand. It’s weird, but many feel this way. But you, guys and girls, are not in the Russian army, so why are you doing it?


    December 27, 2015 at 5:25 pm

  7. I used “sucks” in the early to mid seventies, but instinctively knew not to use it in front of my parents. Same with “screwed”. They aren’t in the same category as “fuck”, “cunt”, and “pussy”, but still, one knew not to use them.

    Funny, I can recall the very first time I heard my father use the word “screwed”, as in screwed over. It must have been the late 80’s early 90’s. He used the word in the sense of some politicians screwing us over.


    December 27, 2015 at 6:40 pm

  8. Freud, in his analysis of “Dora” (1905) connects sucking at the mother’s or nurse’s breast, thumb-sucking, and sucking on the penis. He calls the breast case “most innocent” and the penis case “excessively repulsive and perverted.” I wonder if “suck” was a word to be avoided in polite society even when concerning babies. I would guess not, given that German has no native word for “baby” and one of the workarounds is the word Säugling (suckling). That seems to be putting “suck” right out there front and center in ordinary family life.


    December 27, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    • ‘and the penis case excessively repulsive and perverte’.

      What’s his basis for this? Why can’t people behave naturally? Different strokes for different folks, no? Judaism doesn’t forbid it, why put all these trips on people? The world is so confused about something so simple.


      December 27, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      • Throat cancer is natural too.


        December 28, 2015 at 11:16 am

      • Freud was talking about throat cancer? This is interesting, though, I’ve heard of smoking causing throat cancer, but is what you are saying supported by medical research? I’m open minded about, but I doubt anything like this is true in a proper monogamous relationship. What are you saying exactly? You thing it’s more damaging then smoking?


        December 28, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      • “Dora” (Freud’s patient) didn’t have throat cancer but rather a cough and irritated throat with discharge. The analysis traced this to her thoughts about oral sex, the case being one of hysteria (physical symptom without organic cause).


        December 28, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      • @ Anthony.

        So she was a psycho, what does this have to do with normal people?


        December 28, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    • I occasionally call a whiny person a “thumb-sucker.”

      Prior to the Lorena Bobbit incident in the early ’90s, you never heard the word “penis” in the media.

      E. Rekshun

      December 28, 2015 at 3:55 am

  9. “There’s a point about Trump in there, which is that I can easily understand how Trump could have the word ‘shlonged’ as part of his vocabulary”

    I agree, especially since he himself is not Jewish. But at the same time, I would not be surprised if it were a calculated move designed to troll the media while subtly trying to appeal to Jews on the margins.

    At this point, it’s in his interest to provoke outrage every few weeks. It doesn’t seem to hurt him with his base and it saves him the trouble of buying television ads.


    December 27, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    • Yes but he grew up in NYC.


      December 27, 2015 at 10:43 pm

  10. Similar experience here. I remember being in my early teens and my uncle reprimanding my brother and me for saying “sucks” in the presence of my young cousins. It had never occurred to me that it had a sexual connotation.


    December 27, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    • Not always. There is a sucking chest wound.


      December 27, 2015 at 8:06 pm

  11. Can’t believe you could write an essay like this without crediting these guys from the mid-90s:


    December 27, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    • Exactly, in the 90’s it was known by the younger generation to be a vulgar term. Why do you think B&B are laughing when they use the term. It’s one of any number of other vulgar things that have been promoted to degrade the culture. And of course, there is a Dalrympian thing going on where the people that promote these things KNOW that they are vulgar and are doing it precisely to humiliate people who support a vulgar-free culture.

      not my name

      December 28, 2015 at 12:53 am

  12. ‘Back then, I couldn’t even imagine that a girl would voluntarily do something like that. ‘

    You had poor imagination and portable knowledge of the world. Like this is bizarre, I mean, you use the word’ suck’ as a perjorative, but can’t imagine someone being involved in this perfectly normal human acting practiced from the ancient times? It’s really the opposite of how it should be: you do it discreetly, if that’s what you like – I’m not saying anybody has to do anything, but you don’t talk about these things or hint at them in public, obviously.


    December 27, 2015 at 9:01 pm

  13. I never use that verb unless I’m talking about a vacuum cleaner, but I knew devout Mormons who were using it in the early nineties without a second thought. It strikes me as extremely vulgar.


    December 27, 2015 at 10:14 pm

  14. I was born in 1971. Some of my earliest memories (ie. mid to late 70’s) are of “sucks dicks” transitioning to just “sucks”, and shortly after the advent of “blows” and “swallows” (as in “it doesn’t just suck, it blows or swallows”). I did not know that the term was in use prior to that although it certainly could have been. I also recall sometime in the early 90’s beginning to hear the term become mainstreamed via popular culture and losing it’s vulgarity. It’s not clear to me, when my father began using it around that time, that he even knew that it originally meant “sucks dicks”.

    not my name

    December 28, 2015 at 12:22 am

    • . It’s not clear to me, when my father began using it around that time [post-early-90’s-mainstreaming] that he even knew that it originally meant “sucks dicks”.

      And reading throughout the last two threads, it’s pretty clear that some posters here don’t know that it STILL means to be so bad as be be the equivalent of someone who would put a man’s penis in their mouth. Which is why it shouldn’t be used in the company of anyone but your most vulgar comrades.

      not my name

      December 28, 2015 at 12:43 am

  15. Putin makes a joke without using any obscene words. The subtlety is lost in translation, but it’s still funny.


    December 28, 2015 at 1:15 am

    • Putin has got class!


      December 28, 2015 at 10:21 am

  16. “Only suckers pay retail!”

    E. Rekshun

    December 28, 2015 at 12:37 pm

  17. I too used “sucks” as a kid in the ’80s without thinking any further about what it could have meant.

    Didn’t P. T. Barnum say “there’s a sucker born every minute” nearly a century ago, with the expression being in print with no problems?


    December 29, 2015 at 7:30 am

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