new slang, part 1: "sucks"


I have gone on record as a big fan of the English language. Still, I do not love my mother tongue unconditionally. Much as I believe that true patriots have a duty to criticize their government, and that true Giants fans have an obligation to boo Neifi Perez, a true champion of the English language must be ready to speak up when there's something amiss in the vernacular.

I am speaking of the word "suck." Something that "sucks" is said to be inadequate, displeasing, or of poor quality." However, it is unclear why English speakers, particularly men, would want to associate such negative connotations to the act of fellatio. To verbally equate Tony Danza sitcoms with blowjobs is not only unduly prejudicial toward oral sex, but also just not very descriptive. Clearly, male speakers of English need to make some adjustments.

My humble suggestion: Why not replace the word "sucks" with another verb that actually signifies bad, or unpleasant activities? Instead of continually sending the message to girls that sucking is bad, opt for a different form of negative verbal reinforcement. For example...

"Did you see Matrix Reloaded yet?"

"Yes. That first half hour in Zion was awful! I mean, there was the random kid, and the rave orgy, and... it just plain cuddled. It didn't stop cuddling until Keanu fought that guy guarding the Oracle."


"There's a Robin Williams comedy special tonight on HBO."

"No thanks. His stand-up comedy really blue-balls me. Did you see Father's Day? It was a forty-five-second handjob on prom night."

Or even:

"How was work?"

"Work was OK, but the traffic home from San Jose just talked about its day for hours and hours. Once I got to Pleasanton, it was just a boring story about work, but before that, it was a long pointless description of a dream"

Let's make this crazy language of ours make some damn sense, why don't we? Otherwise English might end up like German, and we all know how much that language likes to shop for shoes.


Dear Sean,

Lest your Herculean sense of self wither and fade for lack of fan mail, I submit the following:

Daily, when the world becomes a cruel and darksome place, and my thoughts turn to the futurelessness of life as a public school teacher (employed or non), I find reprieve in your Zembla. Such wild shenanigans as you relate encountering at Gay and Lesbian Night at Great America, or the sheer impunity of those little tykes demanding you remove your cap - why I find them all extremely diverting! Nonetheless, I confess that sometimes after reading one of your posts, I have the tiniest sense of growing misgiving toward the stronger sex. It seems that the subtle conclusion one must reach after reading such eloquent prose from a certified gentleman and scholar, is that men of the world care for little more than meat and sex. Now where could such a ludicrous assertion creep in? What's more, I begin to suspect that I, as a woman, am somehow responsible for thwarting your righteous desires - a great vixenish plague blighting mankind, if you will. This is quite preposterous of course.

So today it was with great pleasure that I took in your wholly gender-neutral oration on the word "suck." Seldom am I afforded an opportunity for such droll whimsy. It was quite clever of you to substitute on each separate occasion a word or phrase describing a woman's most intimate acts for the aforementioned utterance. I particularly enjoyed the culminating specimen of your genius, in which instead of continuing to quote hypothetical speakers, you personally insinuated that German is inferior because it "likes to shop for shoes." Oh yes, all too clever, cunning linguist that you are. However, "likes to shop for shoes" is not a verb, but a verb phrase, complete with an infinitive and prepositional phrase following the conjugated verb. Such lapses in grammar may go down easily as a matter of comedic taste. But I would request as a fellow devotee of the Queen's tongue that in the future you withdraw from further debasing our lexicon with your solecistic jocularity. It is beneath you.

Your greatest admirer
Prudence Codswollop
Pentavirate South

I am also a bona fide female, repleat with uterine lining, breasts, a fondness for cuddling, and the tendancy to enjoy a new pair of Converse All-Stars every year.

Of course Sean's relegations of cuddling, aimless stories, and vicious hand jobs into the realm of undesirables is mildly to greatly offensive to women. It does, as Christine notes, perpetuate the stereotype that men love only the carnal and the carne.

I can console myself with these facts:

First, in addition to loving a good cuddle, I also enjoy a good bout of wild animal sex five, maybe six times a week. I am also a willing provider of oral sex. Thus my boyfriend must "sustain" my injurious female tendancies, but he also has the benefit of dating a goat.

Second, Sean is single. Probably doesn't get much anonymous action, either. (Don't get me wrong, he's very attractive, but probably not to brand of woman who also partakes in anonymous lovin.') His distaste for cuddling can only hurt him in the ladies game. Unless, of course, he was equating the annoyances of female behavior to lameness for the sake of humor alone, and in reality enjoys all of our shoe shopping and needless hugging. (He is, after all, a funny man. Funny Man Sean Keane, as he's known down at the docks.)

As always, I am completely serious and honest in my postings. No shred of sarcasm, irony, or exaggeration can nor should be read into anything posted on this straightforward, non-comedic weblog. Clearly, I hate girls, cuddling, shoes, and uterine lining. And bunnies.

For more thoughts on carnality and carne, go here

P.S. Prudence, you are the best. Glad you're heading West.

sean, we all know you're just going for the laugh, and usually you are fucking hilarious. but i think while going for this laugh, you blurred the distinction between "making fun of male chauvinism" and "being chauvinistic" a bit too much for my taste. but whatever. you gone done and did it, and people reacted. my suggestion now is to "suck it up" and "take it like a man"... whatever that means. =)

(she ends the comment with a smile, hoping against hope that her attempt at humour is not taken as outright bitchery, which it certainly is not meant to be...)

to be fair, not everything in sean's proposed lexicon of no-good-ness is specifically female. talking about its day in long boring stories of nothing in particular, which i find to be a highly appropriate activity for the traffic home from san jose to be doing, is something that can be enjoyed by people and traffic jams of all ages and genders.

but i find that this idea presents an entirely new opportunity for people to make their language reflect their personality. it could serve as an early warning system for potential daters and friends to become alerted to traits that require an instant social disengage before irreconcilable differences are explored too deeply.

"oh, hi there. how was your day?"
"awful. it totally ate ice cream."
"i see. don't ever call me again."

That's it, Dobney. Our friendship is over. And I'm keeping Jolie's old copy of Roy I. Wilson's "Legends of the Cowlitz Indians." So there.

oohhh, you're quick, sean, but not quick enough. i totally saw that comment about black eyed peas, buddy!

as to dianna's comments, i agree that several of those suck replacements are very gender-neutral, which is exactly what offends me. mr. keane asserts that only the male population should go about this endeavor, as if only men think blow-jobs are fun, and women are boring cuddlers that need to be negatively reinforced to stay away from shoes. whatevs, dude. blah, blah, blah. i need to get off the internet. i apologize to those who just don't give a damn, namely michele. (hi michele!)

Is there any chance I could be picking out stereotypical examples of gender differences for comic effect instead of "asserting" a true, honest belief that I, Sean Keane hate cuddling and shoe shopping?

No? OK, then I guess I'm an irredeemable sexist and no-good woman-hater. And our friendship is probably even overer, Dob.

If readers would prefer not to get sexual with your slang at all, feel free to replace "sucks" with politically-themed verbs and verb phrases like "liberates," "preserves freedom," or even "deregulates the telecommunications industry."


"Boy is it ever hot! Driving through New Mexico in the summertime really preserves my freedom!"

"Yesterday it was 108 degrees and today it's even hotter. I'm hallucinating from dehydration. This weather liberates my Middle Eastern nation."

"Nice to meet you, Hallucinating. I'm Sean, from Pleasant Hill. No, wait."

"That joke machine-gunned a civilian van, Sean."

donuts are better than shoes. i'm drinking until thursday.

"Is there any chance I could be picking out stereotypical examples of gender differences for comic effect instead of "asserting" a true, honest belief that I, Sean Keane, hate cuddling and shoe shopping?" maybe. how many shoes do you own?

i personally thought it was really funny though. particularly the part where you used the phrase, "It was a forty-five-second handjob on prom night."

i like that my whole comment only quotes parts of yours.

dianna - mmm ice cream.

I've actually never been shoe shopping per se, besides buying one pair of shoes in the first ten minutes I'm in the store and then leaving. That's not due to any hatred of shoe shopping; I just have very little personal style.

sean, i don't think you're missing much. shoe shopping is always disappointing and expensive and nothing's ever as comfortable as you think it'll be and i always leave the store with a headache. it really washes dishes.

that's why you should just buy sugar shoes, ,the best, ,most comfortable shoe ever. and then give them free advertising on your page because then, THEN, they send you FREE SUGAR SHOES. oh hell yeah.

Oh, becalm yourselves, you overwrought feminist ninnies! He's cast no aspersions on your chastity. You're perfectly free to withhold forty-five second handjobs on prom night if you like! And those of you flaunting your indecorous ways have no grounds for objection. Those we should be hearing from are the men who enjoy cuddling and the glittering cavalcade of heels, flats, and mules for summer. Their manhood has been cast into doubt, if not their very existence. Consider the pressure they must be under to assert their machismo. For instance, take this contribution from one such woebegone, clearly apt, young fellow.

�Just as there are only nine types of conversations, there are also only three motivations underlying all conversations. These can be summarized as follows:

2) Procurement of sex

Conversation is also a mating dance. The male is constantly assessing
both the female's ability to bear and raise many children, as well as the chances that she'd go down on him relatively soon in their relationship."

Any collateral damage to you comes from believing such contentions and thereby missing the gentlemen in your midst.

Yours sincerely,

Prudence Codswollop
International Association of
People Who Find Sean Keen
Pentavirate South Chapter

We obviously have not had the pleasure of meeting, my good lady, otherwise you would know I am not the kind to withhold 45 second hand-jobs on prom night.

Ms. Dobney
Card carrying member of the "Just Wrought Enough" Feminist Club

When I originally saw this joke posted, I didn't comment because, well, I've heard it a million times, with a million variations and I didn't think it would garner much of a reaction, let alone this level of "flame". Yes, it is offensive in that it:
1) suggests that women's attitudes/actions toward things can be manipulated by a man's using something that appeals to women in a negative way or using things that men do not like in place of other phrases that denote disapproval
2) suggests that men are only interested in sex and other "worldly" pleasures... I believe this joke demeans men more than women in that it takes a very narrow view of what men like and don't like, and the lengths they will go to in order to manipulate women to being/doing what they want. In other words, it uses and strengthens a common male stereotype
3) is basically true. I do like shopping for shoes and cuddling, etc. whereas most men do not for various reasons. There's something about being called out on these things that pisses me off, mostly because I'm already denied shoe shopping time and cuddling by men as it is, but also because it makes women's tastes and desires seem inferior to men's. Everyone knows women have better taste than men and our goals/wants are more frequently more productive, helpful, and practical than men.

However, this is just a joke and should not be taken so seriously.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on June 27, 2003 4:28 PM.

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