Are You Flippin’ My Pancakes?


A bit of silliness; it’s actually kind of fun to do.

A few years ago, I took up a trick of muttering to myself in a nonexistent language that sounds like a mixture or German and Orcish – or perhaps the pseudo-Welsh that Morgaine Le Fay used in the 1970s Excalibur film. I’m totally OK with swears, but they’re limiting. After all, once you’ve called someone an “asshole” there’s not much to do except stare at your lack of creativity. Calling someone “blancmange” or “casu marzu” at least flexes your brain and vocabulary a bit.

That’s why I wholeheartedly endorse this idea a friend sent me from some social media or other:

 

 

I learned about the power of creative cussin’ from a high school classmate named Alex C. Alex was always soft-spoken and polite, neat and organized, never wallowed around in emotionalism. He ran a catering business (in high school) that was quite successful, and was a really “squared away” fellow, though he sometimes came in for ritual abuse from the football players, in their relentless mission to enforce conformity with toxic masculine ideals. One day, Alex was walking through the common room with a tureen wrapped in a bit linen towel and someone bumped into him and he yelled “OY FUCKING VEY!” Suddenly everyone froze. Was that Alex who said that? Holy shit! As you can tell, Alex’ paucity with the swears made it a moment of note when he finally did deploy them; I still remember it 45 years later.

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This is directly relevant to my Argument Clinic theory of verbal aggression. [stderr] In retrospect, I believe I still draw on that afternoon in 1976 or so, when Alex dropped the bomb.

Comments

  1. jrkrideau says

    I’ve noticed that junior officers in the Canadian military tend to use the term ” poisoned dwarf” when referring to senior officers they don’t like.

  2. says

    Interesting. Some of this does not feel like “cussing” to me, but then I have an atypical experience of this, and I don’t use “cussing” much.

    “Are you kidding me”/”flipping my pancakes” have action elements similar to something like “piss off”/”fuck off”. I feel the anatomical connections and the feelings they raise more strongly. But clearly people are picking up on more than one thing here.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Alas, Maledicta ceased publication in 2005, but I recall reading therein that English may be the worst language in the world for profanity and insults.

    Using almost anything beyond a double handful of well-worn words comes across as eccentric affectation, whereas other tongues allow room for improvisation: an Italian, say, can concatenate their billingsgate to come up with, e.g., “son of a syphilitic sow” and have their words echoed with respect instead of sneers.

  4. kestrel says

    Strikes a chord. I used to live in Utah – where the Mormons live. They will get upset if you say “OMG”. So instead I came up with things like calling a person an “egg-sucking pig”. I mean, pigs most likely DO suck eggs if they get the chance. Still, it seems no one wants to be called that. Which is kind of the point. Trying to get people to NOT act like an egg-sucking pig. Or a burnt waffle. Etc.

  5. cafebabe says

    #3 @Pierce R. Butler.
    Yes, indeed. That journal was a joy. From my recollection, the most fun seemed to be coming from various Latin American language communities. Many maledictae were up there with the Python’s “Your father was an hamster, and your mother smelled of elderberries”.

  6. says

    The funny thing is that I immediately understood what “are you flipping my pancakes” was supposed to mean.
    My current favourite insult is “du falsch ausgefĂźlltes Steuererklärungsformular” : you wrongly filed tax return document.

  7. chigau (違う) says

    I grok “are you flipping my pancakes” as an invitation to breakfast, implying an invitation to spend the night (wink wink).
    How would, “are you digging my potatoes” work?

  8. Dunc says

    Alas, Maledicta ceased publication in 2005, but I recall reading therein that English may be the worst language in the world for profanity and insults.

    Using almost anything beyond a double handful of well-worn words comes across as eccentric affectation, whereas other tongues allow room for improvisation

    Scotland begs to differ.

  9. says

    chigau@#7:
    I grok “are you flipping my pancakes” as an invitation to breakfast, implying an invitation to spend the night (wink wink).

    Now you’re pullin’ my pork.

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    Dunc @ # 8: Scotland begs to differ.

    Fine invective, but hardly English as such.

    Was Trainspotting the main movie, like your link, for which they had to provide subtitles so the rest of us could understand the Scots?

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