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September 15, 2007 7:05 PM   Subscribe

Excerpts from Pissing in the Snow, a collection of ribald folk tales collected in the first half of the twentieth century around the Ozarks by Vance Randolph. (NSFW language)

From the introduction about the wonderfully dirty language within (note his count of dirty words is very, very low to the modern mind):

"There are, in modern American English, some twenty-five words which refer to the excretory and sexual functions. Tolerated in common speech, these terms are considered offensive in print. About twenty of them are taboo to the extent that they do not appear in ordinary dictionaries.... Many folktales ... depend [on these words] for effect. Translate a vernacular legend into the language of the schools, and it is no longer a folktale. An honest folklorist cannot substitute feces for shit, or write copulate when his informant says fuck, diddle, roger, or tread. Why should one employ such a noun as penis, if the narrator prefers pecker, horn, jemson or tallywhacker. Many of these stories are innocent, even childish, but they do contain vulgar terms like cunt and twitchet . . . it is impossible to present a well-rounded picture of Ozark folklore without some obscene items."
posted by Bookhouse (21 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
My own copy came from the estate of my grandfather, who also taught me the best phrase in the universe, "luckier than a two-peckered preacher."
posted by Bookhouse at 7:06 PM on September 15, 2007


Don't eat the yellow snow
posted by Poolio at 7:14 PM on September 15, 2007


Why do men piss in the snow standing up? It's disgusting. I like to put my naked ass right in the cold and let my urine warm create a lovely yellow pool of warmth.
posted by papakwanz at 7:17 PM on September 15, 2007


Anybody could see he didn't know enough to pour piss out of a boot, with directions printed on the heel.

Superb.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:21 PM on September 15, 2007


what is a twichet?
posted by Maias at 7:22 PM on September 15, 2007


what is a twichet?

A vagina.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:24 PM on September 15, 2007


This is great, Bookhouse, thanks.
posted by escabeche at 7:27 PM on September 15, 2007


My grandmother bought me a copy of this book when I was 10 or so. I don't think she had any idea of what was in it.
posted by pombe at 7:51 PM on September 15, 2007


This is great. Thanks, Bookhouse.
posted by homunculus at 8:03 PM on September 15, 2007


I bought this in a used bookstore earlier this year, thinking it would be a good gift for my Donald Harington-loving wife. It is indeed pretty awesome.
posted by selfnoise at 8:15 PM on September 15, 2007


I have a copy of this packed away somewhere. I had forgotten about it. Thanks for the post. I think I'll dig through some boxes in the morning.
posted by Sailormom at 8:18 PM on September 15, 2007


My sweet Arkansas-raised grandmother also had a copy of this book. I started reading it as a boy of about 9 or 10 during one of my summer visits and was shocked that such a dirty book could be on her shelf. But I sure learned a lot.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:00 PM on September 15, 2007


Speaking of colorful language, years back, I lived with a woman who had a copy of a book called Texas Crude from which I gleaned such gems as "Son, looks like you shit and fell back in it," (made a tragic error) and "It's hotter'n two rats fucking in a wool sock!" (A real head-turner up north when folks ask about the Texas summers.)

I really wish I could afford a used copy of that book, sometimes.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:13 PM on September 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


God, I miss Missouri.
posted by bayliss at 9:39 PM on September 15, 2007


All right, somebody explain the last jokes to me. Use small words.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:55 PM on September 15, 2007


I read this as a wee lad,in the 80s. Thanks for the hillbilly memories.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:10 AM on September 16, 2007


+1 read this when i was far too young to be reading things like this :)
posted by SeƱor Pantalones at 7:00 AM on September 16, 2007


After just reading Canterbury Tales, this is pretty awesome. Everyone likes a good dirty story.
posted by graventy at 8:33 AM on September 16, 2007


Grew up in NW Arkansas. It was my good fortune, during my undergrad days at the U of A in Fayetteville, to meet Vance Randolph- during the Great Folk Scare of the early 60's. An amazing man.
posted by drhydro at 8:54 AM on September 16, 2007


I just ordered a copy from Amazon. $3, $4 shipping.

Is it common for people to joke that preachers screw all the women? Most of the tropes in the excerpts posted seem familiar to me, except that one.
posted by Nelson at 9:24 AM on September 16, 2007


That's awesome. And here I thought nobody talked dirty until the 1960s, or something.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:11 AM on September 16, 2007


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