Can I Ass You a Question?
October 31, 2019 8:19 PM   Subscribe

 
I have not heard much of Ismo, but what I have heard is delightful.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:05 PM on October 31, 2019 [2 favorites]




Ass has certainly gotten me into a number of complicated situations.
posted by bz at 9:20 PM on October 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


There are several citations that the article bowdlerizes by using "n-word" in place of the original language, even quotes by African Americans. I'm not sure I agree with that choice.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 9:21 PM on October 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Surprisingly, no asshat...
posted by jim in austin at 9:51 PM on October 31, 2019


Came for asshat, not disappointed.
posted by cron at 9:59 PM on October 31, 2019


I laughed my ass off.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:02 PM on October 31, 2019


I just read the novel Goulash, which was extremely witty if somewhat aimless. The protagonist is a twentysomething adrift in newly post-Communist Prague who gives English lessons in bars to support himself. One whole chapter is dedicated to his attempt to demystify "ass" for his students.
"I do not understand," said Vlasta, "how a bad ass can be good."

"The corruption of the system runs that deep," said Ivan.

"If you see an ass that is actually bad you have no way to describe it," said Milan.
posted by aws17576 at 10:29 PM on October 31, 2019 [22 favorites]


I'll be im-fucking-pressed when you can haul 'ass' into the middle of a word.
posted by straight at 10:45 PM on October 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Can I ass you a question?

Of horse you kiang, burro. Donkey me waiting!
posted by oulipian at 10:58 PM on October 31, 2019 [11 favorites]


Ha, I've heard of this guy before. Except previously the most complicated word in english was shit. I guess he couldn't do that one on basic cable.
posted by NormieP at 11:10 PM on October 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


Ambiguity is a beautiful pain in the ass.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:33 AM on November 1, 2019


Is "Ass" the Most Complicated Word in the English Language?

Anything butt!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:47 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ain't got nothing on ran.

She ran her own business. Everything ran according to plan. She ran a series of seminars. They ran for two weeks. The last one ran ten minutes late. Renting the rooms ran her $1,000. Inflation ran at 11 per cent. She ran for office. A rumour ran through the city. The tabloid press ran the story. 'Candidate ran drugs!' ran the dramatic headline. She ran to the bus; it ran every half hour. It ran a red light. The river ran to the sea (before it ran dry.) She ran the rapids, then ran aground. Her face ran with sweat. Her nose ran. Her stockings ran. She ran the tape back. She ran a bath, and got in fully dressed. The dye in her shirt ran.
posted by kyrademon at 3:12 AM on November 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


This Ismo is an excellent comedian, but does anyone remember I arise afresh under a better omen? Ass is indirectly involved because the story involves stealing De Gaulle's pants to keep him from making a speech.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 3:32 AM on November 1, 2019


Arse.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:51 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


Ismo is one of our few famous exports (outside of Nokia phones, rally/F1 drivers, hockey players and metal bands).

He has a great bit in Finnish about the most versatile word/expression in the Finnish language: "no niin". Depending on context and intonation, it can be used to express agreement, disagreement, disappointment, excitement, impatience etc.

It plays with the same basic construction (or deconstruction) of communication as the bit mentioned here.

Haven't been able to find a video on YouTube with subtitles I'm afraid and I'm not sure how well it localises either.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:17 AM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Anyone else getting a strong Ozzy Osborne vibe from this guy? It's a good vibe.
posted by hilberseimer at 6:09 AM on November 1, 2019


I'll be im-fucking-pressed when you can haul 'ass' into the middle of a word.

Technically, bass-ackwards is just "backwards" with an ass in the middle.
posted by xigxag at 6:10 AM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Terry Southern is credited with dropping the f-bomb into the middle of words. as in "fan-f**king-tastic".
posted by hilberseimer at 6:21 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


well a double dumbass on you
posted by entropicamericana at 6:30 AM on November 1, 2019 [7 favorites]


Bet your fuckin' ass it is!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:33 AM on November 1, 2019


Came here to say the author missed something by not mentioning inserting "fucking" in the middle of words and phrases but others got there first. However, I still feel unfuckingbelievably privileged to have lived through at least 4/5 of the evolution of "fuck" into an essential part of the idiom, knowing I did my part.
posted by lordrunningclam at 6:58 AM on November 1, 2019 [3 favorites]


I've got a colleague who teaches the English Grammar course that's required for English majors, and she usually does a whole lecture on "ass" to help teach morphology (how you put bits of words together). It's always amusing when she posts pictures of the blackboard at the end, after having gone through discussions like "Is the ass in "good-ass" the same as the ass in "dead-ass"?"
posted by damayanti at 7:37 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


And of course, relevant XKCD.
posted by Naberius at 7:46 AM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


"The reason “ass” and “shit” are difficult words to pin down is that slang is fundamentally different than standard English. Slang is democratic; there are no gatekeepers to impose restrictions. Learning how to use “ass” might seem complicated, but the story of slang is pretty simple: it’s slippery, messy, transgressive, clever, cruel, confusing, industrious, evocative, vulgar, adaptable. In Green’s words: “Slang is humanity at its most human.” ❤️

So swearing is a lot like... ART. I knew it!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:07 AM on November 1, 2019 [4 favorites]


Fun facts from a linguist:

inserting swear words into the middle of words is called an "expletive infix" and they are common across many languages

Also, I wrote a real paper for a semantics class in grad school about whether and when prefixed or suffixed -ass serves as an adjectival or adverbial modifier. Ass-early is different from early-ass.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:34 AM on November 1, 2019 [13 favorites]


In his book, Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War, Paul Fussell, literary historian and professor emeritus of English literature at the University of Pennsylvania, recounted
Once, on a misty Scottish airfield, an airman was changing the magneto on the engine of a Wellington bomber. Suddenly his wrench slipped and he flung it on the grass and snarled, "Fuck! The fucking fucker's fucked." The bystanders were all quite well aware that he had stripped a bolt and skinned his knuckles.
I'd say "fuck" still has a very strong claim to the title of most complicated English word.
posted by MrJM at 8:35 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


the story of slang is pretty simple: it’s slippery, messy, transgressive, clever, cruel, confusing, industrious, evocative, vulgar, adaptable.

That sounds fairly complex to me, TBH
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:58 AM on November 1, 2019


Technically, bass-ackwards is just "backwards" with an ass in the middle.

That's a particular portmanteau based on mixing the meanings of ass and backwards.

But as I think about it, hanging '-ass' on the end of an adjective as an intensifier really is equivalent to inserting 'fuck' in the middle. And it's appropriate that you can't just put 'fuck' on the rear-end of a word like '-ass' but rather you shove it into whatso-fucking-ever adjective is big-ass enough to contain it.
posted by straight at 9:18 AM on November 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by slogger at 9:54 AM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


And it's appropriate that you can't just put 'fuck' on the rear-end of a word like '-ass' but rather you shove it into whatso-fucking-ever adjective is big-ass enough to contain it.

One exception(?) I can think of is "dumbfuck" ≈ "dumbass".
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:52 AM on November 1, 2019


I just assumed that is was...
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:03 PM on November 1, 2019


Came here to say the author missed something by not mentioning inserting "fucking" in the middle of words and phrases but others got there first. However, I still feel unfuckingbelievably privileged to have lived through at least 4/5 of the evolution of "fuck" into an essential part of the idiom, knowing I did my part.
Then you must be a vampire (in which case you're taking a little liberty with "living," but hey, everybody's gotta live), since that would mean you've been alive since 1450 according to Wikipedia, which claims the earliest citation that was clearly sexual for the word was 1310 (a legal record regarding one Roger Fuckebythenavele. Which would make a good Metafilter account name.) I suspect as we approach the modern era that written records become both more common and less ... formal. So it was probably a pretty vital part of the language quite a long time ago. But that's just, like, my fucking opinion, man.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 7:23 PM on November 1, 2019 [1 favorite]


And it's appropriate that you can't just put 'fuck' on the rear-end of a word like '-ass' [...]
Maybe my crowd is less refined, but "ass-fuck" is good English in my part of town, so I think we have what we mathematicians call a counter-fuckin-example.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 7:28 PM on November 1, 2019


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