A few days ago, I attended Rising Tide 4, a wonderful conclave of New Orleans bloggers and others interested in the future of our beautiful and complex city. Near the end of the day, the organizers bestowed the Ashley Morris award for excellence in blogging. Ashley died a year ago April. Besides being one hell of a blogger, he was a friend to just about everyone else who took up the blogging hobby, including me. I still have a little bottle of absinthe that he gave me for my birthday in 2007. One of these days, I’ll make a Sazerac with it. A real Sazerac.
Anyway, Ashley’s most famous post gave birth to a linguistically interesting phenomenon; hence this post on t(n)lw. This phenomenon is usually referred to by the initials “FYYFF,” the first letters of each word in an imperative-mood sentence. At RT4, after the presentation of the Ashley Morris award, the master of ceremonies reminded the audience of “FYYFF” and invited one and all to shout out the words. No one had to be told what the words were, because we all knew them by heart:
“Fuck you, you fucking fucks!”
My! How cathartic that shout-out was! But I’m not here to talk about the catharsis. I’m here to talk about how interesting that sentence is linguistically. Just five words total, with three being variations of fuck. And we see those variations of fuck in three grammatical structures: an imperative-mood verb, a participial adjective, and a noun.
Call it cursing a blue streak if you like. I call it linguistic genius.