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  #1  
Old 12-01-2005, 02:28 PM
Birdmonster Birdmonster is offline
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Why do we call penises "johnsons"?

Millions,
I'm serious. What's wrong with "andersons," or "smithies," or "mcgillicuddies"? Was there a...particularly well endowed Mr. Johnson back in the olden days?

gutterminded,
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2005, 03:10 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmonster
What's wrong with "andersons," or "smithies," or "mcgillicuddies"?
If you used every name, it would be so diffuse as to be meaningless. That being said, it's not as though "johnson" is that exclusive. There are plenty of generic names that stand in for "penis."

John Thomas, Willy, Hodge, Dick, Peter, Jimmy, Louis, and Bob spring to mind. I'm sure there are plenty of others.

If you're looking for a concrete answer, we could always make something up:

"16th century Patriarch John Thomas Hodge sired eleven sons, all of whom carried his genetic endowment of being built like a mule. His oldest son, Bob, was forced to flee to the New World colonies after the unfortunate death-by-haemorrhage of a mayor's daughter. There, he took the name of Johnson, and continued what became the American branch of the category of human later recognized as h. macrophallus."

Unfortunately, the correct answer is probably that there's something in the human psyche that impels guys to indulge in microanthropomorphism when it comes to their soft bits, and some names just stick better than others. I call mine "Lousewort," for instance -- and nobody seems to emulate that.
  #3  
Old 12-01-2005, 03:31 PM
Birdmonster Birdmonster is offline
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I call mine "Lousewurt." We're blood brothers.
  #4  
Old 12-01-2005, 03:35 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmonster
I call mine "Lousewurt." We're blood brothers.
. . . Or some-kind-of-bodily-fluid-or-semifluid-brothers, anyway!
  #5  
Old 12-01-2005, 04:12 PM
CynicalGabe CynicalGabe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Mudd
John Thomas, Willy, Hodge, Dick, Peter, Jimmy, Louis, and Bob spring to mind. I'm sure there are plenty of others.
Jimmy?

As in "She made me put a Jimmy on my Jimmy!"?

I'm not sure that would work.

And "Bob" just seems creepy.
  #6  
Old 12-01-2005, 04:15 PM
priapus priapus is offline
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I call mine MR JOHNSON
  #7  
Old 12-01-2005, 04:19 PM
Birdmonster Birdmonster is offline
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You should REALLY be calling it Priapism. I demand a change!
  #8  
Old 12-01-2005, 04:20 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Not to mention the fact that a Johnson can be Randy, or even Magic.
  #9  
Old 12-01-2005, 04:51 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalGabe
As in "She made me put a Jimmy on my Jimmy!"?

I'm not sure that would work.
But there it is. "I rogered her with my roger" seems a little weird, too, although I guess there are plenty of other words that double as nouns and verbs, like "hammer."

As for the prophylactic sense of "jimmy," "jimmy" also has a wider slang sense of "any mechanical contrivance," but especially one used by burglars to get into difficult places. This sense of "jimmy" is related to a similar sense of "jack" as "a mechanical device." It's from this sense that we get the word "jackhammer," and also "blackjack." (A cosh, not the game.)

"Jack" is also used a male signifier for various animals (especially donkeys,) and of course belongs on the list of names used simply to mean "penis." (We should probably touch on the term "Jacking off," in passing.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45
Not to mention the fact that a Johnson can be Randy, or even Magic.
Let's not forget Jack Johnson and Jimmy Rogers.
  #10  
Old 12-01-2005, 04:59 PM
Imasquare Imasquare is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45
Not to mention the fact that a Johnson can be Randy, or even Magic.
There is a well known race car driver in Australia called Dick Johnson.
  #11  
Old 12-01-2005, 06:55 PM
ltfire ltfire is offline
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Ohhh, you can call me Ray, or you can call me J, or you can call me Ray J, or you can call me Johnnie...but ya doesn’t has to call me Johnson.
  #12  
Old 12-01-2005, 06:58 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalGabe
Jimmy?

As in "She made me put a Jimmy on my Jimmy!"?

I'm not sure that would work.

And "Bob" just seems creepy.

Yes, yes it does.

Very creepy.
  #13  
Old 12-01-2005, 07:22 PM
LouisB LouisB is offline
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I've never heard of a penis called Louis, although Louis is my middle name---don't go there.
  #14  
Old 12-01-2005, 08:11 PM
Khampelf Khampelf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LouisB
I've never heard of a penis called Louis, although Louis is my middle name---don't go there.
OK, I'll go somewhere else, back to the OP, and surmise that it may have something to do with the phrase 'Keeping up with the Johnsons".

I don't think there is a noun that coudn't mean 'penis', in the right context.
  #15  
Old 12-01-2005, 08:26 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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The slang word is first recorded in print in a journal from 1863. So it was in use at least by then.

No mention of just where it comes from. Not even a speculation.

I'll post the question to the American Dialect Society and let them offer some help.
  #16  
Old 12-01-2005, 08:37 PM
elelle elelle is offline
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Larry Mudd
You are quite an impressive fount of knowledge on this subject.
  #17  
Old 12-01-2005, 08:37 PM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45
Not to mention the fact that a Johnson can be Randy, or even Magic.
I once wrote a short story (honest!) entitled "Magic Johnson's magic johnson," wherein the basketball star's ability on the court derived from his ability to maintain an erection during the action, etc., but when he went and got AIDS, no editor would touch it.

The story. Touch the story. No editor would touch the story.

You've got a disgusting mind, you know that?
  #18  
Old 12-01-2005, 08:52 PM
jocularjason jocularjason is offline
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The local asphalt company here is called Le Grande Johnson. You can't help but see those big manly trucks go by and get green with envy.

I think a character in a D.H. Lawrence novel reffered to his endowment as Jon Thomas.

Amazing that Smith or Jones never made the ranks.
  #19  
Old 12-01-2005, 09:07 PM
pseudotriton ruber ruber pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jocularjason
I think a character in a D.H. Lawrence novel reffered to his endowment as Jon Thomas.
Mellors, in Lady Chatterly's Lover. "John Thomas," to be precise.
  #20  
Old 12-01-2005, 09:39 PM
Philster Philster is offline
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What happens when your lady is Jonesing for a Johnson?
  #21  
Old 12-01-2005, 10:35 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sonoran Lizard King
I don't think there is a noun that coudn't mean 'penis', in the right context.
Mad-Libs time!
  #22  
Old 12-01-2005, 11:32 PM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imasquare
There is a well known race car driver in Australia called Dick Johnson.
We've got one in the US named Dick Trickle.
  #23  
Old 12-01-2005, 11:43 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmonster
Why do we call penises "johnsons"?

birdmonster
I don't.
  #24  
Old 12-01-2005, 11:48 PM
Flipshod Flipshod is offline
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[QUOTE=
I don't think there is a noun that coudn't mean 'penis', in the right context.[/QUOTE]

In one of the Myra Breckinridge novels (Myra or Myron?), Gore Vidal, making a statement, used the last names of the SCOTUS justices for all of his "dirty" words, and used "Rhenquist" for "penis" throughout. Vidal managed a fairly pornographic novel, and you always knew what he meant. "He thrust his throbbing Rhenquist..."
  #25  
Old 12-02-2005, 12:13 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckerfan
We've got one in the US named Dick Trickle.
The FBI Special Agent In Charge in Atlanta after the Centennial Park bombing was named Woody Johnson. When he introduced himself at a new conference I had to laugh. I kept expecting him to introduce his partner 'Dick Morningwood'.
  #26  
Old 12-02-2005, 05:14 AM
seosamh seosamh is offline
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A few years ago I was travelling on the Central Line of London's Underground and unfortunately sat close to three young (early 20s?) American chaps who were engaging a young English lady in conversation so loudly that I could not help overhear. One of them boasted that he lived on a ranch and that he owned a horse called "Johnson". He asked the young lady whether she had ever engaged in equestrianism herself. When she said "yes", he invited her to visit his ranch should she ever find herself in the neighbourhood and promised that she could "ride his Johnson all day long". At this, his companions could not hold back their mirth.

And that is why you lot call their tadgers "johnson".
  #27  
Old 12-02-2005, 06:07 AM
betenoir betenoir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalGabe
Jimmy?

As in "She made me put a Jimmy on my Jimmy!"?

I'm not sure that would work.
But...isn't Jimmy for condom short for Jimmy cap? The cap you put on your Jimmy? Or so I thought.

[/QUOTE]And "Bob" just seems creepy.[/QUOTE]

If you're jogging toward the bedroom it might be appropriate.
  #28  
Old 12-02-2005, 06:11 AM
betenoir betenoir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sonoran Lizard King
I don't think there is a noun that coudn't mean 'penis', in the right context.
Likewise, there's nothing you can say that doesn't sound dirty if you say it right.

"She's.....redecorating her den." *knowing look*

"He's adjusting his carborator. *If you know what I mean*

"He's calculating the value of Pi" Enough said.
  #29  
Old 12-02-2005, 06:52 AM
Frumpy Jones Frumpy Jones is offline
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You say Johnson, they make dick jokes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdmonster
Millions,
I'm serious. What's wrong with "andersons," or "smithies," or "mcgillicuddies"? Was there a...particularly well endowed Mr. Johnson back in the olden days?

gutterminded,
birdmonster
This is going to be a WAG, but in an effort to actually answer the OP (as opposed to everyone looking for the rim-shot), I'm going to say it goes hand-in-hand (ba-dum-bump!) with the fact that women of the night refer to their clients as Johns.

"John's Son" could be a sly reference to his ding-ding, and then got shortened to "Johnson".

But then, it cold be they got called "John" because whole deal centered around their JOHNSON...

So.. it may be a chicken or the egg syndrome here... But at least I'm trying
  #30  
Old 12-02-2005, 07:44 AM
astorian astorian is offline
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Old joke:


HER: "Dick, Peter, Rod, Johnson, John Thomas, Willy, Percy... why do men always give names to their penises?"

HIM: "Well, I wouldn't want all my decisions made by a total stranger, would I?"
  #31  
Old 12-02-2005, 08:00 AM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frumpy Jones
This is going to be a WAG, but in an effort to actually answer the OP (as opposed to everyone looking for the rim-shot), I'm going to say it goes hand-in-hand (ba-dum-bump!) with the fact that women of the night refer to their clients as Johns.

"John's Son" could be a sly reference to his ding-ding, and then got shortened to "Johnson".

But then, it cold be they got called "John" because whole deal centered around their JOHNSON...

So.. it may be a chicken or the egg syndrome here... But at least I'm trying
[Beavis & Butthead]Heh heh... he said "rim"... heh heh...[/B&B]
  #32  
Old 12-02-2005, 08:26 AM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Quote:

This is going to be a WAG, but in an effort to actually answer the OP (as opposed to everyone looking for the rim-shot), I'm going to say it goes hand-in-hand (ba-dum-bump!) with the fact that women of the night refer to their clients as Johns.

"John's Son" could be a sly reference to his ding-ding, and then got shortened to "Johnson".

But then, it cold be they got called "John" because whole deal centered around their JOHNSON...

So.. it may be a chicken or the egg syndrome here... But at least I'm trying
Again, in an effort to answer the OP, I've long been convinced that an explanation like Frump Jones' is correct.


"John", being the most common name in English and American society, was used as a synonym for anything used by "the common man". Thus, a bathroom /toilet became "the john" (in Shakespeare's time "The Jakes", a form of "John"), Prostitutes' customers were "Johns", the typical pseudonym was "John Smith" and the legal Everyman was "John Doe" (with runner-up "Richard Roe", who presumably had a "Dick")
"John Thomas" as a nickname for one's private parts is easily understandable, and I'll bet D.H. Lawrence didn't make that up himself, but simply appropriated it. From "John" to "John's son = johnson" is perfectly understandable.
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  #33  
Old 12-02-2005, 09:35 AM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckerfan
We've got one in the US named Dick Trickle.
Could be worse. I used to work with a guy named, no joke now, Dick Orifice.
  #34  
Old 12-02-2005, 09:40 AM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45
Not to mention the fact that a Johnson can be Randy, or even Magic.
The New York Yankees' starting pitchers last September included Johnson, Wang, ... and Small. I hope they were scouting guys named Tallywacker and Trousersnake to join them.
  #35  
Old 12-02-2005, 12:32 PM
Nature's Call Nature's Call is offline
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Is there any connection to the mythical car part the "johnson rod"?
  #36  
Old 12-02-2005, 01:41 PM
Jman Jman is offline
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It's really too bad that Wikipedia deleted the article on Body Parts Slang....it was perhaps the funniest thing I've read in a long time...must have been 4,000 terms for body parts.
  #37  
Old 12-02-2005, 01:42 PM
Jman Jman is offline
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Upon further review, it appears that a few sites have preserved the list:
http://www.answers.com/topic/body-parts-slang

Enjoy!
  #38  
Old 12-02-2005, 02:15 PM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Mudd
(We should probably touch on the term "Jacking off," in passing.)
No--don't! You'll go blind!

  #39  
Old 12-02-2005, 02:54 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frumpy Jones
I'm going to say it goes hand-in-hand (ba-dum-bump!) with the fact that women of the night refer to their clients as Johns.
The problem with that hypothesis is that "johnson" for "penis" has been in use since the middle of the 19th century, while "john" for prostitutes' clients isn't recorded until 1911.
Quote:
But then, it cold be they got called "John" because whole deal centered around their JOHNSON..
Maybe, but I think it's much more likely that the name stuck simply because it's so generic and anonymous. We use "John" this way in plenty of non-sexual situations. Soldiers receive "Dear John" letters. "John Doe" stands in for anyone whose name is unknown or withheld, "John Q. Public" personifies the average American man, and "John Bull" personifies the average English man. Variants of "John" -- "Hans" and "Ivan" are typically used in a similar way to refer to Germans and Russians, respectively, and have been for hundreds of years. Heck, even the word "Yankee," which was originally applied by Dutch colonists in the New World to their English neighbours to the West, is a corruption of "Janke," or "Little John."

We could start from plenty of other non-sexual applications of these names and quickly arrive at the "penis" sense, if we don't look at how the use actually developed.

We call a toilet a "John." We might say that this is so because we typically get out our "johnson" on approach.

Samuel Johnson gave us the first English dictionary. We might say that "johnson" is sort of a proto-Cockney rhyming slang: "Johnson" --> "Samuel Johnson"--> "Dictionary Johnson" --> Dick. We might further argue that his biographer recorded that he was fond of his cat, Hodge, and was always running out looking for oysters for it, and never missed an opportunity to give him a good stroke. Nudge nudge.

There's a long-standing rumour that Pope John XII met his end at the hands of a jealous husband whose wife he'd been shagging. Maybe this is where the association came from...

...but don't bet on it.
  #40  
Old 12-02-2005, 03:02 PM
brownie55 brownie55 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves
Could be worse. I used to work with a guy named, no joke now, Dick Orifice.
Did you call him "Big Pussy" like the guy in the first season of the Sopranos?
  #41  
Old 12-02-2005, 03:30 PM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sonoran Lizard King
I don't think there is a noun that coudn't mean 'penis', in the right context.
Pretty sure 'vagina' would give you some trouble.
  #42  
Old 12-02-2005, 07:21 PM
Khampelf Khampelf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervaise
Pretty sure 'vagina' would give you some trouble.

Nope, I've no problems with vaginas.

{NJ Accent} Anyway, I've got yer vagina, right here, Pal. {/NJ Accent}
  #43  
Old 12-02-2005, 07:34 PM
Rico Rico is offline
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And don't forget the famous actor who appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and admitted that it was very difficult for him, because his first and last names were synonymous with the male penis.

Remember Peter O'Toole???

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  #44  
Old 12-03-2005, 09:27 AM
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In an interview in Rolling Stone, US football player Brian Bosworth told of a would-be groupie who walked up to him and grabbed "Coach Johnson" before she even said a word to him.
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  #45  
Old 12-03-2005, 09:48 AM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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Wiki has a few more ideas for euphamisms:

* Bethany M
* Big Ben
* Big L
* anaconda
* angry Samoan
* baby-maker
* banana
* beef bayonet
* beef stick
* beef whistle
* beer can
* bird
* bishop
* bone
* boner
* boy- preceding many of the other synonyms, e.g. boycock
* boyhood
* boypole
* bratwurst
* butoh
* choad
* cock
* dick
* dickie
* dinger
* dingus
* dong
* donger
* dork
* dragon
* drunk girls' breathalizer
* fang
* ferret
* fire hose
* fireman
* fishing rod
* franks and beans
* fuckstick
* grapes and banana
* hanging johnny
* Hardy Boy
* Heat-Seeking Moisture Missile
* Hooded Warrior
* Hog
* hose
* Jimmy
* John Thomas (dated)
* John
* Johnson, johnson
* joystick
* Kit-Kat stick
* knob
* lance
* lingam
* little Bob (also with any owner's first name)
* little Elvis
* little general
* longfellow
* love muscle
* man- preceding many of the other synonyms
* manhood
* member
* mushroom head
* mutton
* old boy
* old fellow
* old man
* one-eyed milk man
* one-eyed monster
* one-eyed snake
* one-eyed trouser-snake (Australia, UK)
* one-eyed cave explorer
* one-eyed love goblin
* one-eyed wonder weasel (or "one-eyed wonder worm")
* panhandle
* pecker
* Pedro
* pee-pee
* peepee (children's term)
* pencil
* Percy
* peter
* pocket rocket
* pole
* pork sword
* prick
* purple-helmeted warrior
* purple headed yogurt slinger
* rock monster
* rocket
* rod
* roundhead
* sausage
* schlong
* schmuck, shmuck (Yiddish)
* schwanz, shvantz
* search and rescue team
* short arm
* skin flute
* slim jim
* snake
* tail (remarkably also used for the butt, as in tail-end)
* talliwacker
* tassle
* thing
* thumper
* todger (Australia, UK)
* tonk
* tool
* toot
* trojan horse
* trouser snake
* trouser trout
* (The) True Hero
* tube
* tube steak
* twanger
* two patch
* wang, whang
* wankie, wanker
* wee-wee
* weenie
* wick
* wiener
* willy or willie (children's term)
* wing wang
* winkie
* wooper
* woopy stick 'as sung by the Bloodhound Gang'
* yard
* yingyang
* yogurt gun
* Long John Silver
  #46  
Old 12-03-2005, 11:07 AM
Nature's Call Nature's Call is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rico
Remember Peter O'Toole???
[humoursous-hijack]
Guy goes into a talent agent.

Guy: "I'm looking for someone to represent me."

Agent: "Well, your resume is impressive. I see you've done well on the stage, some small roles on TV. You are handsome. Yeah, I think we can work together. Of course you realize you must change your name, though."

Guy: "What!?! What's wrong with my name."

Agent: "Well, Penis van Lesbian. I mean..."

Guy: "The van Lesbian name has a long and glorious history. I am proud of my family and will never change it! Good day, sir!'

...lets door hit his ass on the way out...

Years later, Agent gets a letter,

"Dear sir,

You may remember me from the time I asked you to represent me. You advised me to change my name. In a huff I left. However, I struggled for a while in my career. I considered your advice and finally changed my name. Success soon followed and I've felt guilty that you have not benefited when clearly you were right. Enclosed please find a cheque for $10,000.

Thanks for everything,

Dick van Dyke"

[/humourous-hijack]
  #47  
Old 12-03-2005, 03:45 PM
Dr. Rieux Dr. Rieux is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flipshod
In one of the Myra Breckinridge novels (Myra or Myron?), Gore Vidal, making a statement, used the last names of the SCOTUS justices for all of his "dirty" words, and used "Rhenquist" for "penis" throughout. Vidal managed a fairly pornographic novel, and you always knew what he meant. "He thrust his throbbing Rhenquist..."
Specifically, justices who ruled in favor of community standards for obscenity, plus two noted anti-smut crusaders:
Burger=intercourse
Rhenquist=penis
Whizzer White=vagina
Powells=testicles
Keating=excrement
Father Brown=posterior or anus
  #48  
Old 12-03-2005, 08:26 PM
racer72 racer72 is offline
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It all started with Big Johnson t-shirts. They have been around for years, I bought my first on well over 20 years ago.
  #49  
Old 12-03-2005, 08:56 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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::::nothing but hijacks::::

Closed. samclem GQ moderator
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