Explain This Full Metal Jacket Insult

“Did your parents have any children that lived?”

Huh? What does this insult imply? I just don’t get it. That was the #1 top insult from a list of top 20 movie insults @ http://www.theshiznit.co.uk/review.php?id=220

So what is so insulting about that insult? Would anyone care to break it down for me?


As in, you are so insignificant that it’s like you are not even there, or, ever been born.

I was really hoping there was some more meat to it :frowning: I mean, obviously ‘you’ exist if I’m uttering an insult directed towards you.


I remember my dad using this line when I was a kid. IIRC John Wayne said it in one of his war films. (Was he a pliot? Flying Tigers maybe?)

I’d always assumed the recipient was being called brain dead.

Sorry it is not literal. On a related note. I hate to break it to you but there actually are more things in Texas than steers and queers.

Queers and illiterates. And I saw you reading a book!

From FMJ I like “You’re so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece” a lot better.

How about, “Is it true your brother is an only child?”

“Looks to me like the best part of you ran down the crack of your mumma’s ass and ended up as a brown stain on the matress! I think you’ve been cheated!”

My favourite for sure.

An Irish farmer I know, to his wife, regarding the lamb chop on his plate:

“Was it dead before you killed it?”

Since this thread is the one that finally got me out of lurker mode (2-3 weeks-apologies) I thought I’d add my point of view.

The insult in question-

“Did your parents have any children that lived?”-in itself isn’t that extreme, but in the context, I’ve always viewed it as a leading question, like a prosecutor baiting a defendant on the stand. In other words, the Gunnery Sergeant knows that the answer can only be an affirmation, and, when it inevitably comes from Private Pyle, he unsprings the realinsult. So the whole thing goes-

GS-“Did your parents have any children that lived?”
PP-“Sir, yes Sir.”
GS-“I’ll bet they regret that.”

The implication being that Private Pyle’s parents would have been generally happier had he been stillborn. For my money, I can’t think of anything more insulting.

Although I think that quote (as explained above) stands up on its own, you just cannot appreciate the level of vitriol Ermey interjects into Full Metal Jacket without having seen it- the first 45 minutes or so are the Sistine Chapel of profanity.

I think mines got to be “Well, you talk the talk. Do you walk the walk ?” Very lame, but oh, so true.

thanks Incensed, that makes much much more sense now that it has been put within the context of the dialogue. Wow.

as an aside…


Should the term in question be spelt ‘dialog’ or ‘dialogue’? My dictionary says either one is acceptable, but surely there is one commonly accepted spelling?


Who did the DI ask this of, the Protagonist or the fat guy?

Here’s one insult I never really got:

“I will motivate you Pyle, if it short dicks every cannibal on the Congo!”

Carnivorous Plant-The fat guy, aka Private Pyle played by Vincent D’Onofrio. Incidentally it is also the first exchange between the sadistic Gunnery Sergeant and the hapless private. No introductions, nothing, just “Did your parents…?” Talk about disconcerting.

Blalron- I never quite understood that one either. My (admittedly thin) conjecture would be that “short dicks”=“fucks over”, so that the Gunnery Sergeant is declaring that he will fuck over everyone in the world, including those in darkest Africa, in order to make Private Pyle a Marine.

Thanks for the actor and thanks for the above; I didn’t get it either.

D’Onofrio mentioned in an interview the social difficulty of putting on weight for the role.

And of course,

His character kills R. Lee. In real life, R. Lee would’ve taken the rifle away and shoved it up his ass, but it was just a movie. :slight_smile:

Short dicks=Short changes.

I will motivate you if it cheats every cannibal on the Congo. Why cannibals on the Congo? Because it is alliterative. It doesn’t mean anything on its own any more than “fuck the dog” or “closer than a red c**t hair.” Why does it have to be red, just because it is.
If you want to know how to cuss, ask an NCO.

Sgt Schwartz

I always thought of “Did your parents have any children that lived?” as the equivalent of “You’re a walking abortion,” as in not really a functional productive human being.

That’s my interpretation as well. And my fave line has to be the one regarding a reacharound. And isn’t that one half of a great movie or what?