Vulgar sighting

Since introduced to Deadwood at the Catallarchicon, I've been watching it quite a bit. I've always enjoyed Westerns, and I've always enjoyed gritty realism, so it makes good sense. One of the first things a person notices when first watching the show is how much they say "fuck"—it's a lot. I know the word was around then, and I'm not going to split hairs by saying it was used only half as much as in the show (which would still be a lot), but it got me thinking. It was in the language for so long, but not in songs and movies. I can basically understand why this would be, but when did that glass ceiling break?

Readers, when is the earliest you can find the word used in a movie or a song? I'm really curious to know about its first use in a recorded song/movie intended for general consumption, not a porno movie. Thus, college chants don't count, but rock & roll records do. As a way of saving you time, I'll give the Rolling Stones' "Starfucker" as an upper limit on songs, and, hell, Taxi Driver as an upper limit on movies. I am sure these are not the first, but you don't have to think any later than them.

One might expect the breaking of the language barrier to coincide with other societal changes, but one would have to know when it happened before making hypotheses.

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‘The Catcher in the Rye’

‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J.D.Salinger, was if I’ve heard right, the first time a mainstream and successful book used the word.

No way. Ulysses was probably the first in the U.S., with Lady Chatterly's Lover being second. James Jones' From Here to Eternity apparently used "fuck" something like 50 times and was published the year before Catcher.

In answer to Randall's question, according to Wikipedia either "Ulysses" or "I'll Never Forget What's'i'sname" (both 1967) was probably the first film to use "fuck". Unfortunately, I've never been able to find a reference that gives the definitive (or for that matter, even a tentative) answer as to the first major recording to use "fuck". Of course, the last time I devoted any significant time to looking for this sort of thing was almost two years ago, so some intensive Google-work might turn it up.

Wish I could help you. No

Wish I could help you. No fucking clue.

I'm pretty sure it shows up

I'm pretty sure it shows up in that Gershwin song:

Let's call the whole fucking thing off.

'The Catcher in the Rye' by

'The Catcher in the Rye' by J.D.Salinger, was if I've heard right, the first time a mainstream and successful book used the word.

Randall - I heard that the

Randall - I heard that the writers of the show researched the time to find out what language to use. Both of the quantity of curses and words used reflect letters from the period.

Randall - I heard that the

Randall - I heard that the writers of the show researched the time to find out what language to use. Both of the quantity of curses and words used reflect letters from the period.

Really? Wow, I always that the gratuitous use of "cocksucker" was an anachronism. I'm sure why the possibility that it wasn't excites me. :oops:

I do know that Hemingway

I do know that Hemingway didn't use it in his fiction, saying that he only used profanities that had been around for at least a thousand years. I am not making this up.

Jim, stop making things up.

Jim, stop making things up.

I watched the DVD

I watched the DVD commentaries for Deadwood. In one episode, the actor playing J.B. Farnum adlibs a line ending in "motherfucker." That put the director in a tough position because, although the scene was very good, that was not an historically accurate profanity. I'm nearly certain that every other expletive used on the show really is historically accurate.

Jelly Roll Morton used f***

Jelly Roll Morton used f*** liberally in his 1938 recording Anamule Dance (Rounder CD 1092). He was a dirty boy.

Hemingway cursed all the

Hemingway cursed all the time, only it was usually in Spanish. You can still get around the US censors by cursing in another languauge. See some of the Chinese used in Firefly for details.

And, yeah, Wikipedia has a huge section on the word.

In the CD set of the first

In the CD set of the first year, the author says that they increased the amount of swearing on purpose to help make the point about how different Deadwood was from the rest of the country. It was an atomospheric device to emphasize the lack of law, etc. and the struggle to create a working community outside normal law.

John Lennon used "fucking"

John Lennon used "fucking" as an adjective twice in "Working Class Hero" (1970). I'm sure it's not the earliest example, but it's certainly not obscure. That has to count for something.