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Why Sucky is Crappy
By Shawn Everett Jones
I remember when the movie Reality Bites came out. No one ever said “bites." Everyone said “sucks." We all knew it meant 'reality sucks” and the production company must have been afraid or censored or self-conscious. That's why they called the film Reality Bites instead of Reality Sucks. I mean, yeah, biting is crappy. The movie title, as an expression though, never caught on. No one I knew ever did say “bites” before or after that film came out. I don't know why, because bites, ouch, now that is the worst, right? That really is crappy.
But why did the filmmakers have a problem with “sucks”? Because I don't know how many people are conscious of the meanings and implications of the word “suck," at least on a daily basis. There is even a popular bumper sticker that states, “Mean people suck." That is the worst problem with the word. That it could work its way into a popular positive expression. Yes, mean people are crappy, but also, ignorant people are crappy, too.
So, let's examine the word. "Sucks" means the worst, the lowest, the least desired occurrence. If something sucks, it is the pits, it is terrible, it is the crappiest!
But literally, to suck is to suck dick. When something sucks, something is sucking a dick. It is used to state that the worst thing one could do is suck a dick. Sometimes “blows” can be substituted for “sucks,” but although they literally mean different actions, they both colloquially mean the exact same thing—and it ain't “bites." It is a derogatory word directly related to a dominate male oppressive culture. It stealthily creeps in and bashes women and gay people for no reason, out of nowhere, in broad daylight. It is one of those sneaky expressions that comes up everywhere. It comes up at work or at family gatherings where you wonder whether you should even bother correcting and informing the linguistic culprit. Your friends say the word obliviously because it has just weaseled its way into our everyday vocabulary.
Now, I wonder, how is sucking that bad of a thing? Many people all over the world love to suck dick. Many women and men (and everyone who enjoys a place in between those gender extremes) throughout the ages have taken pleasure in the sensation, taste and exhilarating activity of sucking dick. Don't most males, at least, enjoy a good dick sucking? Even those of a heterosexual persuation? So what makes it a bad thing? Again, that perceived "bad" is connected to homophobia and disrespect of women.
I remember as a child, classmates would use “gay” or “faggot” or “girl” or “sissy” as the ultimate put-downs. For a young male, those were the worst things you could be called. Such is the way with women being described as “bitch” or “slut” by males. It is a tool of aggressive dominance because only bitches, sluts and faggots suck dick. To this strain of straight males, sucking dick implies something they would not engage in, something that would make them less than masculine, not part of the team, and—more importantly—something of shame that would put them down to the level of the lowest-of-the-low.
I admit though, I have caught myself saying “that sucks." And it always makes me feel crappy when I later realize I said it. It is one of those words that we can say without thinking because it is a such an oft-used slang expression. To my dismay, sometimes I just hear it slip out of my mouth. I wish I could remind my tongue, wake up my brain and speak with conscious thought. While I am not one for honoring most American customs, I guess I would count this as my New Year's resolution: to avoid saying "sucks." Even more, you may have noticed throughout this piece that I have used the word "crappy" to replace "sucky." My proposal is to start calling things "crappy." There is a certain nomenclature that my group of friends shares. A Danville nomenclature. When something sucks, we call it "crappy." Sometimes you may hear, "Oh, man, that sucks." But usually, it's, "Oh, man, that's crappy." As far as this group is concerned, it is not about awareness as much as it is a funny way to express that something is terrible. But it works well. Things are crappy—not sucky. Not only is that a better state of mind for the world, it's fun. Crap is gender-neutral.