Thursday, January 25, 2018


Don’t know about you, but I have been somewhat amazed & amused by the outpouring of distress regarding the use of the vulgar word “shithole.” (Thanks to John Kerry, who brought the word back from extinction, shall we say “kerfuffle?”)

Now, as an Officer of Marines, I worked very hard at avoiding obscene verbiage, although admittedly some times without success. The avoidance of profane language was, in truth, a much greater challenge. With regard to vulgar terminology…well let’s say I learned at the feet of the most talented and original users and creators of vulgar terminology: Marine Staff Non-Commissioned Officers!

The essential element in the deciphering of any language, be it orthodox or non-orthodox, is identifying to what does the word infer or refer. In the case of the word in question, “shithole” refers to a PLACE and not a person or a people. For one to refer in a vulgar manner to a person or a people, the appropriate term would be “shithead” or “dickhead” or better yet, the more popular “asshole.”

Typically, the word “shithole” would be used in two consecutive and highly dependent sentences: “Jeez, what a shithole!” followed immediately by “Clean this shithole up!!.” In neither sentence does the word “shithole” refer to its inhabitants, although there may be an asshole or two in the group.

No doubt Marines and our brethren Soldiers clearly comprehend this distinction. Air Force officers surely would not use such language, and besides, the have contract laborers to clean things up. Similarly, the use of the word would be beneath the dignity of a Navy officer; that’s why they have Chiefs and Swabbies.

Like many of you to whom this email is addressed, I have been to a “shithole” or two in my time. I believe I know of which I speak. Certainly, we have seen our share in SEA, but until you have stood in some wadi shithole in the Sudan or Somalia or Oman, well, you haven’t lived!

So, in the interest of enlightening the over-educated, yet blithely ignorant masses, you have my permission to disseminate the important distinction in the use of vulgar terminology I have attempted to illuminate.

Peace be with you. Semper Fidelis!

1 comment:

bob walsh said...

Completely correct. Even if the quote is accurate, Trump never said ANYTHING disparaging about the residents of the shitholes.