Fisher Price: A Retrospective

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Fisher Price is the title of a 21st-century literary work by an unknown author who first published it in November 2005 under the pen name 4.252.99.182. It is considered by many art critics to be one of the greatest literary achievements of our time. At only four words long, this modern classic is also one of the shortest pieces of literature ever written.

The statement

"go eat shit fuckers."

Such a sentence seems, at first glance, crass and offensive. However, underneath the words themselves lies a statement of beautiful grammatical ambiguity and meaning. The author of this profound statement, 4.252.99.182, has long been considered one of the greatest writers in the history of modern literature. The depth and meaning of this sentence only cements this reputation, and lifts him to new heights of literary esteem. Meanwhile, surrealism is highly prominent in this work. Truly, this sentence is in full accord with René Magritte's famous statement, "Allez mangent la merde baiseurs."

The obvious interpretation

The most literal interpretation of the sentence, from a purely grammatical perspective, would be as an exhortation to "go eat shit, fuckers." It literally requests that the subject of the sentence, fuckers (most likely referring to the reader[1]) engage in the act of eating feces. Given the offensive nature of the idea, this meaning is probably meant both as a warning and as a deterrent by the author — not only to shield the sentence's deeper meanings from less-perceptive readers by providing such a crass and obvious interpretation, but also to warn those readers who do find potential for other meanings that they should not proceed, as the many layers of meaning in the sentence are meant to remain concealed. Additionally, the sentence also hints at the artist's "angst" towards his real or abstract subject, in a manner similar to that of Salvador Dali's depiction of the agony of abstraction in his masterpiece, The Persistence of Memory.

Plea or ironic metaphor?

If "shit" is viewed as meaning feces, then the sentence provides a timely reminder: In a world where plastic waste can be found even on the high seas, neglecting to reduce our consumption to sustainable levels will ultimately require us to consume our own waste. Otherwise, the sentence expresses a commentary on the rise of cheap junk-food ("shit") in contemporary working-class culture.

The cannibalistic interpretation

By simply shifting one's perception of the sentence slightly, a somewhat less obvious interpretation of the sentence may be construed. If grammatically interpreted as "go eat shit-fuckers," the sentence makes a request to the reader; specifically, it requests that the reader participate in a cannibalistic ritual of eating what is presumed to be another human.

To add to this interpretation, there are two possible sub-interpretations which are associated with it as well. The phrase shit fuckers, which appears at the end of the sentence, has both a literal and a derogatory meaning.

Literally

Fisherprice

The original manuscript of Fisher Price as discovered in a hotel room believed to have been occupied by 4.252.99.182; likely accidentally left behind.

Literally, the phrase shit fuckers means, quite clearly, one who engages in the act of coprophilia. In this interpretation, it expresses the author's disdain for this particular act, but also adds a more subtle message which not only reflects on the author but also on his view of the reader. The effects of the message are twofold: First, it implies that while the author has a dislike for coprophilic behavior, he does not feel the same way about cannibalism, which as a societal taboo would normally have a similar stigma attached to it. Second, it adds a touch of insult to the reader, whose prospective victims, or meals, are considered to be coprophiliacs and, post ipso facto, would presumably not be very appetizing.

Derogatorily

If the phrase is not taken literally, shit fuckers is most easily interpreted as being a simple insult with no literal meaning. In this case, it is, again, a request that the reader consume other humans, but rather than the aforementioned coprophiliacs, the victims are not a clearly definable group.

Oral-sex interpretation

"To eat" is a common colloqualism, meaning "to perform oral sex upon." Thus, the reader is requested to go fellate a coprophilliac. This may be seen as a compassionate act, in that we are entreated to empathize those whose sexual proclivities are unconventional, and whom society often shuns as a result. In this simple four-word phrase, we hear the echoes of the words of Jesus: As you would have others do unto you, goest thou and do likewise.

The variant of the above meaning to fellate feces (with the "fuckers" being those in the original interpretation) is often considered, but is unpopular due to the lack of external genitalia on feces.

Considering that this profound meaning comes to us in what seems a crude and offensive direct statement, we are reminded of the tax-collectors and prostitutes with whom Jesus often shared his meals. Many, after all, have entertained angels unaware. Are these "angels" the ones referred to in this seemingly offensive phrase, or is it the shit-fuckers themselves? Woe unto you, because when I was in prison you did not visit me; when I thirsted, you brought me not water to drink; when I was naked, you did not clothe me; and finally: when all the world hated and condemned me for my sexual predilections, you fellated me not. And here, the circle is complete: for Jesus in his glory condemns the "goats" to burn in Hell for eternity. "Go eat shit, fuckers!" indeed — if we will not do it one way, then we shall be condemned to do it the other way.

The newspaper interpretation

Many newspaper headlines eliminate the use of conjunctions to preserve space and prevent ambiguity. In this case, the headline would read "Go eat shit, fuckers" — which has the same punctuation as the first interpretation, but carries a different meaning.

The meaning of the sentence in this interpretation is that of a statement to the reader to eat both feces and people (fuckers), amalgamating the meanings of the previous two interpretations. The headline style of this form adds a rather stinging, sarcastic tone to the statement, giving it a feeling of faux urgency and severity.

The food interpretation

Bookofshite

The Book of Shite contains several chapters on both coprophilia and fuckers.

The fourth meaning that can be tied to the sentence is of a less extreme nature than the others. The element of asking either the reader or another group of people to "eat" remains, but in this form, what should be eaten remains undefined; the sentence could be read as 'go eat, shit fuckers'. It is possible the phrase go eat is simply a euphemism for go away, indicative of the same hostile attitude toward the reader that has been suggested in the other interpretations. Like the cannibalistic interpretation, there are two possible meanings; an insult to the reader, or a suggested activity for coprophiliacs.

An insult to the reader

If the latter two words of the phrase shit fuckers are interpreted as a derogatory comment rather than as a literal description, it can be assumed that the phrase is targeted toward the reader as a direct insult. In this case, assuming the phrase go eat bears the double meaning mentioned above, this interpretation is the most basic, and yet also the most vivid of them all, epitomizing the author's succinct and efficient style of writing.

A statement to coprophiliacs

In an earlier section, the author's disdain for coprophilia was discussed, and it resurfaces again in this form. Following along with the previous interpretation of go eat, this sentence is a simple and direct statement of intolerance for coprophilic behavior. Once again, the efficiency and brief style of writing that is found throughout this work is exemplified here.

Procreative elimination

This reading parses the sentence as "Go, eat; shit fuckers." This begins with an exhortation to go and eat, and follows with a command to defecate--to defecate not the normal fecal material, but rather procreative beings, "fuckers." It is somewhat unclear whether the author asks the readers to shit fuckers as a way of bringing about more life, or as a curse (knowing that doing so would likely be a painful experience).

A group, commanded away, and then dismissed

This reading parses the sentence as "Go! Eat shit! Fuckers." The first is a command to leave, perhaps harkening back to the fall, in which God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Having commanded the unnamed object of the piece of leave, they are dismissed to their faces with the words "eat shit!" before being dismissed again — apparently to another person, perhaps the reader — as nothing more than "fuckers."

A dinner party, surprised

Yet another interpetation would read the sentence as, "Go eat. Shit! Fuckers!" In this reading, the narrator is commanding a group of people to eat (whether the meal is dinner, lunch, breakfast, or even brunch is unspecified, perhaps to enhance suspense). At this point, the narrator cries out in alarm, "Shit!" before revealing what has resulted in his shock and surprise: the aforementioned fuckers.

Futility of life

A somewhat more interesting interpretation of the work is it truly shows how pointless existence is. "Go. Eat. Shit. Fuckers." This illustrates the futile and largely meaningless cycle of consumption and expulsion of wastes that one's life can be reduced to, in a minimalistic or even nihilistic sense. This is followed immediately by the author's almost guttural expression of rage at this reductionism, expressed in blatantly primitive, even bestial, exclamations of defiant obscenity. Truly, under this interpretation the statement deeply resonates as an inspired message unto humanity.

Taoist Impressions

Some scholars have stated that the phrase implies strong overtones of Philosophical Taoism. When read the same way as suggested above, i.e., "Go. Eat. Shit. Fuckers," the author could be viewed as imploring the reader to do what comes most naturally: To Go with the flow of life as it comes to you. To Eat, or take in, that which surrounds you. To Shit, or let go of that which is without meaning. And finally, the author refers to the readers as Fuckers, which could be taken indirectly as a reference to the bringers of life, since those who partake in the act of procreation are, virtually by definition, fuckers. In four words, the author gives the reader a clear and peaceful path by which to live.

Conclusion

While interpretations other than the ones listed in this analysis do exist, the ones that have been described here are most widely accepted by the majority of scholars working in the field. As has been made clear by the statement's manifold layers of interpretation and meaning, this piece of literature is not only one of the deepest of our time, but also one of the broadest. If this sentence were a visual art, it would most certainly bear a resemblance to M.C. Escher's Relativity, a seemingly simplistic and vulgar view — but ultimately, a profound look at what may arguably be termed the futility of existence.

Notes

  1. ^  The interpretation of 'fuckers' as being the company (or some other entity) known as "Fisher-Price" is generally considered to be flawed; Fisher-Price, though the title of the work, is clearly not the intended audience. "Fuckers," however, could refer to all of the audience or just those who actively engage in sexual intercourse. (The implication that these are the same might also be a snide comment on modern sexual morés).
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