Give a shit

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Somebloke
After a long consultation with "the man in the street", researchers are still unable to provide an answer to the question, "who gives a shit?"

Throughout the history of everything ever, there have been questions which arose that proved to be unanswerable.[1] Man has always attempted to understand nature's phenomenon and comprehend the world around him, but to no avail. Thus far, he has found that the world around him may be more complex than his tiny little brain could ever imagine. And so it is these "unanswerable questions" that present themselves and serve as a constant reminder that we are all extremely stupid. But who gives a shit?

This page is not about such a question. But, the question has existed for hundreds of years, and up until now, has baffled philosophers and average people everywhere. The question I'm talking about, of course, is:

"Who gives a shit?"

In turn, there are numerous answers to this question, such as:

"I don't give a shit."
"Nobody gives a shit."

If you wish to read more about the dynamics of this vague and understandably confusing term known as "give[ing] a shit", then read on. If not, go to this shock site.

Analysis & History

Upon first glance, the phrases themselves seems vulgar and obscene. Wikipedia notes the word "shit" as being of Old Norse origin and denoting feces. Today, feces is often regarded as very disgusting and unpleasant, and so "giving a shit" would mean one would give the lowest amount of attention or concern about, considering again the value of shit.

However, if we reverse the clock a few hundred years to the 12th century, we find that the word "shit" had a somewhat similar meaning to today's use of the term.

Just as the Romans had used human urine to wash clothes (due to its acidity of course), early Scandinavians had used shit (skīta) to make various things, including but not limited to:

  • Thick paints
  • Make-up
  • Pottery
  • Jewelry
  • Medicine
Idgasgod
A Biblical phrase from the Book of Job when Job wouldn't stop crying.

The value of shit is estimated to have been greater than the value of gold, and therefore shit made a great yet expensive gift. For Yule, shit sales could be found at every Viking market; it wasn't uncommon, however, for people to make their own shit.

Diffusing Languages

The original Old Norse definition of "giving a shit" was probably lost sometime in the 10th century. In the midst of pillaging and raping North American natives, the Vikings also traded. However, the native Inuit and Beothuk didn't understand the value of shit. And so, from their uncivilized and barbaric ways, they referred to the Viking tradesmen's offer of shit to bear pelts as "giving shit", or "giving a shit". Because the Natives refused to trade pelts for shit, Vikings began to stop offering shit in trades, and it became a well-known Nordic phrase:

Viking that gives shit to primitive Natives gets nothing.[2]

And so the value of shit declined amongst the North American Vikings, and later, Scandinavia. Eventually, alternatives to shit were found such as clay, mercury, and lead. From this literal translation, we can see how the current English saying of "giving a shit" has become, and of course the question, "who gives a shit?".

The present-day meaning of the question "who gives a shit?" quite simply means, "who cares?". It is usually in regards to an action that might be considered of little importance. Below is an example of the question used in dialogue.

Bob: My wife died.
John: Who gives a shit?

Or in another context:

Bob: My wife died, but who gives a shit?

The answer, in this case, is nobody. The question is meant to be obvious and rhetorical. When an individual asks, "who gives a shit?", it is apparent that nobody gives a shit. So in summation, the question is used to point out the fact that nobody gives a shit.

Usage

It can also be used as a statement in many tenses. See below:

Preterite

Bob: My wife died, and nobody gave a shit.
-
John: I didn't give a shit about his dead wife.

Present

Bob: My wife died, but I don't give a shit.
-
John: I don't give a shit about his dead wife.

Future

Bob: When my wife dies, I won't give a shit.
-
John: I won't give a shit about his dead wife.

Interjection

As an interjection, it can be used in a variety of creative ways, usually to express apathy, discontent, or anger. The most common are obviously a loud "I don't give a shit!" or a "Nobody gives a shit!".

In Other Languages

English Spanish French Portuguese Swedish
I do not give a shit. me vale un(a) carajo/mierda. Je ne donne pas une merde. Tô cagando e andando. Jag bryr mig inte ett skit.
Nobody gives a shit. A todos les vale mierda.[3] J'aime promenades longues sur la merde.[4] Todo mundo tá cagando e andando pra isso. Ingen bryr sig ett skit.
Who gives a shit? ¿A quien mierda le importa? Qui donne une merde? Quem liga pra essa merda? Vem bryr sig?
We don't give a shit. Nos importa una mierda Nous ne donnons pas une merde. A gente tá cagando e andando. Vi bryr oss inte ett skit.

Historical Relevance

There have been many historical events which were influenced or directly caused by people giving a shit or not giving a shit. The text is tiny because nobody gives a shit about normal-sized text:

  • A fucking long time ago - The universe is created in an explosion of light, heat, energy and gravity forming the basis of the bullshit we know today as physics. No one gives a shit.
  • 65 million years ago - The dinosaurs get wiped out by some freak meteor or something. None of the dinosaurs give a shit, cos they're all dead. None of the mammals give a shit either cos the dinosaurs ate their aunties.
  • 58 BC - Julius Caesar doesn't give a shit and decides to invade Gaul.
  • 44 BC - Several Roman Senators conspire to kill Julius Caesar. They are successful. Nobody gives a shit.
  • 37 BC - Augustus becomes sick of Marc Antony's shit, and decides to split the Roman Empire.
  • 0 AD/BC - The prophet/son of God Jesus is born in some rabies-ridden stable next to Boris Johnson. No one gives a shit (apart from him mum, of course!).
  • 36 AD - Pontius Pilate just doesn't give a shit. Some important guy dies.
  • 476 AD - Rome falls. Nobody gives a shit.
  • 769 AD - Arabs are tired and pissed at having to chisel everything into rock and force the Chinese to introduce paper to the region. Europe doesn't give a shit.
  • 1000 AD - Earth has officially lasted 1000 years since the birth of that one guy who died in 36 AD, but nobody really gives a shit.
  • 1066 AD Some French arsehole invades some country or other. The world goes on, living happily with the fact that they didn't give a shit, and never will.
  • 1111 AD - The year 1111 is a year that can be read backwards and forwards, as well as upside down. Not many people gave a shit though.
  • 1492 AD - Christopher Columbus "discovered" America. Native Americans didn't really give a shit at the time.
  • 1775 AD - The United States starts a revolution against Britain. King George III doesn't give a shit.
  • 1789 AD - The French start their own revolution, but the bourgeois really don't give a shit.
  • 1812 AD - War of 1812 happens. Nobody gives a shit.
  • 1830 AD - Everybody gets tired of their primitive tools and unfulfilling lives, so those who give a shit start the Industrial Revolution in Britain.
  • 1861 AD - The South gets pissed and secedes. The American Civil War starts. The North doesn't give a shit.
  • 1912 AD - A particular iceberg in the Northern Atlantic is mad and sinks the RMS Titanic as a result. 1,500 people die. Other than that, nobody gives a shit.
  • 1914 AD - Archduke Franz Ferdinand gets his shit ruined and Austria gives a shit. World War I starts.
  • 1939 AD - Germany doesn't give a shit about the Treaty of Versailles. World War II starts. The US doesn't give a shit until later on.
  • 1944 AD - A mozillion Jews get killed in the Holocaust. People give a shit and they haven't shut the fuck up about it yet.
  • 1945 AD - Atoms don't give a shit and start to split. Two Japanese cities are wiped off the map as a result. Nobody gives a shit.
  • 1969 AD - Earth sucks, America goes to the moon, Russia doesn't give a shit.
  • 1997 AD - Princess Diana dies. Nobody gives a shit.
  • 1998 AD - Windows 98 is released. Consumers are frustrated with the memory leaks, but Microsoft doesn't really give a shit.
  • 1999 AD - Eminem releases his 2nd EP called "I Don't Give a Fuck" (Shit.)
  • 2000 AD - Earth survives another 1000 years. God is impressed, but "End of the World" theorists are worried. So is Prince, because it's not 1999 anymore. But other than that, nobody gave a shit.
  • 2001 AD - Hundreds of people die in a horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, New York. Everyone gives a shit.
  • 2014 AD - You are reading this, and you don't give a shit.

Uses in popular culture

Film

  • In the 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption, the term was used in sentences: "People who gave him shit," "He wakes up... and he gives me shit. So I killed him," "So you go on and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth... I don't give a shit."
  • In the 1997 film, Titanic, when Fleet in the crow's nest calls below, he is asked by Moody (the man who answers the phone)
    Huh
    "I don't give a shit."
    what he sees. Fleet answers, "Iceberg right ahead!" to which Moody says, "I don't give a shit!" and abruptly hangs up.
  • In the 1999 film, The Matrix, Agent Smith turns to Neo and exclaims that, "Hmm, Mr. Anderson [Neo]... you disappoint me," to which Neo replies, "Oh." Morpheus then enters complaining about his overdraft charges, to which Agent Smith replies, "You have US Bank?" Morpheus says, "Yeah, why?" If you listen closely, you can hear somebody in the background utter, "Who gives a shit?" Or maybe it was just somebody else in the movie theatre when I went to see it. I still haven't gotten that movie on DVD.[5]
  • In the 2000 film Cast Away, Tom Hanks' character turns to his befriended volleyball Wilson, and says, "My tooth really hurts," to which Wilson replies, "Nobody gives a shit."
  • The movie "Monsters, Inc." (2001) received heavy criticism in the line of dialogue in which Mike asks to borrow Sully's "odorant", to which Sully says, "Yeah, I got...uh...smelly garbage or old dumpster?" Mike then replies, "I don't give a shit."
  • In the 2001 film, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandolf tells Frodo to keep the ring to himself, and to not put it on, or else Sauron will use his armies to hunt him down and kill him for the ring. Frodo promptly responds "I don't give a shit".

Television

  • In the 2003 series of Teletubbies the world-renowned children's TV program, the weirdo hoover thing went up to Dipsy and sucked his arm. The sun (aka retard child) said, and I quote "For God's sake, I don't give a shit".
  • In the South Park episode "It Hits the Fan" from the fifth season, the uncensored use of the word "shit" occurs 162 separate times—a counter in the corner of the screen counts the number of times the word has been uttered. They nearly say the word shit when Chef says, "Who gives a fuck?"

Literature

  • In John Steinback's 1937 novel, "Of Mice and Men", Curley's wife says to Crooks, "You watch your place, nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy, it ain't even funny," to which Crooks replies, "I don't give a shit."
  • In Karl Marx's third volume of "Die Deutsche Ideologie", Marx writes: "The language comes into being, like consciousness, from the basic need, from the scantiest intercourse with other human. But nobody gives a shit."
  • In William Shakespeare's famous play "Macbeth", when confronted with the death of his wife, and too caught up giving MacDuff a good arse-kicking, Macbeth replies "I don't give a shit". He dies soon after.[6]

Music

  • Tech-metal band Daughters releases a song titled, "I Don't Give A Shit About Wood, I'm Not A Chemist" on their 2003 album "Canada Songs".
  • Both G.G. Allin and D.O.A. have released songs titled, "I Don't Give A Shit".
  • Rap is full of songs using the expression, but there's too many to name. That, and we don't give a shit.

Citations

  1. "What's the meaning of life?", "Where is heaven?", "What was with that movie Koyaanisqatsi?"
  2. Or the old Chinese proverb: "Man who gives a shit in form of burning brown paper bag is not a man; he is a twelve-year old boy."
  3. Don't use this one in Spain. You might be arrested.
  4. Might actually mean "I like long walks on the shit". I forget. My French is a bit rusty.
  5. Who gives a shit?
  6. Maybe from not giving a shit, but most probably because he had a seizure. I eat dishwasher tablets. Do you like bananas too?

See also

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