Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bat Guano Psychotic

I'm amazed at the scope of scatological language employed by males, especially; not so much from a moral perspective as from a sense of imaginativeness.
 
Take the f-word.  Nowadays, it's less often used to refer to performing the Rites of Venus (as it would be referred to in bodice-rippers) but as an intensifier or a randomly distributed expletive to be deleted by polite people when recounted in journals or newspapers.  Or dropped when interviewers are least suspecting.
 
But there's a surprisingly wide scope of use of the old Anglo-Saxon word "shit."  Yes, the French use "merde" as an exact translation; and the Germans weigh in with "scheisse." And a Frenchman may encourage another by MALPT ("shit to the thirteenth power!) and a German perv might watch scheisse movies (don't go there!)
 
They even press other species into the process.  For some reason, this final product of digestion is seen as joyful when accomplished by equines ("happy horseshit), and as an exclamation of disbelief when the subject is a male of the bovine persuasion ("Bullshit!")  When a person goes apeshit he is going into a rage or a highly agitated state.  Chickenshit has a dual meaning:  When something is chickenshit, it means that it is petty or insignificant (e.g., a chickenshit dress code in a high school).  When someone is described as chickenshit, it means that he is cowardly.
 
Paul Fussell described chickenshit in the military:  “Chickenshit refers to behavior that makes military life worse than it need be: petty harassment of the weak by the strong; open scrimmage for power and authority and prestige; sadism thinly disguised as necessary discipline; a constant 'paying off of old scores'; and insistence on the letter rather than the spirit of ordinances.”
 
But there's an interesting possibility with bat shit crazy.  Bat shit, more politely known as bat guano, does often carry the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum which can have neurological consequences and result in the host contracting psychotic symptoms.  This was most likely an accident in language, somewhat similar to the origins of the slur term redneck.* 
 
Maybe there's a place in the psychiatric language to recognize this.  If we call it bat guano psychotic, that ought to do it. 
 
 
 
*The term redneck probably had its origins in the fact that those so disparaged exhibited a reddening of the skin, particularly on the neck.  The cause of their condition was pellegra, a dietary niacin (B3) deficiency.  The classical symptoms of pellegra are the "four D's": diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia, and death.

15 comments:

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Bat guano psychotic. I like that. a great advance in psychiatric terminology.

Grand Crapaud said...

There's real irony there in bat shit crazy.

Bilbo said...

Not long ago I wrote in my blog about the forthcoming update of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). I am quite sure that "batshit crazy" is not an approved term with its own DSM numeric code (Wikipedia has a list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSM-IV_Codes), but it certainly ought to be, particularly as it is manifested in the far left and far right wings of American politics.

Big Sky Heidi said...

Sometimes professional terminology must change in order to deal with changes in popular understanding and further developments in science. This may be one of them.

Deena said...

I like the Fussell definition of chickenshit: "Making things worse than they have to be."

TexWisGirl said...

like the packaging on that product. :)

Anemone said...

Thanks for the lesson in the finer points of cussing!

Big Sky Heidi said...

Why are humans so concerned where bears go?

Mike said...

So are there people out there getting high on bat guano?

Anonymous said...

Is the bear Catholic?

Does the Pope shit in he woods?

Duckbutt said...

Horseshit is not happy if you hae to clean it up.

John Hill said...

Nobody can say that you don't know your shit!

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Thanks for your thoughts and support, all!

Sadocritic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sadocritic said...

Blogger Sadocritic said...

Fuck you, as a bat I'm offended by your insinuations that my feces are suffering from psychosis. I will contact the ADL immediately.

GOOD DAY, MADAM...

NO!..I SAID GOOD DAY!

*Pits on batcoat and bat derby and leaves in a huff*