New frontiers in the giving of fucks and shits

Back in December 2014 when the Strong Language blog was just starting out, Stephen Chrisomalis contributed a memorable post, “How many swears can we give?” In it, Stephen mused on a couple of memes — “Look At All The Fucks I Give” and “Not a Single Fuck Was Given That Day” — and traced the history of “(not) give a TABOO TERM” (damn, shit, fuck, etc.) as what linguists call a “negative polarity item.” The following year, John Kelly posted about a newly popular idiom, “zero fucks given.” (Zero fucks given or ZFG was also nominated in the Most Useful category in the American Dialect Society’s 2015 Word of the Year voting.) Since then, there have been many more creative variations on the theme. Here are two humorous entries in the “no fucks/shits to give” genre that have popped up recently.

First up, a piece by Shannon Reed for McSweeney’s, “FAQ: The Status of the Shits Women Have Left to Give.” (Full disclosure: Shannon used to write for me when I edited the online magazine for the Visual Thesaurus.) Here’s a sampling:

Q: I was wondering: how much of a shit do women give about what conservative old white dudes say about them?

A: Thanks for contacting us. We have checked our inventory thoroughly and we no longer have any shits left to give. We only had a small amount of shits left at the end of 2018, and now we’ve found that the most recent news cycles have completely emptied us out.

Q: Okay, but a big part of our brand is based on you caring about what conservative old white dudes think.

A: We’re aware, and we apologize. Our shit-giving model has irrevocably changed into a non-shit-giving structure. We’re updating our website.

Q: Would you maybe accept money for a shit, instead of giving one?

A: We do apologize, but if you are a conservative old white man, we have no shits of any kind left to give, sell, or barter.

Next up, via Gretchen McCulloch on Twitter, comes the old-timey song “I’ve No More Fucks to Give” by one Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq. A performance of the song at Boyd’s of Bedford in Bedford, England (complete with banjolele) has been making the rounds.

Here are the lyrics for your delectation.

I’ve tried, tried, tried and I’ve tried even more
I’ve cried, cried, cried and I can’t recall what for
I’ve pressed, I’ve pushed, I’ve yelled and then yet hoped for some success
The inevitable fact is that it never will impress

I’ve no more fucks to give, my fucks have runneth dry
I’ve tried to go fuck shopping but there’s no fucks left to buy
I’ve no more fucks to give, no more fucks I’ve tried to get
I’m over my fuck budget and I’m now in fucking debt

I’ve strived, strived, strived to get everything done
I’ve played by all the rules but I’ve very rarely won
I’ve smiled, I’ve charmed, I’ve wooed and laughed, alas to no avail
I’ve run round like a moron till I unequivocally fail

I’ve no more fucks to give, my fuck fuse has just blown
I’ve been hunting for my fucks all day, but they’ve upped and fucked off home
I’ve no more fucks to give, my fuck rations are depleted
I’ve rallied my fuck army but it’s been fucking defeated

The effort has just not been worth the time or the expense
I’ve exhausted all my energy for minimal recompense
The complete lack of acknowledgement has now begun to gall
And I’ve come to realize that I don’t give a fuck at all

I’ve no more fucks to give, my fucks have flown away
My fucks are now so fucked off they’ve refused to fucking stay
I’ve no more fucks to give, my fucks have gone insane
They’ve come back round and passed me while they’re fucking off again

I’ve no more fucks to give, my fucks have all dissolved
I’ve planned many projects but my fucks won’t be involved
I’ve no more fucks to give, my fucks have all been spent
They’ve fucked off from the building and I don’t know where they went

I’ve no more fucks to give, I’ve no more fucks to give
I’ve no more fucks, I’ve no more fucks
I’ve no more fucks to give

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