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July 22, 2014

An old insult makes a clean comeback

by Kevin Kelly, posted Mar 15th 2007 8:25PM
douchebag of libertyHave you been noticing that "douchebag" has really reasserted itself in the common vernacular? I just logged onto a website to check some bar reviews in Los Angeles, and on the front page was this gem: "Drinks are well priced, and usually not too many douche baggy people are there."

It's been a mainstay on The Daily Show, where Jon Stewart has really taken the insult to heart, having coined the phrases "Congressional Medal of Douchebaggery" and "Douchebag of Liberty." You know you've really made it in the media when Stewart devotes an entire montage to how much of a douchebag you are, as he's done with Robert Novak.

However,
it's also been cropping on television with increasing regularity on everything from The Office, where Andy worked it into an Oompa Loompa song about Dwight to 30 Rock, where Molly Shannon used it to lovingly refer to Nathan Lane. In fact, NBC seems to really love the term, since it apparently first appeared on Saturday Night Live way back in 1980. Remember the "Lord Douchebag" sketch? I tried to find it on YouTube unsuccessfully, but searching the term does turn up over 1,200 videos. Gather some friends around and recreate it with the script you can find here.

Wikipedia tells us, "the slang usage of the term dates back to the 1960s. Initially, it was used to insult a woman. The origin of the use of the term as an insult is derived from lesbian activities. However, over time it has become a term for either gender." They also list other derivaties of the word as douche, DB, and ... shower pocket? Just try calling someone a shower pocket and see what kind of a look you get.

Oddly enough, Southwest Airlines' in-flight magazine 'Spirit' has a brief article about the rise of profanity (if douchebag can be considered that) on television, and 67% of people surveyed admit that they hear more profanity on TV than they did 20 years ago, so maybe we can trace this directly back to SNL. Professor Robert Myers who teaches a class on taboo language at Alfred University says, "Most of the formerly taboo language is uncreative. It is much easier to use a profanity than to express what we're feeling or thinking with more words."

I'd like to think of a clever response to Myers, but I'll probably just end up calling him a shower pocket.


Lord Salisbury: "Well, well, well.. I was just asking Lord Sandwich, "Where the devil are those Douchebags?"

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Raheem

I thought it was always in style. I even use variations on it, i.e. Douchbaggius Maximus or Doucheasaurus Rex.

[they seem to work]

March 17 2007 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Preston

It's very adult comedy that's so common after 9 pm. When the kids are tucked into bed, then the adults who are still up can get away with it. So that's why the doucebag theme is popular.

March 16 2007 at 9:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julie

I love the term douchebag and use it quite frequently. I think I really started picking it up from a Dane Cook comedy cd where he talks about Karen and how she's a bag of douche. Very funny. And now I love you for writing this post :)

March 16 2007 at 4:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Crow

I think he means the John Stewart who is a member of the Green Lantern Corp. He's a tough douche.

March 16 2007 at 4:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Peanut

Do you mean JON Stewart, Master Shake?

March 16 2007 at 12:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Master Shake

John Stewart calling someone a douchebag? That's rich!

March 15 2007 at 11:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Stevie

for whatever reason, i'm reminded of the kurt vonnegut interview on nightline when he repeatedly called geraldo rivera a 'scumbag.' that was awesome.

March 15 2007 at 10:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Justin

Douchebag says what?

March 15 2007 at 9:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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