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"This was some nasty..."
PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:37 am Reply with quote
webhill
 
Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 50


I read a story on the CNN website not too terribly long ago, about yet another execution which had taken place in the great state of Texas. Leaving aside the political and ethical arguments for and against capital punishment (and I would prefer not to get into that because honestly, it never ends well, now, does it?), there was a line in the story which had me very upset.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/06/21/texas.execution.ap/index.html is the story URL. The headline says it all, and it is repeated later in the story. "This is some nasty," the man said, as the drugs were taking effect. Then he gasped, and died, and that was it. So, what upset me when I read this article is that I immediately leapt to the conclusion that the condemned man had felt something horribly unpleasant. In fact, I entered into a discussion with my colleagues (other veterinarians) on the subject, because we practice euthanasia frequently in my profession, and I would seriously be quite physically ill if I thought that my patients were feeling something horrible during what I had thought was a calm, peaceful, pain-free death experience. Well, it turned out that I was roundly mocked by my esteemed colleagues. To a person they all claimed that it was quite clear the guy was ENJOYING the drug cocktail. Without any room for doubt they all emphatically insisted that the guy was just going to say "this is some nasty shit," "nasty shit" being slang for "really great drugs."

Anyone else think the same thing I thought when they read that? Or is it just me? Because of course, after it was pointed out to me, I realized oh yeah, that could be what he meant after all... but, deep down, I'm still not sure and it is bugging me.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:19 am Reply with quote
Ren
 
Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 36
Location: Kiel, Germany


I think it's very hard to discuss this sentence in this particular context, without speaking about the death penalty itself.

As a European (and as a German in particular) it was always hard for me to understand that any intelligent person really believes the death penalty is a legitimate instrument of a constitutional state. Now many Americans obviously believe it, which may have to do with the American society and its strong attachment to violence.

I believe, however, that they (deep deep down) know that the death penalty is illegitimate, cruel, unnecessary -- in one word: wrong. They do know it, but their overall political or religious stance forces them to ignore it. This is why they interpret "this is some nasty" as "this is some nasty shit", it just makes it easier for them to cope with their own attitute: "This bastard even had FUN dying!".

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:40 am Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


Not that I am a denizen of the street or anything, just an ex-hippie high-school teacher, but...

I don't think I've ever actually heard the phrase "some nasty shit," as in "this is some nasty shit," used as a positive evaluation. A survey of the absolutely un-scientific Urban Dictionary shows a general negative trend for this term. The only citation that includes the word "shit" defines it as a strong negative.

Not saying it doesn't sometimes have that connotation, but it would sound strange to my ear.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:54 am Reply with quote
webhill
 
Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 50


Dave wrote:
Not that I am a denizen of the street or anything, just an ex-hippie high-school teacher, but...

I don't think I've ever actually heard the phrase "some nasty shit," as in "this is some nasty shit," used as a positive evaluation. A survey of the absolutely un-scientific Urban Dictionary shows a general negative trend for this term. The only citation that includes the word "shit" defines it as a strong negative.


Well, take a look at http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=the+shit

In particular definition 2, but also 1 and others. To me, using "some" before the word "shit" feels similar to using "the," and different from just saying "shit" without either some or the before it.

But yeah, I'm not really a denizen of the street either. Our DEA inspector would probably have a heart attack just knowing that I'm TALKING about this stuff. Those people do not fool around Smile

-h.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 12:27 pm Reply with quote
Dave
 
Joined: 08 Jun 2006
Posts: 357
Location: Washington, DC


First of all, I think I'm going to move this thread over into "Rude Words," since we're exploring a rude expression.

I think the connotative distinctions here are pretty subtle.

I must admit (old fogey that I am) that I just learned the term "the shit" (as in "he thinks he's the shit" and meaning "he thinks he's hot stuff" or "he thinks he's really wonderful") last summer from Howard Chang and Howard Shepherd. So there's a positive connotation.

On the other hand, when you say someone is "talking shit," that means trash-talking--definitely negative.

Our old online buddy Urban Dictionary has 54 definitions for "shit" and they go all over the place, from positive to negative connotations.

I understand where you're coming from, Hill. I've had to have three cats put down in the last ten years, by a very sensitive vet. I certainly don't want to think my feline buddies suffered at all, and I certainly can't stand the thought that a convicted prisoner would suffer. Lethal injection is, presumably, supposed to be a more "humane" method of execution.

But I also share Ren?'s basic revulsion at the idea of capital punishment in general. Other countries manage to punish the cruelest and most evil criminals without adding killing onto killing.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 4:52 pm Reply with quote
toniroussel
 
Joined: 23 Jun 2006
Posts: 18
Location: Manassas, VA


On a very informal note---I often hear nasty and sick being used as adjectives with positive connotations both by my students and by other young adults/teens in various chat forums.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:04 pm Reply with quote
webhill
 
Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 50


toniroussel wrote:
I often hear nasty and sick being used as adjectives with positive connotations both by my students and by other young adults/teens in various chat forums.


The first and only time I heard "sick" used that way was when my NYC-born-and-raised-and-never-lived-anywhere-else sister-in-law was describing something someone gave her at a baby shower. "You wouldn't believe this little dress she gave me. Completely sick. Totally sick. You have to see it." I thought "what the hell is she talking about?" and asked my brother, who rolled his eyes and explained that "sick" means "really cool." I have still not heard anyone else use that word in that manner, though.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 9:13 pm Reply with quote
webhill
 
Joined: 21 Jun 2006
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Ren? wrote:
I believe, however, that they (deep deep down) know that the death penalty is illegitimate, cruel, unnecessary -- in one word: wrong. They do know it, but their overall political or religious stance forces them to ignore it. This is why they interpret "this is some nasty" as "this is some nasty shit", it just makes it easier for them to cope with their own attitute: "This bastard even had FUN dying!".


I wasn't going to address this, but once you get to know me you'll learn that I just can't shut up sometimes.

I can't speak for everyone with whom I discussed this previously, but I know that at least a good handful of them are strongly liberal politically, and extremely anti-death penalty. I can't see why they would feel any need to rationalize in the fashion you describe when they make no secret of thinking the whole process is disgusting and wrong in the first place.

I'm watching California with a critical eye. I find the whole process fascinating - the judge insisting that a doctor oversee the execution, or else it isn't allowed to happen, and the doctors refusing to do it - in fact, the medical association in that state considering making doing it grounds for revocation of licensure!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 3:17 pm Reply with quote
MIke2GuysTalking
 
Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 17
Location: St. Louis, MO USA


I think perhaps he was referring to the negative experience he was facing.

Maybe I'm not reading enough into it, but - perhaps it was the victim mentality that befalls many people in prison where they've been wronged and "this'some nasty shit" is referring to him being once again, wronged by "the man?"

Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 6:57 am Reply with quote
SimonW11
 
Joined: 16 Jul 2006
Posts: 6


Nasty shit? it seems to me that the usage is similar to those porn ads I keep bumping into that talk about nasty sex Meaning extreme perverted or hardcore. This not the same as enjoyable closer maybe to serious or intense.

Hardcore has definately expanded its usage here in the UK. Where for example a Gym where people go to workout rather than pose might be termed hardcore. It seems to crop up in music a lot.

Simon
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:10 am Reply with quote
iuchiban
 
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 30
Location: Greeley, CO


SimonW11 wrote:
It seems to crop up in music a lot.

Simon


Hardcore is actually a genre of music. A more agressive spin off of punk, somwhere inbetween Punk and Metal.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:48 pm Reply with quote
RabiAkiva
 
Joined: 28 Jun 2006
Posts: 163
Location: Israel


And that would be named... "Petal"?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:03 am Reply with quote
iuchiban
 
Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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RabiAkiva wrote:
And that would be named... "Petal"?


I'm using that in conversation soon. I was thinking "Menk."

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:15 am Reply with quote
katyly
 
Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Minneapolis, MN


I'm trying to put context on "that is some nasty". Would the convict have meant nasty bad or nasty good? Or could he have meant nasty shit without having to say shit, as opposed to being cut off? I have heard the term nasties to mean sex organs or "doing the nasty" meaning to have sex, which is certainly good. In which case, it COULD have the good/bad thing going on. I can make the argument for it either way.

In the end, I don't think we'll ever know what that particular phrase by that particular person meant. We can only look at possibilities by other people which doesn't answer the original question.

BUT, having said that, the original poster was trying to extrapolate whether there was pain or not. I think we have to go with the other body of evidence we have and leave this example out of the mix. It's just too ambiguous to show as proof one way or the other.

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"This was some nasty..."
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