He doesn’t have a byline yet, but Intern Evan has compiled for you here every separate spelling of the word motherf*cker that Sam Jackson has employed since joining Twitter in late 2011, and the results may shock you. This is important work.
Since joining Twitter five years too late in October 2011, Samuel L. Jackson has used the word “Motherf*cker” 186 times. And you’re probably all like, “So what, that’s no big deal!” The man’s got a thing for it, and I would too if I wielded it like a platinum pussy magnet. But read carefully, then go back and re-read because there’s no way to comprehend what I’m about to tell you. Out of all those 186 “motherf*cker”s, 151 of them are completely unique spellings.
Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs (no, not motherf*ckingly) and grammatical units beyond linguistic classification. That’s one new variant every 4 days. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, and I’ve been taught that he’s super important, even though I’m pretty sure he hasn’t offered even one spelling of “motherf*cker.” It’s unimaginable. It’s beyond poetry. I’ve presented it for you in this convenient list:
As you can see, the first couple dozen are pretty similar in structure, if not mostly repeats. Then 2012 happened, and it seems like Mr. L. Jackson’s resolution was to never use the same motherf*cker twice. From January 2012 onward, 92% of his “motherf*cker”s are unique, compared to 81% total. Compared to 1% for the worthless other people like you and me. I’ve seen his variants described as crude or vulgar, but that’s bullshit. When Jackson uses the standard spelling, it’s only to acknowledge his aversion to its lack of style. He treats Twitter as the playground that it is, so he brings his celebrity character to the medium like he would anywhere else. The spellings are nuanced and sonically faithful to his pronounced talent. Read them as impressionist cues rather than literal spellings, and you’ll get 151 unique pronunciations.
Here’s to Sam Jackson, the Lewis Carrol of swearing.