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The Word “Fuck” in History

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Paul Booth, a historian at Keele University in England, found three examples dating from 1310 and 1311 of a man known in legal documents as Roger Fuckebythenavel.

Booth said he believes Roger was not the bearer of a very unfortunate family name, but rather it was given to him derogatorily.

“This surname is presumably a nickname,” Booth told Medievalists.net. “I suggest it could either mean an actual attempt at copulation by an inexperienced youth, later reported by a rejected girlfriend, or an equivalent of the word ‘dimwit,’ i.e., a man who might think that that was the correct way to go about it.”

If Roger actually tried to do it in the navel and someone told the world about it, the name could be “fourteenth-century revenge porn,” Booth told Vice.

Booth noted that Roger was before the court three times over a nine-month period, and each time his last name was spelled differently: Fuckebythenavele, Fukkebythenavele and, finally, Fuckebythenavel.

“On the first two occasions he was ‘exacted’ (solemnly summoned to attend court to answer a serious criminal charge, which is unspecified) and on the third he was outlawed,” Booth wrote in an abstract, titled “Roger the incompetent copulator,” that he posted online. “He was probably never heard of again.”

Speaking of blue language, I am reviewing a book for a journal that noted that Gifford Pinchot named the real-life Seth Bullock as an early Forest Supervisor of the Black Hills National Forest. This was because Pinchot needed to establish USFS legitimacy in the face of widespread opposition and Bullock was a popular figure and friend of Theodore Roosevelt. Among Bullock’s ideas was offering bounties on squirrel hides because he believed they ate the eggs of woodpeckers who feasted on the bark beetles eating the area’s pine trees.

I am trying to imagine Deadwood-style dialogue for this scenario? And how would Al Swearingen play into this? I think the Deadwood movie might have a plot!

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