Date: Thu, 7 Sep 1995 22:17:27 EDT
From: Larry Horn LHORN[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALEVM.CIS.YALE.EDU
Amazing. I got the same call (or our department at Yale did and I fielded
it), and like Nancy (hi, Nancy!) I tried my best, mostly off the cuff with a
little help from some slang dictionaries I had lying around. I tried pushing
the same warnings on context as Nancy did (although I suspect not as
fluently), but I did end up suggesting that they'd be OK on 1947 uses of
'cool' and 'guy', while 'zit' was pretty unlikely. I thought 'major' in
'major option' MIGHT have been OK, unless it represents the currently
prevalent slang use, but since even if it doesn't, members of the audience
might think it did, they'd be safer to avoid it. I was also skeptical about
'get fucked', in the context
[SOMEONE:] See you later, alligator!
[LOLITA:] Get fucked, Daffy Duck!
Fucked, yes. Fucked out, fucked up, yes; get fucked, probably not. Of course
I was winging it, since I probably wouldn't recall this particular item being
used in 1947 (when I was 2) even if it was around, and I couldn't find any
clear citations even afterward. (I did check with an owner of the Historical
Dictionary of American Slang later, who at least didn't DISconfirm any of my
guesses; she did note, though, that the relevant volume for 'zit' hasn't yet
appeared in print.
I second Nancy's bravo for Hollywood in checking with us on these things,
even if our responses are not fully informed.