LB: Oh Crud! (A Sort of a Salute)

Rover and its crud

by Larry Brody

NASA Perseverance Mars rover has crud obstructing its rock sample system

The headline above, from cnet.com, is my favorite  post/article heading of the year so far.

When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Mad, which in those days was a comic book not a magazine, and which frequently used the word “crud,” or more often “cruddy,” to mean something was crummy or lousy or just plain subpar.

I loved “crud” because as far as I knew, it was a made-up word used only in the comic, and there was something about using a “d” instead of an “m” that lent it great power. To me, something cruddy was infinitely yuckier than any crummy ever could be.

So imagine my surprise when, as a genuine, professional writer of television shows for adults I discovered that network censors wouldn’t let one of my characters say something was cruddy in a script because “this network does not approve of the usage of a slang word for smegma by any character under any circumstance.”

I was twenty-something at the time I got this note and had never even heard of “smegma” (aka “the thick, white, cheesy substance that collects under the foreskin of the penis“) before – except as the name of an icky character in, you guessed it, an old issue of Mad – so you can imagine my surprise.

Naturally, I felt quite indignant about the network’s reaction and even more so when the producer of the show told me to accept the note, change the word to “crummy” and get back to writing the next episode.

Which I did, of course. But since then I’ve kept an eye open for the dreaded crud and smegma in the wild forest of written and filmed media, and as far as I can recall have never seen nor heard either of those words – until now.

It is with a very wide and happy smile that I salute Cnet and writer Amanda Kooser for bringing the wonderfulness of crud, smegma, and cheesy foreskins to New Media, especially during a time when the sainted New York Times is up in arms about a certain French political figure using the phrase “piss off.”

And I’m equally pleased to salute Mad and its then editor and primary writer, the late Harvey Kurtzman, for being the wonderful disruptive force it was while molding the sensibilities of thousands of kids and, especially, moi.

You can read all about the Mars rover’s problem HERE
The NYTimes article, “In Vulgar Language, Macron Vows to Limit Access of Unvaccilnated,” HERE 

LYMI
LB

Author: LB

A legendary figure in the television writing and production world with a career going back to the late ’60s, Larry Brody has written and produced hundreds of hours of American and worldwide television and is a consultant to production companies and networks in the U.S. and abroad . Shows written or produced by Brody have won several awards including - yes, it's true - Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and the Humanitas Award.

We're looking forward to your comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.