Hyperbolic scalar indifference

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From Larry Horn

Eliza Kennedy, I Take You, 2015 (p. 69):

[narrator has just been asked by wedding planner to choose one of six identical-looking swatches]

I look at her, then at Rose. “Ladies? To say that I do not give two shits about this vastly overestimates the value I place on shits.”

They puzzle that one out for a while. So do I. Those Bloody Marys must have been pretty strong.

Trollthumper, in the context of an online discussion of TV shows:

Yeah, and while I'm not one to uphold a show as "the documentary experience," having such inaccuracies can just leave this ringing sense of disconnect with those who know the language. And I know that sometimes, that's just me – I've gotten into fights with friends over blatant inaccuracies in media, because in their eyes, such things only matter to a few people – and I don't believe you need to give a fuck about EVERYTHING. But there does come a point where a viewer's "lack-of-fucks-ometer" is going to tick over the red line, and when it does, they'll start to wonder if the scriptwriter gave a fuck about ANYTHING.

Larry observes that LLOG is the perfect venue for a conversation on

whether that useful and no doubt soon to be patented device will be marketed in commercials as a "lack-of-FUCKS-ometer" or as a "lack-of-fucks-Ometer".  Maybe it's available in both contours.

For more, see "The number of fucks you need to not give", 2/11/2015.

Update — Charles Pierce, "The President and the Prison Industrial Complex", Esquire 7/15/2015:

Moreover, as has been his want since he looked into the Great Shoebox of Fks and discovered that he had no more to give, the president is taking on all of criminal-justice reform at once.



  1. Jacob said,

    July 14, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

    Presumably, the device in question would be a mirror-image version of the "Care-o-Meter" from Weird Al's "Word Crimes" video:


  2. Stephen said,

    July 14, 2015 @ 1:43 pm

    I'm not sure that you could patent it, prior art and all that

  3. rosie said,

    July 14, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

    The "two" might have come from mixing it with "couldn't care/give two hoots", rather than a failed attempt to use a number to intensify.

    Just my tuppence-worth.

  4. J. W. Brewer said,

    July 14, 2015 @ 2:21 pm

    A recent internet meme composed in an archaic register which manages to avoid the problem (by using non-quantitative wording that nonetheless implies a specific numerical value of zero on the hypothetical meter were quantification requested): http://weknowmemes.com/2014/02/behold-the-field-in-which-i-grow-my-fucks/

  5. Mara K said,

    July 14, 2015 @ 3:34 pm

    Rosie: I think what took puzzling out in the first example was the negation. In my head it translates as follows: "I don't even give two shits; at most I give one, and even that makes it sound like I care more than I actually do."

    The number of fucks not given can also be measured in the rooms that would contain them, as in this gif featuring the Zero Room from Doctor Who

  6. Zizoz said,

    July 14, 2015 @ 5:07 pm

    Logically, the first quote implies that the narrator cares quite a bit. If the amount she cares is equal to X, then to say she does not give two shits implies that she values shits at at least X/2 per shit, and since this would be "vastly overestimat[ing] the value I place on shits”, X/2, and thus also X, must be quite high.

  7. Chris C. said,

    July 14, 2015 @ 5:09 pm

    @J. W. Brewer — That was made over a year ago. In terms of an Internet meme lifetime, that's not recent. It's a museum piece.

    It's rare to see Early Modern English done correctly in a meme, so that qualifies it for museum curation in a second way.

  8. richardelguru said,

    July 15, 2015 @ 6:20 am

    @J. W. Brewer & Chris C.

    Wasn't that created by the Bayeux Tapestry creator?


  9. Scott Mauldin said,

    July 16, 2015 @ 12:21 am

    @Christ C. – Agreed. Rarely is E.M. English done correctly, and even more rarely is it referred to as Early Modern English. Most people think that it's "Old English".

  10. DMT said,

    July 16, 2015 @ 4:46 am

    @Scott Mauldin: I am reluctant to point this out for fear of being accused of prescriptivism, but I believe the traditional term is "Ye Olde Englysshe."

  11. Boudica said,

    July 17, 2015 @ 6:34 am

    As has been his wont

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