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Date archive for: March 2011

‘Yo Mama’ Still Draws Laughs, Wrath

You want to spark a fella’s fury fast? Go after his mama. Young or old, nothing roils a guy’s ire like snarky jabs at Dear Old Mom. Miami Heat forward LeBron James demonstrated this during a recent match against the Pistons in Detroit.

It was late in the first quarter when a Pistons fan shouted, “LeBron, is your mom going to Boston for Valentine’s Day?” James paused on the sidelines and looked as if he might ignore it — as he does most of the smack-talk he hears on the road — but then spun around and got in the heckler’s face.

“I don’t give a [bleep] what you say,” James told the rude dude. “But don’t be disrespectful.”

But then, disrespect is sort of the point, isn’t it? Infantile but effective, matriarchal mockery has been tweaking tempers for generations. “Yo mama” invectives have their roots in slavery, when African-Americans exchanged the swipes as verbal sport, or good-natured battles of social one-upmanship.

Funny that after all these years, such low-brow put-downs can still whip up powerful emotions. Are we genetically programmed to chafe at mommy slander?

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