I suppose I was being needlessly anal when today I pointed out that someone’s use of the phrase “I can actually do shit when I am high” actually meant “I can actually do nothing when I am high”. Some wise-ass, who I should not have been talking to wasting time in the first place, suggested that since “shit” equates to “stuff”, that makes “I can do shit” equate to “I can do something/a lot”. I didn’t buy that, of course. However, that got me thinking about it all.
During my almost three year stay at alt.english.usage, I became familiar with a lot of bastardisations of the English language. Bastardisations, simply put, are senseless, inverted forms of phrases that are, originally, chiefly British. These original phrases are meant to be sarcastic and as such have some sort of sarcasm cleverly hidden in them. Bastardisations on the other hand are chiefly American, mostly coined by the Americans, and carry the same semantics as their original British counterparts, often with the sarcasm lost.
I find that this page briefly but clearly and quite remarkably touches upon the bastardisation of the elegant phrase “I couldn’t care less”. I am not sure, though, what splitting hair about all this would help achieve, seeing as few and few people (and the count keeps plummeting) are concerned in this age with the differences between British English and American English, and everything else in between.
I just thought I should mention.