I find it difficult to understand the meaning of 'This I can do without' in the following script excerpt from the movie 'Fellow Traveller':

Kaufman: This whole town is full of phoney acts that are charging 20 bucks an hour to tell some poor schmuck that his problems have nothing to do with the screwed up system we live in, but because he saw his father's prick in the shower when he was five or something.

Leavy: I charge 25.


Kaufman: I grew up in a 3-room railroad apartment on the lower eastside.

Leavy: You must have had plenty of opportunities to see your father's prick.

Kaufman: Oh-ho. This I can do without.

Is he saying that he just doesn't want to talk about that in the conversation (regardless of whether he's actually seen it or not), or that he doesn't want such a situation in his life, or some other sense?

  • 1
    If he had meant his father's penis and seeing it, he'd likely have said "that" instead of "this" (because he seeing was in the past, way over there). By saying "this", he is likely indicating the current moment, the ribbing/joking Leavy is aiming at him. He can do without the vulgar jokes about his current mental state and problems stemming from seeing his father's penis.
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 2, 2017 at 17:27
  • So basically he's saying that the joke is uncalled for?
    – Taiki
    Apr 2, 2017 at 17:40
  • 2
    Undesirable rather than uncalled for. It's a humorously-dismissive comment in a humorous context.
    – Dan Bron
    Apr 2, 2017 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


As Dan Bron already explained, within the context of this conversation, dad's junk itself would be a that.

This has an implied noun, which leaves it ambiguous whether he means he is fed up with this topic, this conversation, or this situation (the situation being talking to Leavy when he's being crude and insulting, not the son-of-Noah trauma being discussed).

In general, this I can do without (with the this bumped out of its usual grammatical place for emphasis) is going to be about the entire situation and precede an (attempt to) exit. There's nothing here that suggests that's not what Kaufman means.

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