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In the 1997 movie "Lolita", in the beginning set in 1947, there is a scene where Dolores Haze (12 or 14, White, girl) has this conversation with a friend:

Mary Rose: "See you later, alligator."

Dolores: "After a while, crocodile."

Mary Rose: "Real soon, Daniel Boone."

Dolores: "Get fucked, Daffy Duck."

Source: https://www.scripts.com/script.php?id=lolita_1354&p=2

Would such a young girl in 1947 really say "fucked" rather than something far more innocent, such as "stuffed" or "ducked"? Is this an anachronism? At first, I thought I heard this wrong, but according to sources, she really says "fucked" and not something similar-sounding.

The reason I'm unsure about the age is that in the book, she is 12 in the beginning, but (according to my memory) she is said to be 14 in the movie. Which is very odd since this kind of muddles the whole point of the story, although they perhaps had to claim that she was 14 in order to not upset people too much, even though it's implied that she is actually 12. (Or maybe it was in the 1960s movie that she is explicitly said to be 14, and my memory is at fault here...)

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    Is the same line in the book? I would imagine the average girl would not have said that, but that doesn't mean individual girls didn't.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 6:36
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    I wouldn't have expected it in a movie from the 60s even if it was in the original book.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 6:45
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    People have said "fuck" for a really long time. It's just that you didn't see it printed until comparatively recently. Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 7:31
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    The book was, when published, shocking. This was Nabokov’s Lolita. It was shocking not only because of the language but also because of the relationship.
    – Xanne
    Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 7:55
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    My mother grew up in a "fancy" "white" neighbourhood in London and was sent home from school in 1934 aged 14 for saying "fuck" to a fellow schoolgirl. The headmistress wrote my grandparents a letter about it. Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 9:43

1 Answer 1

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If the girl were, say, 13 in 1947, she was born c. 1933. In the decade 1930 - 39, the population growth in the US was 7% (A Short Retrospective on 20th Century U.S. Population Change by John Besl)

The action takes place in New England. In the 1930s, New England had a population of ~10 million (https://www.wildlandsandwoodlands.org/sites/default/files/Figure1-Large.jpg)

Half of these would be female. (5 million) and by 1940, 7% of those would be born in that decade: 50,000 x 7 = 350,000.

Reducing this by two-thirds to give a 3 year age span, we would have approx 200,000 girls of Dolores's age in New England.

Assuming that a girl of that age spends 1 hour a day talking to her friends, in a year, 365 x 200,000 hours have been spoken. 73,000,000 hours of talk.

It takes 2 seconds to say "Get fucked, Daffy Duck." this gives 73,000,000 x 60 x 30 opportunities in a year to say the sentence. 657,000,000,000 opportunities.

Say only 1 in 100 million of the words is "fucked"... The chances are still that it would have been said.

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    It is good to have an analytical answer like this. But it only holds water up until the big leak at the 2nd to last paragraph. Not all terms have equal frequency.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 15:12
  • @Mitch Not all terms have equal frequency I did write, and only partly tongue in cheek: "Say only 1 in 100 million of the words is "fucked". The answer was written as there has been no definitive answer and, absent a witness - and even a witness's testimony can be dismissed - there is unlikely to be one. However: with all the words that are spoken, the chances are that the sentence, as given, was said some time in 1947 by a 13 year old girl.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 15:30
  • 'chances are' only works if the distribution is guaranteed to be uniform. There's quite a lot against general uniformity, and there's quite a lot of common sense against such a taboo term being used in that group. You could argue that the math implies that -some- individual of that group used the word, but that's not the question. The question is if it is expected for everyone in the group. Also, I'll point out that this isn't a recording of a child saying it - it's the words of an author writing dialog. This is art, not reality.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 15:45
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    That said, I do agree that some child said such a thing in such a manner. But for the OP, there is a lot of social stigma associated with using profanity by children, so it would be -very- uncommon for a child to use it so casually.
    – Mitch
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 15:48

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