Alec Baldwin: Stylistic Innovator?

November 18, 2007: “I miss all of the 30 ROCK cast and crew, who I don’t see anymore because of this motherfucking, motherfucking, motherfucking strike.”

Well, you have to give the man points for the serial modifier. I certainly haven’t seen anything like it in print. (Conversation, on the other hand, is a different mother altogether.)

I put forth this query: Is there anybody in the history of letters who has banged that word out three times in a row? From Denis Johnson’s National Book Award-winning Tree of Smoke: “Everything that’s got it’s shitty fingerprints which I can see smeared all over you and glowing like a motherfucking, Bozo-the-Clown goddam target.” Another close contender is Robert Bolano’s The Savage Detectives: “Motherfucking hemorrhoid-licking old bastard, I saw the distrust in his pale, bored little monkey eyes right from the start, and I said to myself this asshole will take every chance he gets to spit on me, the motherfucking son of a bitch.” That’s two, but they’re not close together and it certainly doesn’t equal Baldwin’s holy trinity. (There is, of course, Aimee Bender’s delightful story, but it doesn’t quite have this context.)

Is it possible that Baldwin is making new efforts at stylistic expression through his blog? Or does the motherfucker only have “motherfucking” on his mind? (I likewise wonder, given his fixation for mothers, how he would have responded to the Voight-Kampff test.)


  1. In “That Moment,” a documentary on the making of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Magnolia” (included on the DVD’s second disc), Anderson is heard to say during the shooting of an ultimately abandoned sequence (I paraphrase), “I am sick of this fucking, motherfucking sequence.” That’s about as close as anything I can think of.

  2. Not literature, but- anyone remember that Turbo Negro song “Don’t Say Motherfucker, Motherfucker.”? That was a good one.

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