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elbanditoroso's avatar

What is so crazy about batsh*t?

Asked by elbanditoroso (32756points) 1 week ago

Twice today, in entirely different written contexts, I have come across the phrase “batshit crazy” to describe something.

In one case it pertained to a lawsuit where the plaintiff made a ‘batshit crazy’ complaint. The other time was a description of Elon Musk (as being batshit crazy in what he has done to Twitter).

What’s the problem with batshit?

How did it get to be an extreme modifier of the word crazy? Is it insulting to bats and other flying mammals?

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11 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

At least the actual crap-of-the-bat probably won’t care. I am more concerned about all the discussions about giving rats’ asses. If I were a rat I would be very upset by all that. Who gets their asses removed for gifting? Is it kind of a Shirley Jackson Lottery thing? What the hell???

elbanditoroso's avatar

@canidmajor excellent point. And is it coincidence that ‘rat’ and ‘bat’ rhyme?

canidmajor's avatar

The cat’s are getting concerned and have amped up the public relations propaganda about how useful they are catching the rats for sacrifice. It’s an escalating animal welfare hellscape.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t know how it came about, but I like how it sounds for emphasis.

My wild guess is bats fly round and round in the dark and dive and go up and it seems erratic and crazy. They supposedly do it to confuse their prey. My husband would probably say I am like a bat; changing topics without warning during a conversation, and going from one minute being happy to the next minute stressed. It is crazy making for him. LOL.

LadyMarissa's avatar

Back in the 1950s, the military decided that bullshit wasn’t an appropriate word & people being people twisted it around to saying batshit. Why they felt it was an appropriate replacement is beyond me. Then someone said “batshit crazy” & by the 1980s it had caught on & become part of our culture. So, it was NEVER designed to insult bats…just crazy people!!!

It was added to the Urban Dictionary in 2003.

seawulf575's avatar

I believe it came from the idea of having bats in your belfry, the mental image being that when a bat is flying around in a belfry it looks like it is twitching every which way which looked insane. This later got shortened to being batty. That became old fashioned and someone decided to turn it into Batshit crazy.

An alternative theory is that people that got exposed to too much bat guano which caused them to get what we today call histoplasmosis. This is caused by a fungus that can grow in the guano and can cause all sorts of health issues and, in severe exposure, can impact the central nervous system (Where’s @caravanfan when you need him?).

Forever_Free's avatar

Batshit shows up first in print about the 1950’s in military speak to mean rubbish and bullshit. By 1970, it meant crazy. Probably derived from bullshit.
Hunter S. Thompson may have picked up the term in the Air Force, from which he was discharged in 1958. He used the terms batshit, batshit crazy, and/or batshit insane in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well bat shit is really uncontrolled and flies everywhere!

gorillapaws's avatar

I don’t know the real history, but my initial guess would be something similar to the alternative theory that @seawulf575 mentioned, where the bat guano may have produced crazy behavior via some medical mechanism. The phrase “mad as a hatter” arose because the dyes that hat makers used contained mercury and caused heavy metal poisoning that resulted in hat makers often exhibiting crazy behavior (or something like that).

RocketGuy's avatar

There is “batty”, which pertains to crazy. And apeshit, which is frantic wacko (agitated apes sometimes throw their shit at people). So batshit is frantic wacko crazy.

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