What Is a Furthermucker?
The word furthermucker goes at least as far back as 1958, when black Beat poet Ted Joans stuck the word into his third book of poetry, 1959’s All of Ted Joans and No More. I don’t have the book handy (neither does the all-powerful Internets), but a ’58 piece of Joans prose called “The Potential Futher Mucker” included in that book is the culprit. Futher mucker, furthermucker, it’s all the same.
What’s it mean around these parts? Glad you asked. As a supporter of Furthermucker, you’re entitled.
1. a rough or coarse person who innovates or goes further beyond commonly accepted boundaries
2. a person who pushes the envelope or thinks outside the box in deciding or influencing what is or will become fashionable
3. a flâneur
Yeah, okay, it’s also a sly inversion of motherfucker (duh) (that’s “spoonerism,” playin on words by switchin around the consonants and vowels). But let’s dig deeper.
I first came across the word from my man 50 grand Greg Tate, longtime Village Voice writer. His 1982 “Hardcore of Darkness” essay talked up how surprised he was that his brother loved a new dredlocked punk band called Bad Brains: “goddamn, these furthermuckers must not be bullshitting,” he wrote. Later that year, in “Beyond the Zone of the Zero Funkativity,” Tate mentioned that George Clinton’s Computer Games (the one with “Atomic Dog”) was “one signifying furthermucker 20 times over.”
I was 11 then. But I came across all that a decade later, when Simon & Schuster released Flyboy in the Buttermilk, Tate’s outstanding essay collection. Get you some Greg Tate if you haven’t already. According to James Sheidlower’s The F Word, “futher-mucker” appeared in both Playboy’s Book of Forbidden Words (1972) and in the dialogue of author Charles Durden’s 1976 Vietnam War novel, No Bugles, No Drums (“Thanks, futhermucker.”)
For me, furthermuckers muck further. It’s folks who stretch the envelope, who think outside the box, who go beyond the pale. Flâneurs…that is to say, creative wanderers, and sure, cultural world travelers. (Cats in that state of mind rarely stay in one place.)
Furthermucker.com is all about the expatriate adventures of a bohemian B-boy in 21st century Paris, no doubt. But it’s also about furthermuckers of all stripes.
Who’s your favorite furthermucker? I got tons, it’s practically all I’m into: Miles Davis, M.I.A., Tricky, Janelle Monáe, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Björk, Kanye West, Octavia Butler, Prince, Nina Simone, Stanley Kubrick, Saul Williams, Philip K. Dick, The Roots, Andy Warhol, Betty Davis, the Black Rock Coalition, the Afro-Punk movement, etc., etc., etc.