A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from December 12, 2013
“Embrace the suck”

"Embrace the suck” is a term that became popular in the Iraq War in March 2003. “Embrace the suck” means that war sucks, so just embrace it. “The suck” has been in use in the military since at least the early 1990s, and “embrace the suck” had also been used in the Afghanistan War in late 2001.

In December 2013, Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi used “embrace the suck” to refer to a budget deal that was passed. “Fuck the suck” (FTS)—the opposite of “embrace the suck”—has been cited in print since the early 1990s.


EmbraceTheSuck.com
EMBRACE THE SUCK (ETS)
Alpha Company - 2/156th Infantry Regiment
2nd Platoon - Killas

This is the unofficial website for the 2nd Platoon Killas.

We have been in Iraq for more then 8 months and we all agree on one thing… this SUCKS! We left our families, our friends, our trucks and our lives to come fight a war thousands of miles away. We all choose to answer our nation’s call to service for various reasons and now we are here sucking it… together! “Embracing the suck” is our platoon motto… if can’t laugh at yourself or your situation… then you are seriousily missing out.

Google Groups: rec.music.filk
MP3s of my Worldcon set
Terence Chua
9/14/00
For those who were either not at Worldcon, or not physically conscious enough to have attended my concert, you can pick up some crudely MP3’d versions of my set at http://www.khaosworks.org/filk

Yes, there were chord flubs. Yes, I was nervous. Embrace the spontaneity. Embrace the suck.

That’s my new motto. “Embrace The Suck”. Catchy, no?

New York (NY) Times
A NATION AT WAR: IN THE FIELD | 101ST AIRBORNE; Troops Endure Blowing Sands And Mud Rain
By JIM DWYER
Published: March 26, 2003
(...)
‘You went outside to smoke in this?’’ asked Sergeant Major Torres.

‘’I would,’’ interjected Sergeant Murray, handing along a piece of military wisdom given to him, ‘’You’ve got to embrace the suck.’’

Winds of Change
QUOTES OF THE NOW: MARCH 28, 2003
By Joe Katzman on March 28, 2003 12:20 PM
“Embrace the Suck” is still my favourite. Expect this phrase to go mainstream in the culture at large; it’s simply too useful not to, and by its very nature crosses multiple lines in the Zeitgeist.

The Special Operations Community Network
ussfpa
27 September 2003, 19:35
(...)
There are some chaplains who “embrace the suck” to better help their flock.

Google Books
In the Company of Soldiers:
A Chronicle of Combat

By Rick Atkinson
New York, NY: Henry Holt
2004
Pg. 271:
Petraeus grabbed his map board, shut the Humvee door, and turned to walk inside.

“Embrace the suck,” he called to me over his shoulder.

OCLC WorldCat record
“Embrace the suck” : a pocket guide to milspeak
Author: Austin Bay
Publisher: New York : New Pamphleteer, ©2007.
Edition/Format: Book : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
A “milspeak” dictionary containing a selection of military slang and acronyms as well as selected terms from the Department of Defense dictionary of military and associated terms.

NPR
Excerpt: ‘Embrace the Suck’
by AUSTIN BAY
March 08, 2007 5:06 PM
(...)
The Operation Iraqi Freedom phrase “embrace the suck” is both an implied order and wise advice couched as a vulgar quip.
(...)
“Embrace the suck” isn’t merely a wisecrack; it’s a raw epigram based on encyclopedic experience. Face it, soldier. I’ve been there. This ain’t easy. Now let’s deal with it.

Urban Dictionary
embrace the suck
Often used by NCO’s in the military. The term would be used when an individual or a group must complete a task that is pointless, tiring, and/or lame.
NCO: Hey gather up, we need to mow the grass before we are released today.
Soldier: That’s bullshit, we had all day to do that.
NCO: Well then just embrace the suck and get it done.

by AaronScott March 28, 2008

Google Books
Greetings From Afghanistan, Send More Ammo:
Dispatches from Taliban Country

By Benjamin Tupper
New York, NY: New American Library
2010
Pg. ?:
EMBRACE THE SUCK
I first heard the phrase embrace the suck in Pittsburgh in 2001. I was in the living room of a college buddy, nursing a hangover, and flipping through a popular national magazine. Inside was an unsanitized article about field conditions in America’s newest war: Afghanistan. The list of hardships that soldiers were experiencing in the heat and dust was described in vivid detail. But the spirits of the American infantrymen were undeterred. There Zen-like approach was to “embrace the suck,” a strategy of treating the hardships as friends, not enemies, and driving on.

OCLC WorldCat record
Embrace the Suck : 366 Days of Strength, Courage, Inspiration, Wisdom, and Hope
Author: Gabriel A Tolliver
Publisher: Lexington, Kentucky : Birds of Mothership, 2010
Edition/Format: Book : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
The beginning is always today. A few words of wisdom for every day of deployment. A few words for living life thru the good, the bad and the ugly.

New York (NY) Post
Pelosi on budget deal: ‘Embrace the suck’
By Geoff Earle December 12, 2013 | 1:08pm
WASHINGTON – It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of the budget deal.

“Embrace the suck,” House minority leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi told fellow Democrats Thursday morning, a source told Politico.

“We need to get this off the table so we can go forward,” she added. It’s a way of telling her colleagues the budget deal negotiated with Republicans is the best they can get.

Slate
LEXICON VALLEY
A BLOG ABOUT LANGUAGE DEC. 13 2013 10:51 AM
Nancy Pelosi Told House Democrats to “Embrace the Suck.” Where Did That Phrase Come From?
By Ben Zimmer
(...)
A more common—but less printable—expression for the Vietnam wartime experience was “the shit”: facing combat (as anyone who’s seen Full Metal Jacket or Rushmore knows) was known as “being in the shit.” “Suck,” on the other hand, was on the rise among those sent off to fight primarily as a verb to signal coarse disapproval. Graffiti scrawled on the canvas bunk bottoms of troop transport ships shows ample evidence for both transitive “suck” ("the Army sucks dick") and the less vulgar intransitive ("the Army sucks"). But as a pejorative noun, “suck” had yet to achieve much prominence.

That changed by the time of the first Gulf War in the early ‘90s. Anthony Swofford’s memoir Jarhead links “the suck” to the Marine Corps serving in the Gulf. From his fellow Marines, Swofford heard “manifestos against the Corps—the Suck, as they called it, ‘because it sucks dicks to be in it and it sucks the life out of you.” When Jarhead was made into a movie in 2005, posters featured the tagline “Welcome to the suck.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Thursday, December 12, 2013 • Permalink