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"FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE F__KING FOR VIRGINITY"

I had this on a t-shirt I found in Jerusalem's Old City when I was a teenager. It was by far my most successful punk t-shirt, meaning that out of all my ragged clothes, this was the garment most likely to get me into a fight. You wore a t-shirt like that in Israel back then, you were just asking for it. The only thing that saved me from constantly wearing a bloody pulp for a face was the fact that most people who really strongly objected to that kind of sentiment didn't read English well enough to catch it. But a lot of them did.

Ironic, isn't it? You wear a shirt calling for peace, you get into fights. I tried passive resistance, but found out the hard way that passive resistance gets you hurt more. It didn't matter, anyway. I wasn't trying for consistency. Have you ever met a punk with a consistent belief system that he actually followed?

Eventually I decided the shirt had to go. It had earned me enough credibility already, and I was getting pretty tired of wearing an invitation to rumble. No matter how many fights I got into, I never did learn to fight properly, and there just weren't enough punks in Israel to provide any kind of group safety for me. I gave the shirt to some girl from the Peace Now! movement, figuring no one would beat up a girl because of her shirt. She would use it better than I had, and I really did get into less fights after that. Ripped up "Bauhaus" and "Meteors" t-shirts just don't have that same punch-me-now effect.

Of course, I had no idea where the slogan came from. I assumed it was Vietnam. All the really good quotes came from Vietnam, as we all knew.

Fast-forward sixteen or so years, I still see the slogan pop up from time to time. You can see it on protestors' signs sometimes. It's even begun to morph. I've seen a less elegant version, "fighting for WORLD peace is like fucking for virginity". And, of course, no one ever knows where it came from. I've tried to dig up the source. Various websites attribute it to one Emma S. Riches, but none of them state who she was. Vietnam protests are still looking like the likeliest source for this phrase.

As numerous people have pointed out, this is one of the crudest slogans popularized by modern culture. Less abrasive and more eloquent alternatives have been suggested and debated by various intellectuals. Albert Camus came up with "There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for". Another Albert said "You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war". And Martin Luther King had the best of them all: "War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrows".

But for all their elegance, nothing beats the bite of this phrase. It's good because it's so crude. It grabs people's attention and sticks in their memories like no elegantly polished phrase ever could. Say it with me now: "FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE FUCKING FOR VIRGINITY". It works on all sorts of levels. And it's true, too.


More good slogans, quotes, misquotes and soundbites of wisdom at:

  • http://www.geocities.com/paris/parc/8808/quote.html
  • http://www.zmag.org/quotes/quotesResults.cfm?topic1=War


Here we go again. I never thought I would have to explain a statement this simple, but I guess I do. This statement does not make the claim that fighting destroys peace as fucking destroys virginity. The only person making that claim is SigmaVirus. What this slogan says is exactly what it says: Just as you cannot achieve virginity by fucking, you cannot achieve peace through war. It's only a logical fallacy if you go hunting for extra meanings in it, as SigmaVirus did.