If you were a college student in 1969 there’s a good chance you saw the movie Easy Rider at least once. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda riding through the South on their choppers were the Marlboro Men of the counter culture.
And if you were moseying or truckin’ across campus at the time you may well have had the music of Easy Rider recycling in your head, including the song “Don’t Bogart Me” by a group called the Fraternity of Man (who are remembered for very little else). The song is best known for the first line of its chorus: “Don’t bogart that joint, my friend.” Lest you aren’t familiar with the term bogart, the next line of the song “pass it over to me” makes the meaning pretty clear.
This was my introduction to the word bogart, an antonym to the word share. Or, to use it is a sentence:
“Jeff Bezos, don’t bogart the world’s wealth.”
“Don’t bogart that search traffic, Google”
“Rich countries, don’t bogart those COVID vaccine doses.”
Up until the time I walked out of the movie theater humming that Fraternity of Man tune, my only encounter with the word bogart involved the famous actor Humphrey Bogart. Turns out there is a connection between the guy who played Rick Blaine in Casablanca and selfish behavior involving a joint. Bogart was known to dangle a cigarette out of the side of his mouth without actually pulling on it. While surely few would want to share that cigarette, this is the behavior that came to be christened “bogarting.” The actor Bogart, by the way, died of esophageal cancer.
Frustratingly, spellcheck refuses to accept bogart as a word. Merriam-Webster knows better. The meaning is pretty straightforward: “to consume without sharing,” adding the variations bogarts, bogarting and bogarted. The Urban Dictionary definition is a little more expansive: “to knowingly and covertly attempt to consume a larger share of the communal weed than is proper, at the expense of one’s homeboys/girls.” Living as I do in a state that recently legalized recreational marijuana, I’m expecting my homeboys/girls to bring the verb bogart back into fashion.