I was watching an episode of The Simpsons, Bart was playing basketball for Springfield and winning all games. Then Fat Tony bribes him to lose the game. When Bart loses and everybody finds out about the bribe, all the people get upset and it shows lots of messages of disapproval around the town. One of them caught my attention, on a billboard in front of the church the expression

Jesus saves, Bart shaves.

What does shaves mean in this context? Is it something offensive?

1 Answer 1


There's a lot of colorful language in the world of gambling and match fixing. Shave refers to point shaving:

  • shave
    • 3 c : to conspire to score fewer (points) than one is capable of (as to affect gambling outcomes)
  • In organized sports, point shaving is a type of match fixing where the perpetrators try to prevent a team from covering a published point spread. Unlike other forms of sports betting, spread betting invariably motivates point shaving. A point shaving scheme generally involves a sports gambler and one or more players of the team favored to win the game. In exchange for a bribe, the player or players agree to ensure that their team will not "cover the point spread" (i.e. the bribed player's team may still win, but by not as big a margin as predicted by oddsmakers). The gambler then wagers against the bribed team. Alternatively, an official (referee) of the game may be bribed, or even bet on his own behalf, so that one or more "close calls" will be called in favor of the "underdog" rather than the team favored to win.

It's not offensive in a vulgar sense. It's just a rhyme to make fun of Bart for shaving points, which also compares him to Jesus Christ (Jesus saves [lives], Bart shaves [points]).

  • 12
    Not everyone knows that Christians sometimes refer to their eponymous founder as "saving" the souls of those who believe in him. There is a long tradition of such plays on words based on the expression "Jesus saves". See for instance "Jesus saves, Moses invests." Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 1:57
  • 16
    @P.E.Dant - Or this gem, from the hockey rink: Jesus saves, but Gretzky picks up the rebound and scores!
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 2:26
  • 4
    Wonder if there's also something about Bart being German for "beard"...
    – pipe
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 7:00
  • 7
    @pipe: You mean Die Bart, die!? Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 7:27
  • 4
    Is there also meant to be a parallel here between Bart and Bartholomew the Apostle?
    – isaac9A
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 15:00

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