“Trust me, I’m an asshole”

You’ve invented a new kind of bidet for the American market: an inexpensive, easy-to-install attachment that replaces toilet paper with a water stream. You’ve given your invention a cheeky name: Tushy.

Now you need a mascot to give your product a face. Naturally, you choose … an asshole. And you give it a starring role in a nearly three-minute-long advertorial.

“But like literally: Poop comes out of me.”

Sort of a manic pixie dream asshole, actually, with a potty mouth that cheerfully emits English swears and English-inflected Yiddish scatology along with a generous dose of social shaming.

As far as I know, the Tushy/Asshole ad has never been shown on any television channel. (It’s too long, for one thing.) And it’s pretty raunchy. Here’s a rundown of Ms. Asshole’s lingo:

Asshole: It was arse-hole first, as early as 1400, and it had a strictly anatomical meaning. The Americanized spelling and secondary meaning — a schmuck, a tosser, a wanker, a jerk — emerged from GI slang during World War II, according to Geoffrey Nunberg, whose 2012 book Ascent of the A-Word is, to date, the definitive treatise on the subject.

Poop: It originally meant “fart”; it became a synonym for shit sometime in the mid-18th century. Poop has at least three other meanings, including “the stern of a ship,” “up-to-date information,” and “to grow tired” (as in “I pooped out at the end of the race”).

Shit shmeers: If you’ve heretofore thought of shmeer (from Yiddish: a paste or spread) only as a bagel topping, get ready for a whole new alliterative association.

Morning schmutz: More alliteration, this time with the Yiddish-German noun meaning “dirt,” here used as an odd verb.

Fart in public: The four-letter word for flatulence has been with us since Middle English, and is considered rather mild as expletives go. As Iva Cheung wrote in 2014, “While the hilarity of farts is unquestionable, their trustworthiness is another issue” — an uncertainty exploited for anxious humor in the Tushy ad.

CrappyCrap has a long and varied history in English; as a synonym for feces, though, the OED traces it back only to the mid-19th century. Before that, it meant residuemorsel, a type of grassy weed, and the dregs of beer or ale. Crappy to mean “worthless” was originally U.S. slang, says the OED, which dates its first appearance in print to 1846. The game of chance known as craps had a separate etymology.

Butt buddies: More alliteration! This term usually has homosexual connotations (see this “South Park” clip from the 2005 season); a diligent Stack Exchange habitué discovered a steep spike in its usage beginning in the late 1980s.

Dumb AF: Ah, our new-old friend AF (“as fuck”), here pronounced as an initialism. For more on the rise of AF, see this post.

Crusty crap cannon. More crap, more alliteration, more … ewww.

A few dos ickies. A pun on Dos Equis, the Mexican beer brand. It’s more puerile than sweary, tbh.

Fudge factory: As a synonym for “feces,” fudge is well known to every eight-year-old who has chanted “Milk, milk, lemonade / ’round the corner fudge is made.” Fudge is also a mild substitute for fuck, but that’s not what Ms. Asshole is talking about.

Dookie cookiesDookie or dooky may have come from doo-doo (a synonym for shit used by and to children); the OED traces the former back to 1965 and the latter to 1954, and says both are “orig. and chiefly U.S.”

Dump: Another American synonym for shit. It first appeared in print in 1942, according to the OED.

Backdoor lock: As a synonym for buttocksbackdoor has been in use since at least the 18th century., when “backdoor trot” was a euphemism for “diarrhea.”

As for Tushy, the name of the technology and the company, it’s a word used by and for children to mean “buttocks”; it comes from Yiddish tuchis (pronounced with a guttural ch), which ultimately derives from Hebrew tachat meaning “below” or “behind.” For more on the Tushy brand, see this post on my own blog, Fritinancy.,

2 thoughts on ““Trust me, I’m an asshole”

  1. bikeworld February 28, 2018 / 3:18 pm

    Probably another commercial from the ad geniuses hired by Poo-Pouri and Squatty Potty. If these scatvertising don’t diversify pretty soon, there business is going to go in the toilet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve K March 1, 2018 / 8:45 am

    In this vein, there’s also “Pure for Men” – a fiber pill marketed at gay men.

    Like

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