It’s a hard-knock life for advertisers looking to titillate buyers into paying attention. Back in the day—say, 2018—you were guaranteed to provoke when you used asshole to sell your bidet or dropped a barely acceptable AF onto a package to give your wipes a boost. Now, though, commercial swears are so common that you can name your candles Pretend to Give a Shit and get away with it—even at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
When the old swears no longer shock, what’s an advertiser to do? One answer: swear-ify inoffensive words by inserting asterisks into them.
There had been backstage musicals before A Chorus Line opened on Broadway on July 25, 1975. But as far as I can tell, there had never been a backstage musical—or, really, any Broadway musical—that merrily sprinkled fucks and shits throughout the dialogue, which is spoken by auditioning singers and dancers as they bare their souls to an unseen director.* And there had never been a song in a Broadway musical with a title like “Tits and Ass.” In fact, less than a dozen years before A Chorus Line opened, uttering the phrase “tits and ass” in a public forum had gotten the comedian Lenny Bruce hauled off to jail.
Easter: It’s a fuckable feast.
For its Christian observers, of course, Easter marks the salvific resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. A cornerstone of the faith, the holiday teems with symbols of new life and fertility. Celebrants observe it during the flowering of springtime. Related to the word east, Easter etymologically evokes the rebirth of “dawn.” Eggs hatch baby chicks. And rabbits…well, they fuck like rabbits.
Easter is an ancient, complex, and venerable occasion, no doubt, but this is Strong Language. Here, we like to hunt for the sweary Easter eggs scattered throughout the lawn of language. I’ve spotted one in the holiday’s cute and cuddly icon: the bunny.
The Internet has been a-twitter this week with news that McDonald’s, that venerable fast-food chain, has been ruining children’s lives. No, this is not about nutrition–what do you think this is, a food blog? No, this is about Minions.
Minions, for those unaware, are the little yellow figures that resemble walking, babbling Advil capsules and which debuted in the movie Despicable Me. They currently have their own movie and consequently their own requisite appearance as the toy of the season in the McDonald’s Happy Meal(TM). The McDonald’s toys babble when you tap them on a hard surface, and here is where the proverbial shit hits the fan: parents are complaining that one of the toys barks “what the fuck.” Continue reading