America Scandalized By The Word "Ass"

A Levi's ad has the word "ass" in it. Old Navy said "booty." And someone "referred to his hindquarters as ‘butt'" in an ad. America's decency is going to shit.

That at least, is the pearl-clutching implication of a story in the Wall Street Journal today, which seizes on the fact that jeans companies are marketing their jeans using words regularly heard in pop culture, and tries hard to find someone offended by it. Even the apparently offended people seem only mildly so, and the Parents Television Council doesn't count when it comes to gauging offense. (The story also misses an objection several others had to the Levi's campaign, specifically the tagline implying that some asses were better than others.)

Here are the words The Journal itself appears to prefer over ass, booty, or butt:

  • The aforementioned hindquarters
  • Bottom
  • The behind

One interviewee mentions that no one refers to his or her... posterior as a derriere in casual conversation. That's true, but each of the existing words, "offensive" or not, carries so much baggage. Backside, bum, fanny, rear, rump, tush — they all imply a particular bent. Perhaps it's time for a new word, one that can be a universal one that conveys dignity without priggishness. Anyone have any ideas?

No Ifs Or Buts: Jeans Ads Get Blunt [WSJ]