It was AWF’s latest advertisement, where a crew of determined folk wearing the requisite protective garb retrieve a donkey from a pond. The ad closes with the donkey’s owner stating “Thanks AWF. You really saved my ass.” Now some risk-averse broadcaster has clearly decided that “ass” should be bleeped out to protect certain audiences.
Goodness me. “Ass”, when not referring to a beast of burden, is an expression coined in a nation too prudish to call an arse an arse. That nation is the United States of America. For some years I have been upset by some New Zealanders’ willingness to condemn our arse to the scrapheap in favour of a lame interloper. I blame Facebook.
Rhetorical question time: Why has this word been bleeped? It was a donkey or ass that was rescued. Are either of those “rude” words? Or is it that double entendres are now off limits? Is using “ass” a bleepable offence in the USA?
Are buttocks now too risqué for consumption by a general audience, and other similar words like bottom, backside, or derriere? Or is it just the good old arse that is now apparently off limits?
If the American censor’s yardstick were to be applied, then “fanny” would be a permissible expression in this context. Yes, gentle readers, a North American fanny is possessed by both men and women and located anatomically slightly more rearwards than its namesake in these parts. A Texan cattle rancher was once very surprised by the slap to the face he received from a very proper kiwi lady he instructed to “slide your fanny across over here, darlin’” when she entered the cab of his pick-up.
Americans love bleeping things. One evening I watched Myth Busters. They were seeing what happened when shit hit the fan. Except they clearly weren’t allowed to call it shit. Excrement, poo, cack, faeces, Number Twos and other terms I can’t now remember all survived free to air. Shit however? Bleeped. Unbelievable.
I am a great fan of prosaically descriptive language. In its place, I think that nothing is more appropriate than an expletive. As long as these aren’t used to demean a person’s character or good standing, what harm do they do? They can all be found in most published dictionaries, as any 13-year-old boy can attest.
I am also a fan of a great play on words. AWF’s advertising agency was inspired with its concept. It certainly got my attention.
New Zealanders, stand tall and proudly defend your arse before it is replaced by a naff American pretender!