Archive - Nov 2008
25 November, 2008 - 22:59 — Bryan Lambert
Memo to American Society: I AM ALL OUT OF BUBBLEGUM.
It's rare that something I say one day inspires a whole separate tangent for another day, but it happens. Hey, I'm an inspiring guy. Anyway, when discussing the trailer for the Jessica Simpson movie "Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous", I mention that at one point, Jessica Simpson says "kick some...", and then the infernal sound of a record needle being dragged across the soundtrack to keep us all from hearing the word "ass".
This horrific construction, ubiquitous in the trailers of family-friendly movies, exists for one reason, and one reason only. The phrase "kick ass" and its variants is considered acceptable for PG and PG-13 movies, but is NOT considered acceptable for the G-rated trailers for said movies. This is a classic case where the cure is worse than the disease.
So I posit this. We, as a society, officially codify that which we all know is fundamentally true: "kick ass" is not a profane or vulgar phrase. Kicking ass, kicking some ass, kicking your ass, and ass-kicking as either a noun or a verb are henceforth acceptable for children of all ages. The phrase and variants can be used in G-rated movies, Sesame Street, the 700 Club, nightly news broadcasts, and documentaries about black holes. No sanctions will be applied, no punishment meted out.
It's a move that's seriously fucking overdue. I mean, if we'd made this move years ago, the Powerpuff Girls could have gone by their original, superior name: The Whoopass Girls. It would have been fine airing on the Cartoon Network at 2 in the afternoon. America's daughters could have proudly worn Whoopass Girls T-shirts to kindergarten, and we wouldn't have been subjected to years of the clueless adding the "d" in and calling them the Powderpuff Girls.
As a corollary to this, we all will agree not to pretend to act shocked or surprised when the phrase comes out of the mouth of an animated hamster, your neighbor's four-year-old, or Pat Robertson. It's OK. There will be plenty of things to fake being shocked at if we get rid of this one, and we'll all be better off. Cable companies can stop bleeping the last half of the second "s" to save your artificial sensibilities
Let's face it. In the common currency of vulgarity, Kicking Ass is the penny. It's only there as a technicality, you need about a hundred of them before you can do anything useful, but we all still cling to it out of tradition and the need not to offend the memory of Abraham Lincoln. Well, if Honest Abe were alive today, he'd probably be pissed off at his copper-clad visage being left in ashtrays next to cash registers in gas stations across America, and he'd kick some ass.
There is one exception to this rule. "Whip ass" is still prohibited. Whoop is fine, Beat is fine. Kick is fine. Pretty much anything you want to do to an ass that isn't its own swear word is fine, except "whip". I point to this quote from John McCain for the necessity of this exception. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"After I whip his you know what in this debate, we're going to be going out 24/7." Clearly, old white men can STILL not be trusted with the word "whip", so it's going to have to remain taboo for the time being. But everything else? There's no reason to keep it out of the general dialogue.
So let's give ass-kicking to the masses. Free it from the bonds of the seven-second delay. Let it soar with the eagles, and let the purveyors of safe family entertainment find some new way to pretend to titillate us by making us think they're about to swear. May I suggest "take a long, hot shit"? That way, in the trailer for "Happy Feet 2", you can have a penguin say "Right now, what I -really- need is to take a long, hot...", and then you can have a needle scratching a record and cut to a shot of a penguin in a bathtub. And then the penguin could look at the camera and say "What?" in an aggrieved tone.
Of course, they'd probably make it the Robin Williams penguin, and I'd have to write another column about THAT, but we'll take that long, hot shit when we come to it.