Earlier this week, Mayor Bloomberg inadvertently hijacked Christine Quinn's New York magazine cover story with this tossed-off quote about another woman: "Look at the ass on her." And that possibly sexist, inappropriately funny comment overshadowed the rest of the piece, a glorified celebrity puff profile meant to make Quinn look like a glam mayoral frontrunner. Bloomberg was finally available for reporters' questioning yesterday, denying it ever happened—but in reporting the followup story, the NY Times revealed the limitations of its own vocabulary: they're terrified of the word "ass."
It's reasonable enough that they substitute "Woman’s Derrière" into the headline, but as you read the article, all you find are watered-down substitutions such as "a woman’s attractive backside." The worst part is that the Times can't even QUOTE the original comment—so if you were reading about this story for the first time, you may not have any clue exactly what Bloomberg said, or what the big deal is. The mayor may be someone who doesn't "mince words," but it seems they are when it comes to Bloomberg's transformation into Larry David.
At the same time, our hooker obsessed friends over at the NY Post and the Daily News had absolutely no problem getting down and dirty in the derrière: both include the original quote within the first two grafs and both include the VERY CLEVER pun "assinine." The Post also throws in "rear end" in the headline, but the Daily News actually trumped them this time with this crystalline copy:
Days after a magazine reporter claimed he saw the mayor admire a woman in a tight floor-length gown and urge fellow party-goers to “Look at the ass on her,” Bloomberg blasted the ass tale as ass-inine.
Oh sure, you could argue that the dailies don't abide by the same standards as the Times—what's wrong with the NY Times being a bit precious about naughty words, right? After all, it is a very serious paper that only publishes very serious articles on very serious subjects.