The "Oh" Face

Morning News not so prudish after all

Last week, Buzz was surprised to find an acknowledgement in The Dallas Morning News of a fact the paper has seemingly long ignored: Food can be sensual. The paper, which engages in honest discussions of mature sexuality as often as it examines the Trinity River plan, surprised us in a story about the chocolaty hazelnut spread Nutella.

In fact, the story came right out and said that the nutstuff makes women come right out and...well, you read it:

Kids will like it no doubt, but when it comes to unabashedly fervent loyalty, that's more likely to be their moms.

Women are the ones writing emotional mash notes to the makers of Nutella, describing their devotion in especially, shall we say, loving terms.

Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's the plot of one of Buzz's favorite "indie" videos. But when it came time to print the exact phrase some women use to describe it--"orgasm in a jar"--the paper seemingly, ah, tensed up. It substituted the following: "(romantic ecstasy) in a jar."

Well, we were all set to mock the News for excessive prudeness when we happened to catch the byline: The story actually appeared first in the Washington Post. Well, surely the News editors wussed out and deleted the word themselves, right? Nope. It appears the same way in the Post's Nexis archives.

Now, Buzz has several questions, foremost being, "What's up with that?" First of all, it's not that offensive a word. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary--or as it's known at the Washington Post, the (male reproductive organ)tionary--defines an orgasm thusly: "intense or paroxysmal excitement; especially: an explosive discharge of neuromuscular tensions at the height of sexual arousal that is usually accompanied by the ejaculation of semen in the male and by vaginal contractions in the female."

Buzz can't swear by that last part, but nevertheless, anything defined as paroxysmal in nature can't be that dirty.

So we decided to do a quick orgasm check. Seems the News isn't that uptight about the word after all. Since 1997, the word "orgasm" has appeared in the paper 62 times. Compare that with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, wherein the word has appeared only 27 times. (Cowtown, loosen up. It's good for you.)

Why, then, did the Post chicken out? That makes the least sense, since the ho-dogs at that East Coast paper have printed the word 148 times since 1997. Looks like we have some catching up to do.

 
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