“Life is all about ass. You’re either covering it, laughing it off, kissing it, kicking it, busting it, trying to get a piece of it, acting like one, or living with one.”
The word “ass” used to be banned from print or broadcast media. As a milder form of cuss term though, in the last decade or so, it has increasingly seen print even as its shock effect has steadily diminished.
“New Yorker” headlined an article on then House Speaker Boehmer: “Boehmer defends decision to remain an ass.” “New York Times” quoted then president Obama who said he needed experts to tell him how to “kick ass” after British Petroleum caused that massive oil spill. The Times published all the swear words of then White House communications director Scaramucci although ordinarily unfit to print. Here in Cebu, a media outlet teased its rival with a giant billboard saying, “We don’t kiss ass.”
Foul language is generally shunned by journalists unless it’s required to convey meaning, usually when a prominent newsmaker says it on a crucial issue. Many online writers say they’re not covered by any rule. They swear as they please even if the sole result is vulgarity and coarseness.
Few will agree “life is all about ass,” a quote that’s sourced to or claimed by no one. There’s a lot more to living than what ones butt prompts or inspires. But the idioms the word has spun are fascinating, particularly when applied to public officials.
Such high officials as Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III and his current antics on the controversy over the DOJ resolution clearing Peter Lim, Kerwin Espinosa and 20 others charged with trafficking illegal drugs. Aguirre’s moves have made the use of “ass” idioms almost irresistible.
What he did
Which I resisted with great effort but failed. Consider what Aguirre is suspected to have done in grand fashion:
 He covered ass. When he said the ruling was not final and the police unit CIDG submitted weak evidence, he ordered BI to probe the panel members who recommended and approved his first panel.
 He kissed ass. When he did all those moves not just to protect himself but also to appease and please the president who threatened to jail him in place of alleged the alleged drug merchants.
 He kicked ass. His tough-sounding orders in effect said he’s ready to punish “incompetent or corrupt” subordinates,
 He acted like an ass. His behavior now and in previous controversies, such as the P6.4 billion Customs smuggling mess and P50 million immigration bribery case, must have made people ask if he acted like one.
What he didn’t do
Which rewinds images of Aguirre, during the Corona impeachment trial, when he cupped both his ears with his hands while the late senator Miriam Santiago was talking. The buffoonery drew laughs across the nation. But this time, can he laugh his ass off?
What people should ask though: if he’s busting or working off his ass for public good.