Anyway, I happened across this article on the Daily Mail website a day or two ago, featuring American actress Maitland Ward, of whom I confess I'd never heard before (and no wonder, if her Wikipedia filmography is accurate, since it's blank since 2007). My interest was piqued not so much by that story of sadly unfulfilled early promise, but by the language the Mail used to describe the story, a fairly flimsy one relating to some provocative photos intended to promote the new film Descent Into The Maelstrom, which may or may not be based on the Edgar Allan Poe story of the same name. Here's the headline:
And here's my original tweet on the subject:
quick crash course in #dailymail language for you: "assets" = tits, "modesty" = fanny. see also: "manhood" = cock. pic.twitter.com/WLOQQ9MmGmIt occurred to me afterwards that it would be interesting to do a bit of simple Googling to see how many other examples I could find. It turns to be pretty easy. So my crackpot theory for today is that the phrase "flaunting her assets" is the most Daily Mail phrase ever, even more quintessentially Daily Mail (or more accurately, Mail Online) than any amount of bullshit about immigrants or false rape claims (they love a false rape claim story at the Mail, but that's a subject for a whole separate blog post). It's got the perfect blend of prurience and concentrated essence of 1950s, the decade in which the Mail dwells, morality-wise. There's also a liberal dose of Carry-On style attitudes to female sexuality, which basically comprise 1 part phwwooarrrr to 99 parts stark terror. It's also one of those phrases which gradually drains of meaning the more you say it. Flaunted her assets? Flaunted her assets? Flaunted her assets? I mean, what?
— Dave Thomas (@electrichalibut) November 11, 2014
Anyway, here's a bit of a collage for your amusement:
These snippets were harvested from articles about (in addition to Maitland Ward as featured above) Ashley James, Sam Faiers, Chantelle Houghton, Jennifer Hawkins, Daisy Lowe, Naya Rivera, Kate Upton, Kelly Brook and Mariah Carey. "Assets" is occasionally used in a more general sense (and sometimes in the singular) to refer to other things, generally arses, as in these articles about Doutzen Kroes and Coco Austin.
As for my other claims about Daily Mail usage, here are a few citations for "modesty" meaning "fanny"; again, it is sometimes used in a more general sense as well:
- Lindsay Lohan protects her modesty
- [Maitland Ward] her modesty was very nearly revealed
- [Selena Gomez] could barely contain her modesty in the tiny pale blue skirt
- Britney tries to cover her modesty
Finally, here are some citations for "manhood" meaning "cock":
- Shia LaBeouf 'wanted to wear camera on his manhood'
- Robert Downey Jr. talks about his manhood at Cambridge Union
- Rod Stewart reveals addiction to steroids shrunk his manhood
- Mick Jagger 'used bees to enlarge his manhood'
- 'He tried to cut off his manhood with craft scissors'
- Skinny dipper bitten on manhood by deadly New Zealand spider