Opinion | Sexuality

Ben & Jerry's 'Schweddy Balls' and Scatological Humor

Why I'm not joining 'one million moms' in a boycott.

So, one million moms are up in arms over "Schweddy Balls," the, uh, gutsy, name of Ben and Jerry's newest flavor: rum-flavored vanilla ice cream adorned with fudge-covered malt balls.

One would think such an unsavory name for something that should appeal to taste not mortify it would negate the need for a boycott.

But the controversy provides an excellent opportunity to think biblically about scatological humor, which in its narrowest sense, centers on bodily excretions of any kind, or more generally, refers to any obscene humor. When it comes to humor of any sort, it's sometimes hard to tell when the realm of manners crosses into that of morals. For manners and morals are not the same thing, and the lines connecting the twain don't always meet.

I would argue, however, that the name of the latest Ben and Jerry's flavor might be an offense against manners, but it's not immoral. I'd say it's just a rather puerile example in a long tradition scatological humor:

  • Aristophanes' prize-winning play, Peace, from the fourth century B. C., includes an insult of a scatological nature to Zeus.
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