So what were the current worries of the committee?
First, there was the burgenoning trend toward indecency in dress; but to make matters worse, how those improprietries were referred to sorely distressed the English faculty. There was, for example, the creeping Hollywoodisms of "sideboob," "underboob," and "butt cracks"; totally barbarous terms to refer to breaches in civility and modesty.
The Dean of Modesty offered a proposal: forbid, under penalty of suspension for the first offense, expulsion for the second offense, any cleavage display of any type. She suggested that the University could draw on the ground-breaking advisory given by CBS to the presenters at the Grammy Awards Ceremony.
Professor Jamieson of Marketing demurred, "But what about those gowns that the female students' parents allowed them to wear to their proms? Are those only for back home? Parents might object; and we might experience blowback from the local businesses if this is a factor causing the students to go home on weekends instead of spending time and money here!"
Dr. Wilkins of Economics offered some alarming numbers, "At a bare minimum, this will result in a 60% more students going home per weekend than before; with a resulting negative impact on businesses on The Strip." Where those figures came from also suggest that you can nail Jell-O to the wall.
Therefore, the emphasis shifted back to language.
Dr. Crenshaw of the English Department raised an important issue: maybe it's not the dress, but the terminology that is primarily offensive. "We must consider, it's not primarily the garments, but the dysphemistic terminology that offends sensibilities. According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, language influences thought. And this especially includes euphemisms. Accordingly, let's include in our 'Proper and Improper Words and Style Manual' such forbidden words as 'sideboob,' 'underboob,' 'butt crack,' and the like. But in order for implementation of this policy to be accomplished with maximum efficiency, the University needs also to propose desirable substitute terminology."
The Dean of Modesty, intrigued, asked for some examples.
An erudite student opined, "Well, we could specify that instead of "'underboob,' 'Australian cleavage' is recommended."
Professor Crenshaw inquired, "Should Australian be capitalized, or not?"
Dr. Wilson of the Sociology Department raised an interesting point: "I say that we leave it uncapitalized. To capitalize that word might cause Australian nationals and Australian-Americans to take offense; but to leave it uncapitalized simply emphasizes the face that the cleavage comes from underneath."
The Dean of Modesty said, "Let's leave it uncapitalized, then. That's one shrimp we don't need to throw on the barbie."
|Example of australian cleavage|
|Example of lateral cleavage|
What about "sideboob? While that was regarded as a barbarism, it was more difficult to come up with a civility substitute. However, being bright scholars well-versed in periphrastics, they came up with "lateral cleavage." And they were satisfied.
No such problem occured with "butt crack." The suggested term, "buttocks décolletage" was viewed as absolutely linguistically charming; and would serve appreciably to neutralize any dismay that the phyiscal display might cause. As an indication of its quick acceptance, local plumbers' unions and the AP quickly embraced this term.
All members of the committee were so proud of their efforts that they bought souvenir sweat shirts emblazoned with Periphrastic Committee. It was good for morale.