A while ago, if you wanted to hear someone say a stealthily vulgar phrase like “Seymour Butz” or “Harry Azcrac,” you’d have to prank call the local tavern owner or slip a goof name into graduation roll call. But now, as the coronavirus pandemic is causing even the most rational among us to lose our minds, local news anchors just can’t stop saying “mask debate.”
The phenomenon was recently flagged in a Last Week Tonight with John Oliver “And Now” segment, which affirmed: “We promise you these people are not saying ‘masturbate.'”
Evidently, this so-called mask debate isn’t stupid just because there shouldn’t be an argument over simple, common-sense measures that can help protect the health and safety of your fellow human beings—but because it sounds one people are saying “masturbate.”
“The mask debate is intensifying,” says one news anchor in the video, while others declare that the “mask debate now taking center stage at local restaurants” and pose the question, “how many mask debates have you gotten into?”
“There’s now a video of a raging mask debate,” says one female anchor, of what sounds like a decidedly NSFW affair.
The clip quickly began to go viral beyond the context of Last Week Tonight, because while there may be nothing funny about COVID-19, everything is funny about news anchors unwittingly saying what sounds very much like “masturbate.”
A good rule of thumb for those who would like to mask debate is that you do it in the privacy of your own home, preferably with the lights off and curtains closed. Because to do so in public, on Facebook, or literally anywhere else where others can see or hear you—well, you just look like an asshole.