It wasn’t “road rage” exactly, but sometimes when my grandmother was driving and another driver offended her in some way, she would lose her temper and curse. Not so they could hear it, but just to express her displeasure. If it was a male driver she would say he was a “bastard.”
If it was a female driver, my grandmother would say she was a “bitch.” If the other driver was too far away to distinguish gender she would angrily sputter, “Bitches and bastards!”
When a friend recently presented me with this large (1 Pt. 6Fl. Oz.) bottle of Arrogant Bastard® Ale, my first thought was of my grandmother.
Another example of provocative branding, perhaps indicative of a broader cultural trend. In the 60’s and 70’s when my grandmother was losing her temper behind the wheel, these were definitely curse words.
There were certainly no products with “bitch” or “bastard” on their labels. Nowadays we have “Total Bitch” from Blue Q, “Skinny Bitch” cookbooks. South Park’s “You bastard!” (as a punch line to the perennial joke about Kenny getting killed), “Fat Bastard”, the Austin Powers character, and “Fat Bastard” the wine. (I’m sure there’s lots more… what have I missed?)
This being our current cultural milieu, I’m guessing that a huge public outcry against against this type of “naughty language” is unlikely. However, that Arrogant Bastard illustration looks a little demonic to me… satanic, even! (See Proctor & Gamble…)
Seems to target a male audience, inviting them to identify with the character on the label. No reason the company could not also come out with an “Arrogant Bitch” product, I suppose, but recent usage makes it just as likely that anyone saying “bitch” these days is referring to a man. (See “Hug it out, bitch”) I’ve yet to hear anyone call a woman a “bastard.” (My grandmother might have done so, but probably only by mistake.)