The proposed naming of George Mason University's School of Law honoring the late Antonin Scalia hit a roadblock that the Supreme Court justice may or may not have found amusing.
According to an ABC News story:
"George Mason University is adjusting the name of its law school after it was renamed in honor of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Last week, the Virginia-based institution announced the new name: ‘The Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University.' But the switch spurred plenty of jokes on social media due to the awkward acronym, with many posting criticism on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #ASSLaw."
Had the controversial and conservative justice been universally beloved, it's unlikely the acronym would have been noticed.
Of course with hundreds of thousands of companies, organizations, government departments, and institution - and only 26 letters in the English alphabet with which to represent their names in an acronym - it's inevitable that some of them may have double entendres or unintended meanings.
Sometimes perfectly good acronyms are tainted by the later emergence of a scary menace. For example, the animated comedy FX Network series "Archer," about a team of super-spies employed by an "International Secret Intelligence Service" (ISIS), had to change the name in the series because of the rise over the past several years of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
Though known for political incorrectness and adult humor, the show's creators and network were understandably concerned about the protagonists working for any "ISIS," which could seem insensitive to victims of the real-life group.
In other cases merely a phonetic similarity - not even an actual acronym - is enough to cause problems, as happened with an appetite suppressant candy popular in the 1970s and early 1980s called Ayds. Though there was clearly no connection between the product and the AIDS virus which terrified millions during the 1980s and 1990s, the fact that both were merely pronounced the same way killed its sales. That both the HIV-caused disease and the candy resulted in weight loss likely further linked the two in the public's mind.
There are many other examples; a 2013 article in "The Week" examined 10 memorable and unfortunate acronyms including DOA (replacing the formerly-named Department of Elder Affairs); the Wisconsin Tourism Federation; Seattle's "South Lake Union Trolley;" and of course the Canadian "Conservative Reform Alliance Party" and Microsoft's "Critical Update Notification Tool."
Typically, of course, organizations choose names which best describe their purpose, and give little thought to how an acronym might be (mis)interpreted. Those of a mischievous bent - and/or a dirty mind - can of course find hidden meanings in anything.