As you might have read, Motorola’s new smartphone, the Moto X, comes with a feature called Moto Maker that allows you to log in to a website and custom design your phone to your liking.

It’s an awesome feature; it’s easy to use; it feels like a natural progression in smartphone personalization; and every premium phone should have it.

What’s most interesting to me about the Moto Maker, however, is a tool that allows you to engrave a phrase on the back of the phone. This is similar to what Apple did with its iPods: You designate on the website a few words you want inscribed on your phone,and your phone will ship with that phrase engraved on the back. Easy, breezy, beautiful.

The signature portion of the Moto X Maker process.

Naturally, then, I started to enter curse words into the Signature box. A lot of the words that were blocked were expected — fuck, shit, bitch, tits, damn, all variants of douche, etc. When you try to enter one of those words, you get a gee-whiz error box asking you to try again:

Have you seen this HILARIOUS Chapelle Show skit?

And if the phrase is accepted, it will be modeled on the phone, as you can see in the “LETS ROCK OUT!!!” image above.

Now, there are some interesting filtering choices going on here. For example, as Russell Brandom of The Verge politely pointed out, you can’t engrave your Moto X with certain competing brand names, including “Apple,” “BlackBerry,” “DROID,” “HTC,” and basically any other phone company. Curiously, you can opt for iPhone, in whatever combination you want:

Now, let’s get down to the fun stuff. Fuck, shit, hell, bitch, damn, ass and the usual suspects are all blocked.

What else, besides your garden-variety, George Carlin-ese naughty seven profanities aren’t allowed?

Arsehole: No.

I spent a good portion of my Thursday afternoon entering profanities into the Moto Maker, and here’s what I came up with.

Banned words and phrases include most sexual acts (blowjob, handjob, cunnilingus, doggy-style, buttsex); most racial slurs; most euphemisms for and parts of the penis (dick, boner, erection, etc.) and vagina (see Feministing).

Sometimes the Moto Maker is smart. For example, you can’t just say “cum.”

But if you use the Latin “cum” as part of a common phrase, it’s fine.

There are weird spacing issues that prevent certain naughty words from getting through but allowing others. For example, carpetmuncher=no.

Carpet muncher = yes.


But “butt plug” = yes.

Returning to the anatomy for a moment, I found it interesting that you can’t say “anus”…

…but that you can say “rectum.”

Ditto with “anal” vs. “rectal.”


Is it because you can’t have “rectal sex”? Can you have rectal sex? I’m out of my depths here.

I’m going to keep investigating this pressing issue, however, entering more and more curse words into the Moto Maker. In the meantime, I have emailed Motorola requesting a full list of words and phrases that are banned by the Moto Maker, and Motorola promises that it is looking into it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go finish designing my rectal probe.