Media

Put the Fucking Curse Words in the New York Times Already

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It’s time for the New York Times, the paper of record, to stop being so ridiculously prude with regards to printing curse words, especially when they’re used in titles or within quotes. No one is saying that Tom goddamn Friedman should start writing like Gavin fucking McInnes, but from kids to the President of the United States, spicy language rings out. It’s happening, it’s real, it should be reported — by adults, for adults. Writing around certain words is patronizing and obnoxious. More importantly, it shifts the focus from the story at hand to the creative rhetorical purity. It’s bullshit and Sunday’s piece on recently released emails written by Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is especially bothersome.

The release of thousands of Kagan’s emails is doubtlessly huge news, giving us a glimpse into the style and views of a person of potentially gigantic stature in our nation. The fact that she was once a “sharp-elbowed and sometimes salty-tongued lawyer” makes it to the introduction of the piece. But it’s not until the last two paragraphs when Kagan’s “earthy” writing is really revealed. Even then, it’s obscured:

Her writing could be earthy, with at least three messages using variations on the two most common swear words.

In one, she responded to a message with a single word, weaving one of them into “unbelievable.” In another, she said her staff should not take on empty tasks. “You should go,” she said, “but don’t volunteer us for the” scutwork — though she substituted an epithet for the first part of that last word.

The two most common swear words? Meaning fuck and shit, right? How convoluted is this: “‘but don’t volunteer us for the’ scutwork — though she substituted an epithet for the first part of that last word.” Scutwork? Jesus Christ.

Yesterday, perusing the bestsellers list we saw “—- My Dad Says.” Not even Sh*t, like the book cover, but “—-,” as in “cock” or “tits.”

The band Fucked Up, mentioned by the Times repeatedly, has also been shafted by this policy, referred to as “”Music Review: ********,” or “a well-regarded, profanely named Canadian punk band” or “[unprintable in this newspaper].” This is a band’s livelihood being fucked with.

Rahm Emanuel, too, got the treatment. (The Times has used “shit” four times since 1981, for the record.)

As Rahm Emanuel told me when we sat down in April, “The American people know overwhelmingly that he inherited a” — and here Emanuel used a word I can’t repeat — “sandwich.” (Suffice it to say the sandwich wasn’t pastrami.)

Suffice to say no one likes a pedant. Cut the shit, dudes.

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