mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

Language Log Comments on the Times

As a follow-up to my post about the New York Times using the s-word earlier this week, I notice that Language Log has also commented on the usage, in a post titled The NYT Transgresses. They do say that new ground has been broken; apparently, the only time the Times has ever printed the s-word before was in quotations from the President of the United States:

For some time now, we've been tracking the NYT's handling of taboo vocabulary. The paper's policy is not to print dirty words, even in quotations where they might be relevant, and also not to use asterisking, "[expletive]", "the F word", or other standard avoidance techniques, preferring instead to allude indirectly to the banned words (or to omit the material entirely). However, over the years the paper has relaxed its policy, allowing s*** when the President says it -- first, in 1974, from Richard Nixon (Abe Rosenthal at the time: "We'll only take s*** from the President"); then in 1976, attributed to a fictionalized version of Lyndon Johnson; and, more recently, from George W. Bush... [asterisks mine]

Language Log also has a few amusing examples of how the Times goes about avoiding the use of expletives with their circumlocutions.
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