Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pump Up Da Filth

Back to that familiar journalism discussion about how much of a word you put in a quotation in a newspaper when that word is coarse or vile. Someone worth quoting says goddamn you and you either engage in some writing around -- he suggested the deity consign his opponent to hades -- which can be confusing and is certainly a little arch, or you:

* Use dashes: ------- you, which actually invites readers to play Count the Dashes and Guess the Obscenity, tumbling us down into the foul rag and bone shop of our hearts;

* Or you use some dashes: g------ you, g--d--- you, g-dd-mn you. All such attempts fall somewhere between the multiple obscenity game and the alternative spelling game, both of which are acts of hypocrisy. F-ck you is just an alternative spelling. The same word sounds in your head.

It is a puzzle. So I was sympathetic as newspapers agonized about whether or not to spell out the coarse and nauseating word "shit" when President B--h blurted it into an open mike over there in Europe the other day.

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