Jesse S. et al. v. Antonin S. et al. on fleeting expletives

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon May 4 13:30:22 UTC 2009

At 6:48 AM -0400 5/4/09, Jesse Sheidlower wrote:
>On Mon, May 04, 2009 at 03:26:15AM -0400, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>>  On Mon, May 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
>>  >
>>  > At 5/3/2009 10:41 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>  > >
>This wasn't a fresh interview; the comment was taken from an
>interview I did with the WSJ a few months ago, where I called
>the FCC's position not only "rubbish" but "absolute rubbish":
>>  > I am amused that Adam Freedman writes "That the justices managed to
>>  > do this without actually uttering either of the words at issue ..."
>>  > -- but manages himself to evade even an initialism by writing "Jesse
>>  > Sheidlower, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary and the
>>  > author of a book on swearing ..."!
>>  The Associated Press ran a poll a few years ago about profanity, and
>>  the accompanying article included this line: "For the record, we
>>  needed special dispensation from our bosses just to say 'F-word.'"
>In general that's the policy of the NYT as well, despite the
>fact that (until recently) the NYT was the location of the
>first known appearance of the expression "the F-word". Every
>time this issue has come up with me, they've either not used
>the phrase or needed to get special permission to do so.
Would "the you-know-what word" or "the you-know-which-initial-letter
word" pass muster?  Yesterday's Times also contained some responses
to an earlier piece on their policy of not deigning to designate
individuals (including heads of state) by the individual's preferred
term of designation if it conflicts with Official N. Y. Times Style,
a practice that goes back to when they used to write e.g. "Miss
Jones/Mrs. Smith, who prefers to be known as Ms.,..."  All part of
Gray Lady Knows Best.


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