Taboo avoidance of the day

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun Mar 14 17:41:20 UTC 2010

I spotted two other examples of taboo avoidance in the same issue of
the Times. On the Apple-Google spat:
"One of these employees said Mr. Jobs returned to the topic of Google
several times in the session and even disparaged its slogan 'Don’t be
evil' with an expletive, which drew thunderous applause from his

(What Jobs actually said about the Google slogan: "It's bullshit.")

And in the Kenneth Dover obit, about his memoir "Marginal Comment":
"In it, Mr. Dover abandoned traditional British restraint in
discussing, among much else, his sexual exploits with his wife, Lady
Audrey Dover. Nor did he stint, as The Times of London said in its
review of the book, in his use of 'the Anglo-Saxon tetragram' to
recount the proceedings."

(Lovely second-order avoidance of the F-bomb.)

--Ben Zimmer

On Sun, Mar 14, 2010 at 6:56 AM, Jesse Sheidlower <jester at> wrote:
> Of the 70s girl band The Runaways, "Creem magazine infamously
> dismissed them with three unprintable words."
> The review, not trivially easy to find, was "These bitches
> suck." I don't see three unprintable words, but maybe I'm just
> math-deprived this early in the morning.
> But they could at least put a goddamn link in, so the reader
> doesn't have to wonder what the hell is going on. Grrr.
> Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

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