song with an offensive title

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 26 00:59:44 UTC 2011

Yet another case of NYT taboo avoidance that borders on obscurantism.

Jimmy Fallon's cover band gave Michele Bachmann a "proper" introduction
a few days ago by playing an obscure song by an obscure band--but,
apparently, everyone but Bachmann was in on the joke, because the band's
Twitter feed warn them to watch out for it. Fallon apologized and,
following a demand from Bachmann, so did the network.

CNN covered the story with some accuracy:
> According to Stewart, the letter also said the show's band, which
> played the song *"Lyin' Ass Bitch"* by Fishbone as Bachmann first
> appeared on stage, was "severely reprimanded."

NYT decided to make this even more obscure:
> But network executives said on Wednesday that they had made efforts to
> express regret to Mrs. Bachmann for the decision of Mr. Fallon’s house
> band, the Roots, *to play an obscure song by the group Fishbone with
> an offensive title*.
> The show was broadcast Monday night. On Tuesday, anger built online
> once people had understood the coded message in the song choice. On
> Wednesday, Mrs. Bachmann demanded an apology from NBC, *calling the
> song choice sexist*. On Fox News, she called it an outrage.

It's not inaccurate--the song title is both offensive and sexist. But
the description totally misses the point and one must either already
have known what happened or have been closely familiar with that
particular band (Fishbone) to get some idea of what the hubbub was
about. It probably does not help that the reporters were snickering
about the "fitting" prank the whole time they were writing the piece.


The American Dialect Society -

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