[Ads-l] The Mooch and print journalism

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sat Jul 29 18:27:33 UTC 2017

As I recall, during the Cheney administration, Dick Cheney told someone to
go fuck himself.  the NYTimes printed it in full, and responded to a
complaint by saying that the words of the president-behind-the-throne had
said was the news story and it could not properly be reported without
quoting them.
Meanwhile, TLS (the Times Literary Supplement), a sister publication to the
[London] Times, the original Gray Lady, now allows its writers to use the
emphatic "fuck"/"fucking".  Mind you, that Times is now owned by Rupert


On Sat, Jul 29, 2017 at 2:14 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>

> On the topic of The Mooch:
> Interesting moment in the history of the F-word and related
> asteriskabilia...
> As many of you have no doubt noticed, The Mooch’s rant (first of what we
> can hope will be many) has led to the Decency Drawbridge being
> significantly lowered by the Gray Lady and other news sources.  Am I right
> in thinking this was the first (or one of the first) instances in which the
> Times has printed “fucking” in so many letters? (Jesse will know.) Not to
> mention the bit where The Mooch maintains that he, unlike Bannon, isn’t
> “trying to suck [his] own cock”.  Note this article in today’s print
> version reflecting on the issue:
> =====================
> https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/business/scaramuccis-
> vulgar-rant-spurs-newsroom-debate-asterisks-or-no-asterisks.html
> […]
> At The New York Times, editors had a lengthy, raucous discussion about
> which obscenities to include, and how many. Dean Baquet, the executive
> editor of The Times, made the final decision.
> “We concluded that it was newsworthy that a top Trump aide used such
> language,” Cliff Levy, a deputy managing editor at The Times, wrote on
> Twitter. “And we didn’t want our readers to have to search elsewhere to
> find out what Scaramucci said.”
> Still, the publication of so many expletives and vulgarities, while deemed
> newsworthy, may have baffled any reader accustomed to The Times of yore.
> “There is no question in my mind that in recent years, we have been more
> open to considering exceptions in a range of cases,” Phil Corbett, the
> standards editor for The Times, said. “Fifteen years ago, we almost never
> would have made exceptions like this.”
> One Times policy has remained intact: after publishing vulgar language and
> obscenities in an article, the paper rarely repeats them in subsequent
> ones. And, thus, this story.
> =================
> —That is, Ember’s article itself avoids all such terms, referring instead
> to "an F and G with asterisks between" and “C-blocking”.  But while that
> may be the Times’ policy, it apparently can be relaxed for columnists, as
> seen in this op-ed by Bret Stephens in the same issue, which spells
> everything out in full (sixth and seventh paragraphs down):
> https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/opinion/trump-vulgarity-
> scaramucci-conservatives.html
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
your lowly tomb. . .
L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112

The Trump of Doom -- affectionately (of course) also known as The Dunghill
Toadstool.  (Here's a picture of one.)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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