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I'm with you, Brian. I can't imagine that anyone would read one of those
occurrences and say "Gee, I wonder what that word was?" It's probably an
outgrowth of radio/TV newscasts bleeping a word so that one hears the
audible equivalent of "f*ck". Some of the sound technicians are so good
at it that they manage to bleep out a single letter, retaining almost all
the force of the expletive.
In most cases, I suspect that there's an editorial decision that the
quote is significant enough that it should be used, but they modify it so
that nobody can point a finger at them and say "You broadcast/printed the
word "fuck". You must be punished." Editorial guidelines in news
reporting seem to be moving in the direction of printing the actual word,
rather than modifying it.
One local annoyance we have here in the Milwaukee area is that one of the
local alternative newspapers has a columnist who likes to liberally
sprinkle his column with the word fock (sic). He seems to derive great
pleasure from using it at least once in every sentence, to the point
where it has become so tedious that I no longer read his column. I'm not
afraid to use the word fuck when I feel the need, but I sure hope someone
shoots me if I ever use the word fock.
I say if you're going to use the word, use the word, not some feeble
contrivance meant to get you off the hook of having used profanity.
From: brianb[SMTP:brianb -at- ICONICS -dot- COM]
Sent: Friday, November 10, 1995 8:48 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list TEC
Subject: Re: Expletives et. al.
This is not meant as a flame towards anyone involved in this discussion.
Personally, I found nothing wrong with the use of "fucking" in the
post -- it was surprising, but not offensive (again, personally.)
we could spend months debating this ("I was offended" "Oh yeah, well I
wasn't", etc.). I'd like to take this in a slightly different direction
-- an aspect of writing that I have never seen addressed:
I have seen many messages that have used "f*ck" or "f--k" or some other
variation. You also see this sort of masking in many publications such
Newsweek, etc. Does anyone else find this a bit silly? I mean, if you
mean "fuck" (especially in *quoted* material), why not write "fuck."
replacing a letter or two with some other symbol somehow make the word
offensive? Does it make it more "okay" to print? Does anyone know how
this practice got started (and why it continues?)