“With the discretion of a well-bred debutante, the Times has just lost its F-bomb virginity,” wrote Salon’s Laura Miller, introducing the world to the New York Times’ first use of the f-word in its 162-year history.
The Times has been quite demure in its use of profanity, coughing up asterisks even in quotes and book titles. (Nick Flynn’s Another Bullshit Night in Suck City was the first title in Times history that could not be printed in full on its bestseller list.) But the Gray Lady whispered the word recently in T, its fashion magazine, when quoting the opening lines of Jonathan Lethem’s new novel in a piece on writers’ spaces:
Quit fucking black cops or get booted from the Communist party. There stood the ultimatum, the absurd total of the message conveyed to Rose Zimmer by the cabal gathered in her Sunnyside Gardens kitchen that evening.
Leave it to the Times to find Lethem a bad influence. Miller points out the word wasn’t even used in the article, but printed in what was essentially the contributors’ notes, a crumb that wasn’t available online. This is the equivalent of using your first swear word only when you’re sure no adults are around.
Read Miller’s piece HERE.
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