Did you hear? The Reverend Jesse Jackson made reference recently to the testicles of Barack Obama. Only he called them "nuts." Nuts! A funny, elementary school word, isn't it? Totally harmless. But of course you'd have no idea what the hell Jackson said if you only read the Times piece on the story. Because the New York Times apparently won't print the word "nuts." Which is ridiculous. We understand that the Times, like most major publications, has a self-censorship policy that almost always forbids it from using genuine expletives (unless the president says them!), but to elide the harmless word "nuts" actually misleads the reader into thinking Jesse Jackson said something far filthier and more obscene. This is not the first example of the Times censoring such harmless bullshit, either. The most egregious examples, after the jump.
(Most of these were found thanks to the tireless research of Daniel Radosh, whose work on the media self-censorship beat has certainly earned him something like a "Webby" but actually meaningful.)
So. We know the Times censors the usual seven dirty words. But they go far above and beyond the call of duty in their effort to PROTECT THE CHILDREN.
1. Nuts. Obv fine in the Food section, not so much when prominent leader of the civil rights movement uses it as a threat against a presidential candidate. Got it? No longer newsworthy!
2. Poo. In a piece about one-man indie band Final Fantasy, the Times Magazine wrote: "The sleeve of Final Fantasy's most recent album (the title is at once innocent and vulgar, and can't be printed here)..." The name of the album is He Poos Clouds. Which is gross, yes, but unprintable?
3. Sucks. The non-sexual casual meaning this word hasn't been shocking since 1900, right? Still. Mr. Radosh was not allowed to say that Christian Rock Doesn't Suck in the New York Times.
4. Fug. There's a blog called "Go Fug Yourself." Fug stands for "fugly" which supposedly means "fucking ugly" but it's really just a new cute internet way of saying ugly. Not in the Times, where that site becomes merely "a popular Web site focused on fashion disasters." Yes, good luck googling that.
5. Came. This one's fun because they refuse to quote something that was printed in a Harry Potter book! After it turned out that Dumbledore was gay, everyone reread those stupid books for clues. This is what the Times printed:
She proposes that when the two friends had a falling out in a dramatic duel, Grindelwald did not fight but "conjured a white handkerchief from the end of his wand and" - the passage then gives way to an obvious (in retrospect) sexual double entendre.
The rest of that sentence is "came quietly." Hah. Get it? Miss Rowling you are the worst!
Honorable Mention: Goddamn.
The Times has printed the word "goddamn" literally hundreds of times, going back to 1857, but refused to reprint it when Sally Field said it at the Emmys in 2007. They just said "Ms. Field used an expletive in saying that if mothers ruled the world, there would be no wars," which once again makes it sound even worse than it actually was. Servicey!
Now if anyone can find good examples of the Times censoring "doody" or "wiener," let us know.