New York Times Breaks Tradition, Uses Profanity

Monday, 26 Aug 2013 03:05 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The New York Times, which studiously avoids the use of profanity, has taken the plunge and published the F-word in one of its articles.

In the Times’s "T" Magazine, included in its Sunday editions, an article about writer’s rooms included the opening line from Jonathan Lethem’s novel "Dissident Garden," in which the profanity appears.

"Quit [expletive] black cops or get booted from the Communist party. There stood the ultimatum . . . " the line reads in the Times’s print edition. The article does not appear in the online edition, according to Salon.com.

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The use of the curse word in the usually prim and proper Grey Lady has not escaped attention.

"With the discretion of a well-bred debutante, the Times has just lost its F-bomb virginity, so to speak," wrote Laura Miller on Salon.com.

"By burying its first use . . . on what’s essentially the contributors' page of the fashion supplement, a page that is typically withheld from the online version of the magazine, the Times is breaking with tradition in the most low-profile way imaginable."

The Times’s public editor Margaret Sullivan has yet to weigh in on the issue.





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