Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Case for Profanity in Print

Jesse Sheidlower, in an editorial for the New York Times:

In 1934, in the journal “American Speech,” the scholar Allen Walker Read published “An Obscenity Symbol,” still the most important article written about the F-word. Over the course of 14 pages, he explored the word’s etymology, its history in dictionaries and, at some length, the nature of taboo itself, writing that “no sensible person would maintain that sex in itself is obscene, for it can be a wholesome, ennobling force.” Mr. Read criticized the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, referring to “the lasting shame” of their omission of this and other taboo terms. Yet in this serious essay, which appeared in an academic journal published by a well-established scholarly society, he did not once use, or even quote, the word in question. Mr. Read was writing 80 years ago. It’s time to print exactly what we mean.

In a bit of meta-critique, the editorial itself dances around saying “fuck” and all other epithets. See also the fantastic Fit to Print Tumblr.