June 27, 2005

Clueless in Dallas

I might need some help with the bleeding edge of contemporary urban slang. But according to a post by Josh at crabwalk.com, there are journalists and editors at a newspaper in Dallas who are way more out of it than I am:

Lots of buzz yesterday about this story (and the accompanying video). Texas Gov. Rick Perry, after doing a TV interview, said "Adios, mofo" while the cameras continued to roll.

Amusing stuff. But more amusing was this conversation between some of my colleagues in the newsroom (and I am not making this up):

Editor: What does "mofo" mean, anyway?

Reporter #1: It's a bad word for black people, I think.

Reporter #2: (overhearing the conversation, somewhat stunned) Actually, it means "motherfucker."

Editor: Oh, in Spanish?

Josh writes about education for the Dallas Morning News, as a link in his blog indicates, and it's hard to believe that he isn't making this conversation up. How can you pass through the life stages minimally required to become a working journalist in the United States of America without learning "mofo"? I mean, we're not talking about a term of art like 'zurp, or a literary reference like H-to-the-izzO. Mofo has 1.44 million Yahoo hits (only a few of which lead to the law firm of Morrison and Foerster, known colloquially as "the mighty MoFo"). Mofo is even in the OED -- and not as the nickname of a law firm, either -- as I mentioned in my own post on the Governor's mofodictory oration...

I fear for the republic, really I do.

Posted by Mark Liberman at June 27, 2005 09:01 PM