October 04, 2006

Further annals of taboo avoidance

The New York Times continues to find ways to not print taboo words (for our most recent report on the phenomenon, look here).  Now, in the Magazine of 10/1/06, Matt Bai struggles with Howard Dean's language ("Is Howard Dean willing to destroy the Democratic Party in order to save it?", p. 56):

[Dean] was told that he was booked on the local Air America affiliate [in Anchorage, Alaska], the only liberal radio option in town...

"Bull," Dean snapped, using a slightly more elongated version of the term.

Well, THAT keeps that nasty word at arm's length, using the fancy "slightly more elongated" and the technical "term".  Meanwhile, the stuff inside quotation marks isn't an actual quotation, but rather a stand-in for one, using an avoidance substitute.  (" 'Fudge,' bellowed the coach, using a stronger version of the word.") 

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Posted by Arnold Zwicky at October 4, 2006 11:27 AM