December 12, 2008

The bleeps are not really bleeps

LA Times blogger Andrew Malcolm does his best to take on media self-censorship in a self-censored medium.

If some guy shouts "U-o%$#@-!" at a candidate's rally, print reporters can't write "U-o%$#@-!"

They must type something like, "He shouted an eight-letter barnyard epithet." Even then some wussy $#&*/=@ editor will likely delete that. How $#&*/=@ quaint!

Now, these fg9##$6_+ television reporters have another #g\g';[0 problem. They can't substitute stupid symbols for bad words on-air. They have to use one of those %%&*^/+@ bleeps...

Who are we $#&*/=@ kidding here? You know =)&%9\ well what every one of these $#&*/=@ euphemisms means. Even if we mix up the symbols in each &#$-*@/ phrase, you can @/-$&#* figure it out.

Same on the (bleeping) TV bleeps. It's a royal pain in the bleeping %$*. We don't even allow )%-$ in the Comments section here because that would be $#&*/=@ rude.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


I disagree that he "does his best." If you're going to do a post based on comic-book symbols, you should read a couple comic books first. Many of the characters in his "words" are never, ever used.

Obviously, the worst offense is letters and numbers. I can't tell if the "U-" is supposed to stand in for "You" somehow (like "U-sonofabitch"), but the lowercase "o" is completely out - ditto with f, g, 9, 6 and 0.

Other characters that are outside the canon are:
- and _
/ and \
) and [

No, there's no actual stylebook for these. It's just that anyone whose seen cursing represented this way intiuitively knows which of these belong - primarily because they're supposed to be rich and expressive looking (similar to the thundercloud with lightning), and the ones I've pointed out are not. That's why #g\g';[0 looks like computer code instead of cursing.

Not a big deal, of course (not nearly as big a deal as that New Yorker comma!) but it shows how lazy the author is, thinking you can just hit any combination of keys on the keyboard and it signifies cursing. Bottom line: A lot of time, the fg9##$6_+ aren't really fg9##$6_+.

If I wanted to write "fucking" in comic book curse, would I have to use 7 characters (none of them a lowercase g or a bloody bracket), or does that too explicitly explain what the word is?

Since you mention it, anon, there is a common style among bloggers (not comix) of trying to approximate the word with the characters. Unfortunately, this only really works well for "@$$."

8====D - - - (!)


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