Pinche Self-CensorshipFrank Koughan
The New York Times weird self-censorship - heavily documented over the years by Radosh.net 1.0 - goes international today, with an article about Mexicans' love of salty language.
The twist is that while the NYT's aversion to English-language swearing requires its writers avoid the actual word while describing it explicitly, the Mexico City bureau prints the vulgarities but declines to fully explain them. So while the Times will contort itself like David Blaine to avoid printing the word "fuck," there's chingar leaping out at us from page A8. The Times, being the Times, turns to the Royal Spanish Academy to inform us that chingar "is a derivative of the word 'to fight' but that in Mexico can be very offensive or very innocuous or virtually anything in between." "Anything in between" presumably includes its most common usage: to rape (though maybe 'force-fuck' would be more accurate; as in English, Spanish has a word for rape [violar] that is not itself a vulgarity). Chinga tu madre - "go rape your mother" - is something you would only say to someone you were prepared to fight to the death. Standards are a lot looser in Mexico, but sightings of chingar in respectable newspapers are still pretty rare.
One banner, a tame one, referred to Mr. Calderón as a "pinche ladrón," which can be translated as a "damn crook." Pinche, though, can also be a word with no negative connotation at all, meaning a cook's assistant.
Pinche can be translated as "damn," but is more commonly translated as "fucking." The Times doesn't even hint at this, but prints the word itself - a sight as jarring to a Mexican as "FUCKIN' YANKEES!" would have been on the front page of today's sports section.
And when Mexicans want to say "shit" - the exclamation, not the bodily excretion - they use a variant of chingar : chin. Nexis won't even calculate how many times the NYT has printed that one.