Annals of taboo avoidance

Two recent entries in the annals of taboo avoidance: another way to avoid fuck; and beep” as an avoidance mechanism (for, among other things, gay).

First (hat tip to Eric Jusino), an exchange of comments on this Flickr site:

smalldogs: wow. that’s some amazing light in that place. it would be awesome to do a shoot with models there. or, um, you guys. 

SmackNally: what’s that?

you want all of us to meet up in chicago? like, in the summer? 

smalldogs: omg, that’s a fucking awesome idea. 

and yeah. der, summer’s the only time to go to chicago.

Friendly Joe: ‘uck yeah!

Note ‘uck for fuck — right after “smalldogs” writes fucking.

Then, a more complex case (hat tip to Victor Steinbok), initially reported on here as the New York Times censoring the word gay.

Towleroad notes that when a reader text messages someone a New York Times article with the word “gay” in the title, the New York Times web service censors the word “gay,” replacing it with a “beep”

[Sample message: “NYT: Family Response Key to Health of “beep” Youth”.]

Eventually, commenters observed that it was AT&T, and not the NYT, that was replacing gay with “beep”. And one suggested that the replacement had stopped.

But what’s the problem with gay? Here’s an answer from the commenter “captainawesomepants” on 5 January:

I run an online community, and we also count gay as a bad word. The reason we do it is probably similar to the reason the NYT does it. 90% of the time on our site, when a user used the word gay, they were using it as an insult. While blocking the word is a bit extreme and can make it more difficult to legitimate[ly] discuss gay & lesbian issues, the awful slurs and stupid insults were more common than the legitimate issues using the word, and so we decided to ban it outright.


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