The Koch bleep

In an apparently endless series of postings on taboo avoidance in the NYT, this bit from James Barron’s piece on Ed Koch’s funeral, with Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, saying

that Mr. Koch had frequently offered her advice, but that “at the end of every coversation he would say, ‘Just do what you want, and if people don’t like it, just bleep ’em’ “

This time it looks like the bleep (which the NYT wouldn’t use, because it’s ostentatious avoidance, and therefore against its fastidious principles) isn’t an insertion by writers or editors at the paper, but is a straightforward quotation of what Quinn actually *said* at the ceremony. Since it comes from her, not from them, they can print it. It’s her exact words.

Sometimes these practices look like the parsings of religious texts. Fine lines, fine lines.

[If Quinn had quoted Koch as saying ‘just fuck ’em’, then the Times would have had to resort to something bleepless, say

… if people don’t like it’, just screw ’em.”

(with the taboo word paraphrased, more mildly, outside of quotes) or maybe

… if people don’t like it, then the hell with them’ (but in stronger words)”. ]


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