A pet peeve: F**K

A couple of weeks ago, linguist Geoff Nunberg talked about pet peeves on Fresh Air. He was advocating that a pet peeve is only a pet peeve if it is particular to the peeved. It is not a pet peeve if everybody, or most people – at least – have it. For example not liking people who poison dogs is not a pet peeve.

The other day, I ran across one of my biggest pet peeves. A quote in Time magazine in which in the quote they had f**k. WTF? Why? I think they should either say fuck or @#%&. If they consider themselves a magazine that children, too young to read the word fuck, read; then they should not put it in, they should either put in @#%& or put in an innocuous word like gosh. But everybody but those small children know that f**k means fuck, so who are they kidding – why not just put in fuck.

The New Yorker puts in fuck when it is in a quote and, even occasionally, when it is deemed appropriate by the author. They seem to feel they are dealing with a mature reader. (As an aside, one of my favorite bits in the New Yorker was Anthony Lane’s  in which he says: Also, while we’re here, what’s with (Yoda’s) screwy syntax? Deepest mind in the galaxy, apparently, and you still express yourself like a day-tripper with a dog-eared phrase book. “I hope right you are.” Break me a fucking give.end aside.)

But Time magazine, among others, just want to be cute and, I guess, not offend anybody but adults.


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